Inspiration, Laughter and Learning in London

Originally published on The Adobe Blog and contributed by Emma Wilkinson.

Now entering its third year, we had the pleasure of welcoming female students from the local community to our annual Girls in Technology Summit – the first at our new Shoreditch offices in London.

Why set up this type of event? The technology industry needs to attract more women, which means we must inspire students to pursue STEAM (science, technology, arts, engineering and maths) subjects and show them that technology careers are a viable future option. As one of the world’s biggest technology brands we are committed to do our bit to change perceptions and help female students to see the brilliant potential of a career in technology, and all the opportunities it can offer.

We had a jampacked day of activities and talks that promoted the technology industry as a fulfilling future career, showcasing diversity and inclusivity. With a group of students from Skinner’s Academy and Clapton Girls’ Academy in the room, we kicked off the day with Emma Gannon, blogger, author of ‘CTRL ALT DELETE: How I Grew Up Online’ and podcast presenter.

Emma’s talk really set the tone for the rest of the day, inspiring the audience of 14 to 16 year-olds with 10 things she’s learnt during her career. Admitting that “she never thought she would work in tech,” Emma discussed how digital disruption means the rules have changed when it comes to defining your career and a huge range of new opportunities are now open to everyone.

Using a calculation from Cathy N. Davidson from Duke University, Emma suggested that 65 percent of the group would be likely to end up doing a job that doesn’t exist yet, so keeping an open and inquisitive mind will reap rewards later. Or, as she put it, “don’t be scared, be aware,” before sharing a story about a friend who works as an emoji translator – a great example of the exciting nature of change created by technology and Emma’s “your own definition of success is personal” mantra.

During the day, the girls heard more about how Adobe technology is being used by businesses to create great customer experiences, as well as CV and job interview training to build vital skills for the future. There was also a panel featuring members of the Adobe & Women Initiative. Discussing everything from their different backgrounds and career trajectories, to the impact of technology on the future workforce, we were inundated with questions from a highly engaged audience looking to follow in our footsteps.

The summit was wrapped up by Garrett Ilg, President of EMEA at Adobe, who shared his own words of wisdom for a career in technology, before judging our event competition where we challenged the students to create an Adobe Spark presentation based on their experiences of the day.

For both the students involved and the Adobe team on the ground, it was a day of inspiration, laughter, learning – and hopefully the beginnings of an engaged workforce of the future.

The Adobe & Women initiative is one of several diversity and inclusion projects at Adobe. For more information, visit our diversity & inclusion site.