International Women’s Day 2022

Celebrating the Wonderful Women in the Pimberly Network

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th. It’s an opportunity to recognize the great cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women around the world. While there is still much room for improvement, strong action is being taken to close the global gender gap which currently sits at 68%.

What is the global gender gap?

The global gender gap encompasses various elements designed to measure gender equality, such as:iwd-global-gender-gap

If you speak to any woman in any industry, it’s highly likely they will have faced some form of discrimination at some point in their career. So, raising awareness with initiatives like International Women’s Day is pivotal in making real change happen.

We’ve reached out to the wonderful women of Pimberly and our network to get insights into some of the common challenges women in male-dominated industries face on a regular basis. They also talk about some of the women who’ve inspired them over the years and offer advice to any young woman looking to get into the tech sector.


Sally Hayes, VP Delivery – Pimberly

Which women inspire you and why?

Michelle Obama: “Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses… swapped back and forth and over again.”

Why? She was the first African American First Lady who was successful in her own right as a lawyer and writer. A strong leader, an advocate of wellbeing and education, and her global reputation is completely uplifting.

What’s been the biggest professional challenge you’ve overcome?

My biggest professional challenge was implementing change within a team that didn’t want to change. There was no process or framework to deliver projects professionally. The ‘do what you need to do to get clients onboard’ mentality was fine short-term. However, longer-term this would restrict our growth, and our ability to scale. They regularly tried to prove the process wouldn’t work. Some days I wanted to give up, but I can be stubborn…. especially when I truly believe in a business, the product, the people, and my own ability to deliver. I’m pleased I never gave up!

What are some of the common challenges you’ve come across in the tech sector?

As a woman in tech, often you aren’t heard. In the early years, I found I had to work twice as hard as some of my male co-workers. I often could do a better job, but it was never recognized. I started as a telephony engineer and was blonde back then – not that that should matter, but you can imagine the abuse I used to receive when climbing under desks with my screwdriver and other tools! The sexism was horrific back then, thank god that has improved over the years.

What’s your proudest professional achievement?

Becoming VP at Pimberly – by far!  So proud, so humbled, so grateful.

What would you say to your 10-year-old self?

Nothing is more important than empathy, remember to love yourself as much as you love others.

What would you say to women looking to get into tech?  

Be brave!


Kirstie Buchanan, Growth & Partnerships Director – CTI Digital

Which women inspire you and why?

My sister Kim Gray, Champion of Diversity & Inclusion and also an instrumental part of the team who created the City Gives Back project which launched in the City of London during Covid. She always led from the front in very male-dominated sectors. Her work ethic is second-to-none!

What’s been the biggest professional challenge you’ve overcome?

Earlier on in my career, I relocated from London and moved from full-service advertising to pure-digital. It was very challenging, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

What are some of the common challenges you’ve come across in the tech sector?

The lack of women within key roles in the digital sector is changing, but slowly. I know some brilliant female developers. By working with grassroots programs, we can educate girls aged 14 years upwards of the diverse opportunities within the world of digital. There also needs to be an educational piece for parents. They need to know where they can go for support and advice as there are companies that champion these opportunities – I know CTI does.

What’s your proudest professional achievement?

I am fortunate to have several. One was being able to share the news that CTI had received £25m investment. I’m also privileged to work with dream brands such as Visit Britain, and winning Drum Awards for Digital Industries (DADI) for Creative Direction was also a highlight.

What would you say to your 10-year-old self?

Take a deep breath, and enjoy every opportunity that comes your way.

What would you say to women looking to get into the digital sector?

Why wouldn’t you?


Nikki Ratcliffe, VP Marketing – Pimberly

Which women inspire you and why?

I don’t really look to anyone to inspire me.  I am very driven and constantly want to be better at everything I do.  I tend to look to myself for this rather than others.  I particularly admire women leaders as I can relate to the journey they’ve been on. Many of them, like me, are juggling a very busy work/home life.  That said, I’m inspired by Sheryl Sandberg for what she has achieved in terms of philanthropy, her career, and the voice she has created for women in tech.

What’s been the biggest professional challenge you’ve overcome?

There are challenges every day!

What are some of the common challenges you’ve come across in the tech sector?

When I first entered the tech sector, I struggled with it being a male-dominated industry. I think this was more about my perception rather than any specific bad experience in relation to being a woman.  I do however think that men generally appear more confident than women and this can be intimidating. I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and I’ve had to learn to loosen up a little and not take things (or myself) too seriously.

However, some of my biggest supporters and mentors in my career have been men (as well as women).

In this sector, there is always someone who knows more about the tech than you.  The people I’ve worked with are also very passionate about the tech, and happy to share their knowledge – all you have to do is ask.  The most important thing is to be clear on what you need to know to excel at what you do, then to have faith in yourself.

I think there is a trend with women I’ve worked/work with. They feel they have to work harder in order to prove themselves.  I’ve certainly felt this myself.  Men generally seem to have a more laid-back attitude to work (not to say they don’t care) but they take it more in their stride.  I’d spend hours preparing for what I was going to say for my first board meetings, only to realize I was doing this due to a lack of confidence and it was unnecessary. Once I got past this, I felt much more at ease.  If you’ve got to where you are, it’s not just because you earned it, you deserve to be there.

What’s your proudest professional achievement?

Being part of Pimberly from the very start and seeing it grow to what it is today. I feel very lucky to work with such a great team of talented people. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them.

What would you say to your 10-year-old self?

When you see an opportunity to thrive, don’t listen to the voice in your head that says you can’t do it – jump straight in. Be brave and never be afraid to ask for help.

What would you say to women looking to get into tech?

I’d say to go for it.  It’s an exciting, fast-moving industry with lots of interesting dimensions to it.  I’ve always been fascinated by tech and love being in this environment.

Don’t be afraid of being the only woman in your team or department.  As well as your talent, you have a unique voice that will bring significant value to your team, company, workplace, and culture.

Check out any local networking groups to connect with peers in a similar position. I’ve found this very empowering as well as learning lots.

If you or anyone you know is looking to kick-start a career in tech, know that it is possible, and the options are endless. Why not head over to our careers page on this International Women’s Day to check out the opportunities there are to start, develop, or grow your career in tech!

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