Shwetal Shah on connecting women, youth, and minorities in the UK to technology.
Having moved to the UK in 2013 to pursue a MS in International Marketing from the University of Strathclyde, the opportunities Shwetal has been given over the past 5 years have shaped her as an individual and allowed her to find her calling: empowering women, youth, and minority communities in the UK, using the power of tech as a force for good. After graduating in 2014, she joined a consulting firm in London.
Seeing the gender imbalance in this sector led her to undertake outreach initiatives. She invited female technologists to talk about their research which helped her win Entrepreneur of the Year award by Dr Rosena Alin MP for Explore Science. As a UN Empower Women champion, she made a documentary showcasing women in tech as role models. ‘Balancing Tech’ was screened at IBM’s London HQ, which led to the Feminist Library launching a tech skills programme.
Shwetal made a documentary on change enablers in the UK – one of the interviewees, Femi Coombes, an 11-year-old programmer, won the Princess Diana Award and was recognised during the film screening. Shwetal was featured on the Forbes Asia 30 under 30 and Financial Times Top 100 Black and Ethnic Minority People in Tech lists. With these honours, Shwetal says she aims to continue making tech more inclusive.
Her accomplishments so far:
Shwetal was invited to be part of the Founders of the Future Network (FF). Some of the contributions she has made in the UK digital community include:
- Curating Mozilla Foundation Festival’s youth zone -giving young people a platform to immerse in the world of digital via hands-on workshops
- Mentoring UK digital startups that go to European Youth Award
- Advising youth workers leading UK Youth’s Nominet Trust funded Digital Hubs
- Engaged on a panel discussion with the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and moderated a session with the President of Google.org talking about how the UK is addressing gender and diversity imbalance in the digital sector at the European Development Days.
Shwetal’s Vision 2020 and Beyond
- Since the start of 2019, Shwetal has been working on the I Am Campaign, chronicling the career journeys of everyday role models between 20-30 and opening up a dialogue of what the future of work looks like for secondary and primary school students, culminating in a book launch in late 2020.
- Her dream of building a school in India brought her to the UK. Shwetal has come to realize that she is helping towards nation building.
- Regarding the European Commission panel discussion on getting more girls in tech, she had the privilege to be part of this discussion with some esteemed leaders such as the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium. Her speech (starting at 58.58) https://bit.ly/2ryF07Q
Ars Electronica Future Innovator 2017. A documentary about her experience as a future innovator https://bit.ly/2SRclqi
Editor’s Note: Shwetal is a young leader in the impact world. She is passionate about education, empowerment, role model representation, creating impact using the power of tech as a force for social change. Working in the digital sector over the last 4 years she created various STEM outreach initiatives. Her collaborations with the Mayor of London’s education team, BCSWomen, Cabinet Office, US Embassy, IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Facebook have led to some highly impactful work securing her recognition from the Financial Times, Forbes 30 Under 30, the European Commission, and Tech Nation Exceptional Talent in digital technology endorsement. The Deputy Mayor of London, Justine Simmons, mentors her. She has also been invited to speak at various conferences across the UK, Europe, and Mexico on citizen science, youth and innovation, and women in tech. When she was named the UN Empower Women Champion she created an award-winning documentary on women in tech which led to the Feminist Library in London creating a year-long tech skills programme for women and led to her being recruited to the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community. Vinspired invited her to advise Tracy Crouch, MP, and the Cabinet Office invited her to advise Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince Harry at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.
Shwetal’s Networking Interests:
- Someone who has written a book to empower primary school students
- Someone who has set up a scholarship fund to support others for higher education
- Someone who invests in startups (Shwetal is currently working in a role where she audits startups and connects them to larger organizations for pilot programmes.)
Shwetal on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shwetalshah/