BlackBerry awards honour female tech achievement

The issue of why technology doesn't appeal to women and why, indeed, it should, was once again propelled into the spotlight as the crme de la crme of the IT industry gathered in London for the BlackBerry Women & Technology Awards 2008.

Far from being a suffragette-like movement, the awards, which were hosted at the Marriot Grovesnor Square hotel, aimed to showcase female tech achievement to try and stem the flow of women either leaving the industry or failing to even put their feet on the IT career ladder.

The awards were launched last November at an event showcasing the photographic work of singer Bryan Adams and his Modern Muses collection of female role models. They were split into seven categories highlighting the achievements of both companies and individuals across different sectors.

In addition to the categories, an overall prize was also awarded to the female deemed most outstanding. In this year's case, that accolade went to Professor Lizbeth Goodman of the University of East London's digital media institute SMARTlab.

"There's a real need for women in the technology industry to stand up and be counted, shout about what we believe in and to set standards for ethically informed and socially committed inclusive technology projects and programmes that can help real women and people with real needs of all kinds to reach their fullest potential," she said. "When we use technology to empower and to enable voices to be heard and ideas to be expressed creatively, we are enriching the world we live in. The more we as women pull together and do this, the more others will be inspired to do the same. The industry will be the greatest beneficiary with the freshest and brightest female talent coming on board."

Referencing the institute which unites the artistic, academic medical and technological world and blends teams with society professionals and policy makers to employ and work with women from a multitude of backgrounds and abilities, Goodman added: "It's never just all about you as an individual. I am hugely surprised and absolutely honoured to be named the BlackBerry Outstanding Woman in Technology for 2008, but without the strong team around me and other women in the industry looking to make a big difference I wouldn't be holding the coveted prize. This is for all of us."

Last November, at the awards launch event, Charmaine Eggberry, vice president and managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at Research In Motion (RIM), said that the main aim of the awards was to "support and celebrate women who have demonstrated passion and dedication in their lives and work through the innovative use of technology." This year, she added that all of the winners would serve as a sterling example that will help to encourage more women into an industry that is still largely male dominated and unbalanced.

"Once again I am astounded by the high level of talent we have witnessed in this year's entrants," she said. "Each year our winners go on to become fantastic role models and champions of our industry. As role models they serve the invaluable purpose of highlighting the exciting opportunities and challenges our sector can offer."

BlackBerry Women & Technology Awards 2008 - The winning line up

BlackBerry outstanding woman in technology

Professor Lizbeth Goodman - SMARTlab Digital Media Institute

Best use of technology by a woman within the corporate sector

Jayne Opperman - Lloyds TSB

Best use of technology by under 30 year old woman

Lisa Ditlefsen - Base One

Best woman in technology (Public sector and academia)

Professor Lizbeth Goodman - SMARTlab, UEL

Best use of technology within the multimedia industry by a woman

Beatriz Alonso Martinez - Avid Technology Europe Ltd

Best company advancing women in technology

BT Group

Best use of technology by a woman in small to medium business

Polly Gowers -

Best female mentor

Kate Bishop - Dell

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.