“The quality of the candidates were insanely high. I’ve never spent so much time agonising over the content.” – Freddie Quek, CTO at Times Higher Education and Women in IT Awards UK judge.
Freddie Quek, the Chief Technology Officer at Times Higher Education, was one of the Women in IT Awards UK 2023 judges and will also be presenting at the Women in IT Summit UK on 18th May.
We sat down with Freddie to talk about his career, his experience as a judge, and his thoughts on why it is essential to celebrate and empower women in tech.
Men have dominated the tech industry for decades, but thankfully, the tide is turning. The Women in IT Awards UK 2023 was a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate that change through the achievements of women and allies in the UK tech industry.
Freddie Quek is a passionate advocate for gender equality in tech. His career in the IT industry spans many years and several industries, such as travel insurance, loyalty, financial services, and automotive, and now he finds himself in higher education. In publishing, he has witnessed the biggest disruption and transformation in one of the oldest professions in the industry.
Women in IT judges
This year, Freddie joined the Women in IT judging team, and when asked about his experience of the judging process, he said: “The planning process was different, and there was a lot of material to look through. However, the quality of the submissions surprised me.
“The entries were mind-boggling, and I found it tough, not just in choosing but doing justice to what I was asked to do.”
Freddie added: “The quality of the candidates was insanely high; I’ve never spent so much time agonising over the content.”
Freddie was also surprised by the fact that he only knew about these great IT professionals once he had the chance to look at the entries. In his opinion, a winning submission had to answer the question convincingly and come across as authentic, meaning that the story had to be from the candidate and about them.
“Answering the question and being authentic is key to getting the story out in a way that makes sense and is impactful,” he adds.
When asked for tips on creating a winning submission, Freddie suggested looking at the question and criteria, jotting down notes in bullet points, and checking that they fit the purpose of answering the question. He added that storytelling is essential and that candidates must find a way to tell their story that makes the point they want to come across.
Said Freddie: “It is crucial to represent who they are holistically, rather than one specific thing, as it is very hard to assess one criterion.”
He added: “Celebrating women in IT is essential because we need to remove any ceiling that stops women from achieving their potential. Diversity in the workplace leads to better decision-making, innovation, and success. Women bring a different perspective; without their input, the tech industry is missing out on a lot. Celebrating and empowering women in tech will create a more inclusive and equitable environment, and everyone will benefit.”
Women in IT Summit UK 2023
The Women in IT Awards and Summits are excellent initiatives to celebrate the achievements of women and allies in the UK tech industry. They are also a great platform to showcase the phenomenal female talent in the ecosystem.
As Freddie noted, celebrating and empowering women in tech is essential to remove the ceiling that stops women from achieving their potential, leading to better decision-making, innovation, and success.