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Bernadette Clarke, Division Head: "I've co-founded a meetup for women who work in data"

Bernadette Clarke is the division head of Rullion’s niche talent division. She is an organiser, sponsor and co-founder of the Her+Data Meetup group in Manchester, a monthly meetup which encourages networking and idea sharing between women who work in data-focussed positions.  Established in September 2017, today the group has almost doubled in size, featuring a line up of inspiring female speakers every month in innovative spaces across Manchester. We interviewed Bernadette to find out more about this amazing initiative.

Can you tell us a bit more about your initiative?  

"Every month, we find three or four inspiring women working on data-driven projects to talk to our meetup group, which is a mix of students, young professionals and experienced individuals working with data. Because ‘data’ is such a broad term, we’re lucky enough to have talks on everything from art, to behavioural economics, to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

A typical evening consists of networking over pizza and beer – which is a great opportunity to discuss projects and ideas or ask for advice – followed by a series of informal presentations from our experts and the opportunity to ask them questions."

Why have you decided to take part in this initiative? 

"When I first met Rachael Ainsworth, founder of Her+Data Manchester and postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Manchester, I was inspired by her idea to start up a Manchester branch of the Her+Data Meetup (which was originally established in Dublin by data expert, Karen Church).

Because I head up our data, insight and analytics team at Niche Talent and also have a young daughter, I feel strongly about making a difference in this heavily male-dominated sector. In short, I never want my daughter to feel she needs to conform to gender stereotypes in the workplace and I see helping women network and connect with their peers as a great way of breaking these stereotypes down."

How has this initiative had a positive impact on others?

"When we started this meetup, I didn’t realise the great effect it would have on our attendees – and our organisers - including me! Initially we saw a lot of shyness in our group, but now we have lots of new attendees every month and get great feedback from them because of the accepting atmosphere everyone has worked together to create. We’ve even seen some of our members, who thought they had ‘nothing exciting to talk about’ take to the stage to describe their fascinating projects to the group.

We keep everything really informal, so I think everyone feels comfortable asking questions to the speaker, which means there is a lot of shared learning that goes on as well."

What are you doing next?

"We won’t be stopping our meetup anytime soon! Visit the webpage to sign up and come along if you’re a woman working with data. We’d also love to take this meetup to London next, so watch this space!"

What do you find most exciting about Rullion?

"Rullion has given its unfaltering support to the Her+Data Meetup, helping with coverage on social media and funding the event; which I think is special for a recruitment company. It’s just one example of how we live our values and how we really do exist to unlock the potential in all of us."

If you want to join Rullion and unlock your potential, have a look at our current vacancies or send us your CV by visiting our careers page.

#UnlockYourPotential is a Rullion campaign aimed at providing visibility to its employees engaged in inspirational initiatives that have a positive impact on others. Don't miss our other #UnlockYourPotential stories: