Recently, I was privileged enough to travel to Grosvenor House as a guest of Alison Davis, a nominee for Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Year at the fourth annual Women in IT Awards.

Alison, a former DCHS student who currently has a son at DCGS, has worked in IT for 31 years and as a CIO for 17 years. Most recently she has led the set-up of IT for the Francis Crick Institute, the largest centre of biomedical research in Europe, which was opened in November 2016.

The Women in IT Awards is the world’s largest event dedicated to tackling the technology industry’s disheartening gender imbalance. It does this by showcasing the achievements and innovation of women in technology, identifying new role models and promoting further dialogue around diversity among industry influencers.

The evening began with a champagne reception for some, however as three of our party's members were under 18 (including myself) we were held at the door and made to sign a declaration that we would leave the premises at 23:00 when the drinks and networking began.

The night then proceeded with keynote addresses from Ben Rossi, Caroline Glackin and Baroness Martha Lane Fox, a philanthropist, public servant and co-founder of, whose moving and passionate speech about female empowerment and inequality in the workplace set the tone for the rest of the evening. A three-course dinner then commenced before the long-anticipated awards ceremony began.

With 19 awards to be handed out, Alison had the longest wait as unfortunately, as CIO of the Year was the last award of the evening. With so many nominees per category and so many awards to hand out, the ceremony moved like clockwork. Amongst nine other worthy nominees, Alison was hopeful of her chances of taking home the prestigious award, and, to the delight of 1200 spectators in attendance, we watched Alison collect the final award, the perfect end to an inspirational evening.

I am interested in pursuing a career in this field, and additionally with my graphics coursework focusing on the empowerment of women and equality in the workplace, it was a privilege to be invited to accompany Alison at this event.