Diversity Tops the Bill for EIE20 Keynote Speakers

Over the last 11 years, we have enjoyed some incredible keynote speakers who have inspired and guided in equal measure. This year is no different, in terms of the quality of our speakers, that is.

We are proud to introduce Jacqueline De Rojas and Lord Bilimoria, who will headline our new look digital conference in October. Both are passionate believers in the power of a diverse workforce and just as importantly a diverse boardroom.

Jacqueline de Rojas, CBE

Having started her career in tech recruitment, Jacqueline moved in-house to work with the software sales team at tech firm Synon before moving onto Computer Associates. It was here, in 1999, that Jacqueline had her first brush with sexism when she applied for the Managing Director’s role and was told, “They didn’t put women on the leadership team”.

This inspired a fairly quick move away from Computer Associates to Informix where, as Managing Director, she guided the company to an exit in 2001 to IBM.

In her address, Jacqueline will touch on the power of diversity, not just in the boardroom but throughout Tech and how important that is to attracting investment. Women account for only 16% of those working in the tech sector in the UK. While the battle to redress this balance is, by her own admission, very ‘noble’, this lack of diversity is creating actual day-to-day challenges.

With many aspects of our lives now decided by algorithms, it will become a real problem if they are designed by men of a certain age and colour.

“When the seatbelt was invented women and children died because it was invented for men of a certain weight and height. That’s why diversity matters.

As the President of TechUK, Jacqueline will also touch on the need for lifelong learning. The tech market is a hub of disruption as technology evolves at pace. It is vital for companies who are seeking investment, that they enable their teams to grow and develop through learning. If not, they will be left behind.

Lord Bilimoria CBE DL

As the recently appointed President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Lord (Karan) Bilimoria, who built his Cobra Beer empire and endured tough times during the last recession, will use this experience to assess the current financial situation in which we find ourselves.

He will talk to the power of entrepreneurship and its importance to the growth required for our economic recovery. He will address the role investors have to play in the growth of these businesses and what the CBI can do to help both sides find success.

However, Lord Bilimoria will also touch on the need to increase diversity amongst business leaders. As the CBI’s first leader from a BAME background, one of his main objectives in his new role is to increase diversity in boardrooms across the country.

Diversity drives better decisions. And it will be my aim to get better black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation in boardrooms across the country.”

How to watch

Both Jacqueline and Lord Bilimoria’s keynote addresses will be live in our virtual auditorium on the day of EIE20. They will be available to answer questions as part of the address. Just as with the physical events of the past, you will be able to timetable your activity through the day, only this year it will be from the comfort of your own office or house.

The timetable will be released very soon but look out for these two addresses as they are sure to be as insightful as they will be inspiring.

Register today for EIE20 on 14 October