One of the most commonly cited reasons that women avoid joining the technology sector is because of a lack of visible and accessible role models available to help them to envisage their path to the top.
These roles models are important, no matter their position on the career ladder, and each year, Computer Weekly’s list of Rising Stars aims to introduce people to some new names in the technology and diversity sectors.
The Rising Stars category was introduced in 2014 to showcase even more great women in the UK’s technology sector, and it’s common for those who appear in the Rising Stars list to then go on to join the list of the top 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech in following years.
Some have even gone on to win that title, such as Stemettes CEO Anne-Marie Imafidon, and this year’s winner, Suki Fuller, founder of Miribure.
This year’s Rising Stars are:
Esther O’Callaghan, founder, Hundo.xyz
In 2016, O’Callaghan founded Hundo.xyz, an on-demand learning platform aimed at ending youth unemployment through education.
She is also the co-lead of both the Netherlands and Metaverse working groups at Global Tech Advocates, as well as a GTA advisory board member.
O’Callaghan is an angel investor at MyoMaster and Shareback.io, and until 2021 was an environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) fund advisor for venture capital fund TribeFirst.
Jo Evershed, CEO, Gorilla Experiment Builder and Cauldron Science
With previous roles as a business analyst and a background in business and psychology, Evershed is now CEO at Gorilla Experiment Builder and Cauldron Science, both of which provide software for behavioural research to help researchers and students easily build online test environments to collect and use data for experiments.
She was previously a finalist for the Innovate UK Women in Innovation Awards for her work creating Gorilla Experiment Builder.
Vivi Friedgut, founder and CEO, Blackbullion
Focused on education, Friedgut founded Blackbullion in 2017, a platform designed to help young people learn more about money management.
She is also a member of the advisory group for strategic body Edtech UK, and has won several awards for her work as a founder and entrepreneur.
Akua Opong, technology mentor, Cajigo
As well as her work as a mentor at both the TechUp mentor programme for Durham University and on the Cajigo app, Opong is a freelancer and senior associate of service management for EMEA end user computing at the London Stock Exchange Group.
Until earlier this year, she was part of the City of London Corporation volunteer advisory group for equality, diversity and inclusion, and was also previously an advisory board member for Neurodiversity in Business.
Opong was a contributor for Voices in the Shadows, the book of black female role models created by the 2022 Computer Weekly Most Influential Woman in UK Tech, Flavilla Fongang.
Janet Collyer, chair, Quantum Dice; and member, UK Semiconductor Advisory Panel
Collyer wears several hats across the emerging technologies arena, including as chair of quantum developer Quantum Dice, member of the UK’s Semiconductor Advisory Panel, chair of Machine Discovery and as a non-executive director for the Aerospace Technology Institute.
She started her career in semiconductor technology in 1982 at Fairchild (now part of ON Semiconductor) before rising through the ranks in electronic design and computational software firm Cadence Design Systems for 30 years, until leaving in 2020 to begin her current endeavours.