Two of the most influential women working in the UK’s tech sector will be guest speakers at the region’s biggest digital conference.

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, founder of Stemettes, the award-winning social enterprise and Susan Bell, CEO of IT consultancy Waterstons, will deliver keynote speeches at Dynamo, the annual conference which highlights and showcases the very best in the region’s IT and digital sector.

This year’s conference will be held at the University of Sunderland on Thursday, June 20, with the title Roadmap for the Region’s Tech Sector.

The conference is a key project of Dynamo, an industry-led initiative to connect and grow the region’s tech sector – and shine a spotlight on the work that connects firms to key trends across the world.

Early-bird conference tickets are available until Thursday (May 2), with prices starting from £80 plus VAT.

Dr Imafidon was a child prodigy and one of the youngest ever to be awarded a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science by the University of Oxford, aged just 20. In 2018, she was listed among the top 50 women in tech in the world by Forbes, voted the fifth most influential woman in IT by Computer Weekly and was the recipient of the prestigious Barclays UK Woman of the Year award.

She now heads Stemettes, the social enterprise inspiring the next generation of women into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) roles. She is a recognised thought-leader in the tech sector and has previously worked with Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard and Deutsche Bank.

Originally from the North East, Susan Bell started her career as a graduate at the Newcastle based Prescription Pricing Authority where she cut her teeth as an analyst programmer.  She worked for First Direct before moving to UBS Investment Bank and then to Waterstons in 2011. She joined the respected company as Head of Business Technology before being appointed Operations Director and then CEO.

The conference will be hosted by the BBC’s Charlie Charlton, and the programme will include sessions on:

  • User Centred Design / Product Modernisation
  • Hey robot ‘Finish this detail design for me’
  • Closing the skills gap
  • Cyber
  • Globalising a North East Tech Business
  • Mapping the Smart City Ecosystem
  • Intelligent Automation Engineering industry with scoping the future of IC3
  • Gender Balance in Tech panel featuring Sue Ormerod (Nigel Wright), Alastair Irons (University of Sunderland) 50:50 Futures and Susan Bell (Waterstons)

The full programme is listed on the Dynamo 19 webpage.

Anne Macdonald, Head of Engagement at Dynamo, said: “We’re thrilled to have two such respected figures from the tech world and we’re sure conference attendees will want to hear and learn from them both.

“As well as our keynote speakers and a great range of sessions, we’ll have an update about the Institute of Coding; an emerging tech panel hosted by PROTO; an innovation showcase panel chaired by Ignite, and a Dynamites’ Hall of Fame, during which Dynamites Awards winners will share their stories.”

Our event partners this year include Sage (headline sponsor), University of Sunderland, MAKE It Sunderland, Mincoffs, Innovation SuperNetwork, and North of England P&I.

Anne added: “ While discussing what the future looks like and providing a perfect networking opportunity, the conference will also be a great platform for local firms to showcase what they do to a key audience.

“There’s not much time left for people to book their early-bird tickets, so I’d urge people to log on to the Dynamo website at www.dynamonortheast.co.uk as soon as possible. We also have student tickets available at a discount this year.”

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