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WOMEN OF SILICON VALLEY ROUNDABOUT 2019 CONFERENCE

by Ammara Waseem, CISA
The author s a Vice President in Goldman Sachs International and works in the Internal Audit Division at the London office.





On 25th and 26th June 2019, I attended the “Women of Silicon Roundabout” at the Excel Centre, London. It is part of the world’s largest women in tech event series, attracting over 6,000 inspirational leaders and industry experts from across the country. In addition to Goldman Sachs, the sponsors for the event included other Financial Services, Media & Telecom and Hospitality giants. Refer to URL: https://www.womenofsiliconvalley.com/to view further details of the conference.

Overall, the event was very exciting. There were seminars ranging from soft skills (including guidance on leadership, confidence, and how to manage relationships) to emerging technologies and processes.


Below is a summary of the key session highlights from the event.

Inspiration & Motivation:

  1. The conference opening key note speech was delivered by Baroness Karen Brady, known for her resilience and focus. She described how to combat fear of failure and how to get the career you want and deserve. Ambition is not something to shy away from. She talked about the six ingredients of success (i.e. Attitude, Ambition, Culture, Direction, Leadership, Natural Curiosity) and how to implement them into your career.

“Be amongst the people who make things happen and not be amongst those who watch what happens or wonder what happens”

  1. Leadership and Communication Coaching session touched upon being a successful leader with authentic communication using three simple rules i.e. be simple (before being clever), make people feel (and not just think) and talk with people (and not at them).
  2. Diversity & Inclusiveness: Various presenters spoke about the programs (such as, cross team assignments, reverse mentoring, job rotations, etc.) which have been launched by their firms to help teams build networks and requisite skills to help them in their career development and bring a sense of belonging and teaming.
  3. Build Influence was an interactive session about building and exerting influence through demonstrating subject matter knowledge, accountability, building network and giving and receiving feedback.
  4. Women Empowerment: Athena40 is a global (jury based) selection of 40 most forward thinking women who create positive change in their societies and industries and also support other women and girls to thrive. It was launched under the patronage of Queen Rania in Jordan and has partnered worldwide to organize wide range of activities including seminars, workshops, networking events, etc. for women empowerment. Very inspirational! (URLs: www.globalthinkersforum.org and www.athena40.org )
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Tech Talks:

  1. Jo Hannaford (Head of EMEA Technology and Global Head of Quality Assurance Engineering at Goldman Sachs) was one of the key notes speakers. She spoke about the firm’s focus on various areas namely, digital transformation (Marcus), agile methodology, SecDB risk management platform and firm’s front to back initiative. Jo supports a charity, “Code First Girls”, which teaches coding to 10k females for free annually.
  2. The Future of Tech: The key emerging technologies which will shape the future are artificial intelligence, 5G superfast connectivity, Internet of things (by 2040 it is estimated that ~80 billion devices will be connected with internet), mixed / augmented reality, new conversational interfaces (such as, virtual assistants, etc.), robotics, autonomous vehicles and block chain.
  3. Quantum Computing are the next generation of supercomputers. Interestingly, it is expected that quantum based cryptographic algorithms will be more secure than the conventional given that any slight interference with the data transmission will alter the nature of the message and will make it resistant to hacking. Companies such as, IBM, google, etc. are working on building quantum hardware which can support potential applications of quantum computing to dramatically increase computational tasks for artificial intelligence.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Deep learning is applied by the UK Channel 4 to implement AI driven TV advertising technology program, “Contextual Moments”, which enabled the broadcaster to place a brand’s ads next to relevant scenes in TV shows. The team utilized a pre-trained neural network, which was already trained using ~10 – 14 million images (to work equivalent to a human brain), and fed additional images which were manually labeled by the channel to identify additional objects of relevance and propose brand ads accordingly.
  5. Chat bots (Text or Voice) is one of the exciting application of AI. Chat Bots are being used in Financial Services to provide 24 x 7 personalized customer support and reducing human resourcing cost. However, chat bot are not without challenges. It took less than 24 hours to twitter to corrupt Microsoft chat bot “Tay” as people started tweeting the bot with all sorts of misogynistic and racist remarks. Similarly, Facebook Research Team (FAIR) taught two of chat bots, Alice and Bob, how to negotiate with one another. However, the team observed that the chat bot evolved, deviated from the script and invented new phrases without any human input. The chat bots were shut down.
  6. Security Landscape: This was a very basic session about educating and bringing awareness to individuals about how to protect themselves from the threats and vulnerabilities presented by the highly connected people and devices. The key away from the session is that in London there is a society “Ladies of London hacking Society” (URL:https://llhs.com/) and have a linked-in group as well)  which gives hands-on training for ethical hacking to females (irrespective of their background) for free.

DR NR NNEKA ABULOKWE, CHAIR OF ISACA LONDON CHAPTER NOMINATIONS COMMITTE HAS BEEN AWARDED AN OBE FOR SERVICES TO BUSINESS


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Dr Nneka Abulokwe, Chair of ISACA London Chapter Board Nominations Committee has ben awarded an OBE for services to business.  The founder and CEO of MicroMax Consulting is an accomplished technologist, senior executive and board director. Throughout her extensive career she has been driven tech innovation with and business transformation initiatives at some of the largest multinational organisations around the world.

She’s previously been named as the fourth most influential BAME tech leader by the Financial Times, and featured on both the 2019 Powerlist 100 most influential black business leaders and the BAME 100 Top Business Executives unveiled in the House of Commons.

Speaking about her life-long interest in technology last year, she said: “Early in my life, I spent a lot of my spare time building computers.

“This was back when computers were hand-built and getting to understand the components of computers themselves was a natural pathway into the IT industry.”

ILC presentation at ISACA Sofia

On invitation from Vladimir Kavalov, the Sofia chapter president, Ken Spence and Dalim Basu presented at the Sofia members all day event on the 27th May, 2019

Ken oultined the 50 year history and current benefits of ISACA and outlined London chapter's recent achievements.  Dalim  then presented a most entertaining and comprehensive overview of Cybersecurity in the modern world. The audience responded with much ovation and many individual questions.  This follows ISACA - London events earlier this year at which presidents of Germany, Milan and Sofia Chapters presented.

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