Top Ten Women in Tech 2023
Women represent just 20 per cent of the digital workforce but are acting as role models for the next generation of women looking to get into the booming industry.
Holyrood takes a look into the females leading the Scottish tech sector.
Karen Meechan has served Scotland’s tech trade body ScotlandIS for almost 20 years.
Few know Scotland’s tech sector better than Meechan, having worked as head of operations, chief executive officer, and now as chief executive during her tenure at ScotlandIS. She is inspired daily by innovative solutions that are created by the sector. One of the greatest parts of her job is watching these companies take something from little more than an idea on paper to a hugely successful business.
Having graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2019, Debbie Kerr is one to watch in Scotland’s tech space.
She was awarded the Technology Rising Star award at this year’s Scotland Women in Tech Awards for her considerable work as a data scientist at investment manager M&G. She is also a strong advocate for diversity within STEM subjects and contributes to women in data initiatives within M&G.
Nicola Anderson is the chief executive of FinTech Scotland. The organisation brings together entrepreneurs, the established financial sector, the public sector, accelerators, investors, consumer groups, technology and service firms, universities, and skills agencies to develop digital financial services.
She joined in 2018 as strategic development director and since then Anderson has worked to support FinTech SMEs, assisting them in navigating the regulatory environment.
Head of the Scottish AI Alliance, which is a partnership between The Data Lab and the Scottish Government, Steph Wright has been involved with Scotland’s AI strategy since 2019.
Wright and her team are tasked with the delivery of the vision outlined in the Scottish Government’s AI Strategy, and they oversee the majority of support functions, including communications, programme and project management, and administration.
She is a data science enthusiast with specific experience in the healthcare domain and has a diverse background ranging from astrophysics to genomics in academia.
Dr Hina Khan
Scotland’s space sector aims to become one of the big players in Europe, and Dr Khan was appointed Space Scotland’s first executive director last year to help accelerate the growth and collaboration needed towards meeting that ambition. Dr Khan brings 25 years of industry experience to Scotland’s space sector having worked with NASA and the European Space Agency. She also served as head of UK stakeholder engagement at space-based data and analytics firm Spire.
Gillian McLennan is the managing director of JP Morgan Chase & Co and has spent 23 years at the company. She has held roles such as vice-president of global technology during that time.
McLennan has been described as having a “make-it happen” attitude and for being a “great communicator and role model” as well as “getting in at the grassroots”.
With over 20 years of experience in the technology sector, Jude McCorry is the CEO of the Cyber and Fraud Centre.
Born in Ireland, McCorry started her career with Dell computers in her home country. She joined the Cyber and Fraud Centre in April 2020. Previously, she was the chief executive of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre and was the director of business development at The Data Lab. She is one of the founders of the UNICEF Data Hub for Children and she also sits on the board of the Edinburgh Data Driven Innovation Hub at Edinburgh University.
Jane Poorjari is a software development manager at Amazon and has almost 20 years of experience in the technology sector.
She spent 13 years at Accion Labs, as manager of big data practice, then as delivery manager, and finally as director of products and platform engineering.
Cheryl Torano is the business development manager for the Abertay cyberQuarter. She was appointed to the role in August 2021.
She graduated from Abertay’s Ethical Hacking programme in 2017, having undertaken an accelerated BSc Hons degree. After graduating, she worked in Abertay University’s digital marketing team until 2019 when she took up a role with Brightsolid as a Cyber Security Engineer, while completing an MBA in Business Administration in Cybersecurity.
Torano sits on the Scottish Women in Cyber and Ladies Hacking Society committees and has been described as a “key member” in the Scottish Cyber Cluster.
Lauren Lawson has been identified a future leader of women in tech having won the Young Tech Champion of the Year at the SWiT awards this month.
Judges commended her mentoring of school pupils and being a STEM ambassador. She was also given plaudits for her work in creating maths resources for schools to encourage STEM learning.
A software engineer at Leidos, Lawson says her passion for computer science was sparked by playing video games with her older brother and a desire to understand how the games and websites were constructed.