Monica Tailor is Head of Digital, McCann Manchester / Head of Live UK at McCann Worldgroup. We asked who her digital hero is and why. Monica’s pick has been chosen before in the My Digital Hero series and is a real industry favourite
Who is your digital hero?
My digital Hero is Dr Sue Black OBE. Sue is currently a Professor of Computer Science and Technology Evangelist at The University of Durham.
I was lucky enough to meet Sue many years ago when I was involved in Leeds’ Girl Geek and Sue travelled up to speak to us about the Campaign to Save Bletchley Park.
What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?
Sue led the campaign to save Bletchley Park.
Bletchley is a hugely important part of our computing (and therefore digital history) but post the war effort it’s future was hugely uncertain for many years. Sue started the Save Bletchley Park campaign in 2003 and led the campaign, mainly through social media and eventually got the great news that Bletchley was ‘officially’ saved in 2011 when the conversation went from saving to building.
But, Sue isn’t just about Bletchley, she’s been a pioneer of women in computing and digital her whole life, she has a wonderful story, she was a single mother of three small children when she started on her computing career by taking a maths access course at night school. Sue’s gone on to pioneer the women in tech movement in so many ways; she started the BCSWomen network (British Computing Society), successfully published a crowdfunded book called Saving Bletchley Park, she launched and continues to be involved with #Techmums which helps mums to understand how the internet works, and that’s just a small taste.
She’s been repeatedly awarded and listed as one of the most inspirational women in her field and in 2016 she was awarded an OBE.
How has her heroism helped drive digital?
Aside from her list of amazing achievement why Sue is my digital hero is her passion and authenticity. I love how Sue takes on campaigns that she is passionate about, she’s not scared of speaking up and out on subjects she believes in. I hope I’m thought of in the same way some day.
Sue has repeatedly broken the glass ceiling for women in digital and tech.
She’s championed our forgotten heroes, but she champions people all day, every day by being an ally and using her platform to speak up.
What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
Our biggest issues in digital continue to be the one’s that we need to tackle as a society.
The lack of diversity is probably the number one challenge. It’s not just about inclusive workforce and better performance but digital is building our future, it’s building the systems that tell us if we can or can’t get a mortgage, how to drive our cars, watching us on the streets and we are building bias into our future right now.
Building diversity into our workforce, testing with diverse data sets, bringing diversity of thought into our processes and inspiring people to join the industry are all heroic in my eyes and we need champions of change to speak out and make it happen.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
Wow what a question. Knowing more about the internet than my teenage children is something I pride myself on – but more seriously the thing I’m most proud of is when people tell me they’ve come to work at McCann to work with me because they want to learn and be inspired. It’s an amazing thing to feel that I can do that for people.