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The 50+50 Valtech Sessions with Dyson

Account Director
Valtech UK

October 17, 2019

The 50+50 sessions are the brainchild of our Canadian colleague, Roxana Brongo in Montreal; an imaginative and necessary initiative, over the last 3 years it’s brought more focus to the experiences and expectations of women working within the digital industries.

Last week we brought the event to Bristol and the brilliant team at Dyson hosted us for an evening of thoughtful discussion and tangible advice on navigating the sector.

Every now and then you can be totally blown away by someone’s enthusiasm for a subject and that was absolutely the case listening to Amy Lobé whose list of worthy commitments seems never ending. As head of Dyson’s Skills Exchange, a leader of the Diversity and Inclusion group as well as sitting on Forward Dyson’s leadership group, Amy has dedicated her time to User Experience but has somehow found time to be involved in so many important causes.

She broke the ice beautifully with her hands-on workshop demonstrating the difference in value we give to things we feel ownership over verses the things we contemplate purchasing by asking us how much we would buy / sell a cup for. She went on to describe the ins and the outs of the Skills Exchange programme she started at Dyson, supporting sessions as diverse as self-defence, embracing bipolar to HTML coding – nearly all sessions are delivered by people inside Dyson.

Tash Wolyn is a teacher and development leader who made us think twice about the power of our language – not just how we interpret what’s said to us or how we talk to others, but also vitally checking in on our own internal dialogue.

“Ask children who do they want to be when they grow up”, she said, “don’t ask them what they want to be…. Regardless of the job you choose not many people would strive to being burnt out etc, so why do we accept it for ourselves in pursuit of happiness?”.

‘Mum Does Design’ founder Lisa Riddoch closed our session with a review of building her business whilst being a ‘nearly full-time’ mum. Her commitment to her ‘Content and Coffee’ workshops (where she mentors women on how to use Instagram to help build their own businesses) was a huge inspiration for other parents looking to make a career change and not miss out on important time with their children.

Happily the conversation continued into the evening. It was a pleasure to be involved in so much constructive and open chatter about a topic that means so much to me personally, but also to the wider community at Valtech.

Thank you to everybody who attended, but a special thank you to Dyson, Amy Lobé, Lydia Livingston, Tash Wolyn and Lisa Riddoch – without you the event wouldn’t have been possible.

The 50+50 pledge:

1. Support gender equality through inclusive and positive actions
2. Enrich women's lives by providing a positive space to discuss, to get inspired and to develop tools to overcome their personal professional challenges

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