All-Female Judging Panel Selected for Dynamites 18 Awards

Nine influential female figures from the North East technology community will pick the winners for the Dynamites awards.

An awards ceremony that honours the best tech talent in the North East is championing gender diversity by appointing an all female judging panel.

Nine women working in senior positions within top North East firms will be tasked with selecting the evening’s winners across 10 categories.

The event is held each year by IT network Dynamo, which decided to have only female judges this year to help explore the issues surrounding gender diversity in the tech sector.
Deni Chambers, director of the creative and digital industries school at Newcastle College, will be chairing the panel.

She said: “I was delighted to be asked to chair the judging panel and thought it was a great opportunity to raise the profile of women in tech and women in business leadership roles. It’ll be interesting to see if this affects the impetus to enter, as well.

“I thought the Dynamo board – which includes a good percentage of women – had an opportunity to send out a strong message about how the tech sector was one in which women can have long, successful careers. An all-women selection panel shows that women can be at the very top of the sector.”

The remaining eight panel members are all influential figures in the tech sector and local business community. They include: Jen Hartley, head of tech sector strategy at the NewcastleGateshead Initiative; Dynamo North East’s engagement manager Anne Macdonald; Siobhan Fenton, associate dean for enterprise and business engagement at Teesside University; BT’s Janet Ross; Michelle Rainbow from the North East LEP; DWP’s Fay Cooper; Ubisoft UK director Giselle Stewart; and Alison Shaw from Newcastle University Business School.

Explaining how the judging will work, Ms Chambers said: “We shortlist companies for each categories and then we meet up for judging day when we carefully go through each category, selecting winners. We’re also able to add special recognition awards if we think they’re appropriate.

“Our all-female selection panel will approach the judging process in the same way as previous panels – judges will use their experience and knowledge to compare the entries against set criteria in each category to come to informed decisions.”

Commenting on the all-female panel, Dynamo chair Charlie Hoult said: “The idea for an all-women judging panel created one of the biggest debates on our advisory board.

“We are conscious of all kinds of bias in society and challenges for diversity don’t end in male/female differences. This is a small step to widen the conversation and explore ideas to remedy any lack of equal opportunities – ultimately our mission is to grow the whole of the North East economy.”

The awards evening will take place at Newcastle Civic Centre’s banqueting hall on October 18, and will be hosted by North East actor and film-maker Daymon Britton.

There will be 11 awards presented during the evening across 10 categories, including Innovator of the Year, New Business of the Year, and the Outstanding Achievement award.

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