We need more “She” in Sport Tech

And TeamViewer want to make this happen. Technology and the world work better with a diversity of talent. It drives innovation and progress for all. 

Working with our partners at Manchester United and the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, TeamViewer is launching SheSportTech. An initiative to inspire even more women to see the breadth of opportunities in the world of technology.

If you’re up for a change, SheSportTech is your Team. Apply for the Pathway now.

Love your sport?

Discover what’s possible here!

Want to learn more about the world of technology and Sport Tech?

We’ve enlisted some incredible role models to share their stories.

Abbie McMurray

Race Team Apprentice at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team​

 

“If your dreams don’t scare you then you’re not dreaming big enough.”

In the competitive arena of sports tech, Abbie McMurray emerges as a beacon of inspiration and determination, carving her niche as a race team apprentice at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team. Her journey, marked by unconventional twists and unwavering resolve, paints a portrait of resilience and passion in the face of challenges.

From her earliest memories of attending races at Silverstone, Abbie harboured a fervent love for motorsport. 

“I have always had a passion for motorsport, racing and Formula 1,” she reminisces. “My first job was at a kart circuit.” 

Abbie describes her pathway into motorsport as “unconventional”, having initially studied fine art at university. Unsure of what to pursue career wise, she followed where she felt her strengths lay.  

“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” she says. “So I did what I was best at, which was art.”

When the world went into lockdown in 2020, Abbie took the chance to reassess her career, asking herself what would I do if I could do anything? It was then that Abbie decided to follow her dream. 

“Obviously the goal was F1,” she says. “I am very lucky that I managed to do it.”

Abbie’s opportunity came in the form of an apprenticeship at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team, where she embarked on a three-and-a-half-year journey to become a race mechanic.  

“I was looking at all the teams' websites and looking at different routes in,” she reflects. “Then the apprenticeship came up.”

After applying online Abbie underwent a series of assessments before attending an assessment day at the factory. 

“We did a few practical assessments, a few interviews, a group task and more online assessments.” she recalls. “Then I was very lucky as I got the role.”

Assigned to the Heritage department, Abbie found herself surrounded by the storied legacy of the team, working with historic cars from previous seasons.  

“There is so much visual history here, we've got all of our cars on display,” she says. “You can’t escape how big it is to be here.”

Navigating the transition from fine art to motorsport presented its share of challenges for Abbie, but her unwavering determination fuelled her progress. 

“Where we are, there are six mechanics and another apprentice, we have a parts coordinator, an archivist and an electronic support role,” she explains. “We have a nice little team within a big company, and I’ve been lucky to work with the race team a few times.” 

Rising to the challenge of this transition Abbie says: “It is a big change, but I love being part of a team. 

“Everyone has that element that they bring, it makes you feel valuable which is rare in a lot of industries.”

Looking ahead, Abbie remains optimistic about the future of women in sport tech, envisioning a landscape where barriers are shattered, and opportunities abound.

“We are seeing more and more women in the paddock,” she says. “The bigger the sport grows, the more different people will be a part of it. That is really exciting.” 

She has plenty of advice to offer those who wish to pursue a career in motorsport but may be feeling tentative.  

“You should always take an opportunity,” she insists. “Applying for jobs can be daunting, especially if you don’t match all the criteria, but nothing ventured is nothing gained.”

Speaking from a place of personal experience, Abbie stresses the importance of having the confidence in yourself to put yourself out there and believe in yourself. 

“You have got to be determined,” she says. “There is definitely a lot that can deter you but keep going and visualise it.”

When asked what skills are needed to succeed in her field, Abbie maintains that above all, adaptability and endurance are paramount.  

“It is not a Monday to Friday, nine-to-five kind of job,” she says. “There is a lot of travel and you have got to be flexible.”

Abbie’s odyssey in sport tech serves as a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and self-belief. 

“If you want something enough and are willing to put in the work you can get there,” she advises.

As Abbie continues her journey in the dynamic world of F1, her story stands as an inspiration to aspiring women in sport tech, reminding them that with determination and resilience, the sky is the limit.

Amy Walker

Track Operations Engineer at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team​

 

“You never know where your path might take you, but it will take you to where you should be.”

Amy Walker now holds her dream job as a Trackside Operations Engineer at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team. She speaks further on what it is like to oversee the build, health, and legality of a racecar when at track and what it takes to break into Formula 1. 

Every race weekend, Amy gathers data from the running car and ensures that it is equipped with the correct parts. After receiving upgraded parts from the team's Brackley and Brixworth factories, she oversees their placement on the car and ensures that they run safely and reliably. Amy serves as the liaison between the factory and the track.

When in the factory, Amy works alongside 30 other engineers in the race support room. There, she relies on TeamViewer's remote connectivity platform — TeamViewer Tensor — to send simulation data to her trackside colleagues and provide input on the incoming data from the car. 

"During the Australian Grand Prix, Brackley and Melbourne have a 12-hour time difference," she says. "But Tensor allows the trackside and factory-side teams to communicate as though they are sitting next to each other."

Given how communication-heavy her role is, it comes as little surprise that Amy names collaborating with colleagues across all departments as her favourite aspect of work. Race engineers relay their drivers' feedback to her, which she uses to determine what direction to take with performance hardware components. Design engineers pitch ideas for development to her, and she evaluates these proposed upgrades' wider functions and efficacy. Mechanics work with her to put together a vehicle to maximise the performance every race. 

"Communication skills are so important," she says. "The most important is adapting your communication style to the people you are working with. Everyone has their own area of expertise, so it is an important part of my role to bring all this information together.

"In a high-pressure environment that demands fast turnarounds, you have to put that knowledge in more simplified terms and make your point concisely and clearly." 

At first glance, the pressures, demands and intricacies of F1 may seem overwhelming. But for Amy, they are childhood dreams come true — and she navigates them with ease and joy. 

"I grew up with F1, as my father worked in it for quite a few years," she says. "I did my work experience at Brackley — back in the team’s days as British American Racing — at 16.

"From the very start, I knew that motorsport was where I wanted to be. I wanted to take that route into the pinnacle of sports and technology." 

To prepare for that route, Amy earned a Master of Automotive Engineering from the University of Leeds. Upon graduation, she applied to all 10 F1 teams — and received rejections from every one of them. Though disheartened, she pivoted to take on a graduate scheme at Ricardo, an engineering consultancy service, where she was able to rotate between the fields of Project Management, Test Operations, Noise Vibration Harshness and Vehicle Engineering. 

"Of course, it was disappointing not to go straight into F1," she says. "But for me, it really helped my journey, especially since I left university not knowing what I wanted to do. Engineering is such a broad field, and when you do not know what roles are out there for you, being able to rotate around so many different areas, give them a go and see what interests you is very useful." 

After three years at Ricardo, Amy walked onto the rebranded Mercedes AMG-PETRONAS Formula 1 Team as a Powertrain Dyno Test Engineer. She would spend six years on the dyno team, maximising the performance and reliability of the powertrain components that were so instrumental in the Tteam’s dominant run. In 2022, she transferred into her current role as Trackside Operations Engineer — and has adored every moment of it since. 

Amy credits this love to her initial disappointment with F1. She argues that if she had not gained a broader border knowledge of engineering with Ricardo, she would not have even known about her past and current roles with Mercedes. Thus, when asked to lend advice to women interested in the world of motorsport technology, she recommends staying grounded, positive and focused on doing the best work in your position. 

"F1 is the big, shiny thing that we aim for," she says, "But we have to remember that there is no single way to get into a motorsport role. Focus on getting experience around you — on doing things that you are good at and enjoy. You never know where your path might take you, but it will take you to where you should be."

Shobana Kandaswamy

Director Solution Delivery – APAC at TeamViewer​

 

“We need to allow ourselves to take on space and be vocal about our success.”

With 18 years of experience and now Director Solution Delivery, Asia-Pacific (APAC) Solutions, at TeamViewer, Shobana Kandaswamy’s story is one of determination, and is proof that when drive by passion, anyone can overcome challenges and achieve success. 

Shobana’s passion for technology, and her interest in it, began when she started as a computer science engineer. From there, her interest in the field of technology grew and she worked her way up the corporate hierarchy in software industry and navigated through  opportunities and challenges.

Shobana left her home country of India, and moved to Singapore  to explore further on software engineering and  technical Consulting.

With the support of her family, Shobana defied the conventional belief that women must choose between their careers and their families. She pursued her master's degree, embraced a new job opportunity, and embarked on the journey of motherhood simultaneously.  

"My support network played a pivotal role for me to work, study, and be a mother," she says. "Going back to school was a very conscious decision; I wanted to complement my tech background with more commercial skills so this really kept me motivated in the ups and downs."  

Whilst Shobana has climbed the corporate ladder in her role, her journey was more about following her passion and seeking diverse opportunities. In her current role, Shobana plays a part in the success of the business. As the leader of the Solution Delivery for APAC, she oversees a critical function that sits at the intersection of business and Information Technology. 

Shobana leads a function which ensures customers' unique needs are met, and offers comprehensive solutions. As a leader, Shobana sets herself apart from the rest with her dual expertise as she bridges both technical and commercial aspects, which distinguishes her and her team from traditional R&D and product teams; she underscores the significance of solving customers' problems with technological solutions rather than just selling a product.

Reflecting on her own role, Shobana has some ideal qualities that she believes are needed for others to do the same.

"To succeed in this role, one must understand how technology can drive business and bring value to the company,” she says. 

Shobana also echoes that, particularly for women, they should trust their knowledge and not let self-doubt hinder their opportunities.

"If you want something and believe you can do it, don't hesitate to raise your hand,” she says. “Rather than looking at a job as a means to manage your career, looking at it as an opportunity to expand your capabilities and outlook opens up multiple doors.” 

With the industry ever-growing and ever-changing, more women are needed in the industry now more than ever before, but how can this be done?

Shobana believes there needs to be targeted awareness campaigns and initiatives within universities to bring more women into technology and engineering, and companies such as TeamViewer can help with this. 

For Shobana and her colleagues, TeamViewer is embracing women in engineering with key female leaders leading the way, including Mei Dent who is Chief Product & Technology Officer. But it doesn’t end there,  nearly 50% of leadership positions in APAC are held by women, starting with APAC President, Sojung Lee

In having women in leadership positions, Shobana is surrounded by strong and confident women and she’s proud to see TeamViewer supporting this. 

“It is a proud feeling to see more women around you going out there and doing it without fear,” she says. “I personally believe it’s possible because of the accessible support system available to us to have a fair share of household and care responsibilities.

“A supportive and collaborative spouse is instrumental in this pursuit.”

To be a good leader, Shobana believes they should focus on three main areas: expertise, character, and drive, and encourages them to know the unique skills they bring to the table.

Shobana also stresses that to be a good leader, one must understand their own leadership style and how one plans to enable their team to succeed and do all this with a growth mindset.

"It doesn't mean that I have got it all figured out,” she says. “But these are the areas where I am consciously focusing on how I want to be seen as a leader.

 "Growth never takes place where we are comfortable delivering or performing. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable, to be challenged, that is where growth happens."   

For others looking to follow in Shobana’s footsteps, she states the importance of working smart for roles focused on outcomes vs output, networking and self-advocacy. 

"We have to be our own advocates," she says. "We need to allow ourselves to take on space and be vocal about our success."

Rosie Wait

Head of Race Strategy at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team​

 

“What we are doing is groundbreaking, and we have to be setting ambitious targets.”

As Head of Race Strategy at the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team, Rosie Wait is the sensational individual who leads the department vital to the outfit’s extensive success. 

While completing her A-Levels in economics, further maths, further maths and physics, Rosie hesitated between the latter two as choices for her course of study. Though she would decide to pursue a Master of Engineering at Cambridge University, Rosie spent most of her time conflicted about what career path to follow. 

“I wanted to be using the practical knowledge I had gained from my classes,” she says. “I wanted to be on the cutting edge of the field. I also knew that I was very competitive, and I enjoyed working on a range of different tasks on short timescales.” 

Fortunately, Rosie would not have to wait long to find her perfect match — Formula 1 — as McLaren Racing offered Rosie a summer placement in the vehicle dynamics department in 2009. The summer would prove fruitful for both Rosie, who immediately felt at home in motorsport, and McLaren, who offered her a full-time position as a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer immediately afterward. 

Yet by 2011, Rosie had begun to think of branching out of vehicle dynamics.

“I wanted to be involved directly in the coalface,” Rosie says. “The obvious route into races is race engineering, but that does not give you any time for the development and simulation modelling that I loved to do in vehicle dynamics.

“So, I was a bit at a loss — until I looked across a few desks to the strategy department and saw that they did simulation modelling with races instead of car parts.” 

In 2012, Rosie moved into those desks as a Strategy Engineer. Although she would return to vehicle dynamics, spending one year as a Simulation Development Engineer and another as Williams Racing’s Performance Projects Team Leader, she found it impossible to stay away from strategy for too long. 

Consequently, in 2017, Rosie joined the reigning Constructors’ Champions Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team as a Race Strategy Engineer. She would stay put to graduate to Head of Race Strategy just two years later.

On-screen, F1 strategy seems relatively straightforward: during a race, decide when to pit the car and which tyres to bolt onto it. But Rosie notes that not everything is as it seems. 

“We guide countless decisions throughout the whole weekend,” she says. “We consider how we allocate tyres for practice sessions, qualifying and the race, what we focus on during each session and how we prioritise qualifying performance versus race performance.

“In addition to those considerations, we are data analysts and software developers. The task of building the tools we use to make the best strategic decisions — whether that be simulation software or data analytics — falls to us.”

Since graduating to the lead of the department in 2019, Rosie has shifted her focus from event-based work to overall strategic direction. 

“It is very easy for us to think short-term,” she says. “Getting the best results for our next race is important, but I do spend a lot of time thinking about the bigger picture — longer-term developments that might not offer performance in a week’s time.” 

While Rosie has reaped great rewards through this approach — in the form of Mercedes’s 2019, 2020 and 2021 World Constructors’ Championships — she is quick to acknowledge the challenges that the past two seasons have brought. Nevertheless, she remains adamant that they are nothing to shy away from. 

“No matter what, I focus on celebrating the small wins,” she says. “You can take a race weekend or a period of time that, superficially, may look like it has not been very good. But if I know that my team and I have learned vital lessons, dealt with setbacks in an impressive way, or delivered beyond our expectations, that is worth praise.

“Then, I remember that failure — for want of a better word — is part of the process. Frankly, if everything we are trying works and we are always succeeding, we are not trying hard enough. This is Formula 1. What we are doing is groundbreaking, and we have to be setting ambitious targets. As long as we are learning from our challenges and moving forward, it is not a total failure.” 

This level headedness, resilience and courage define Rosie and her motorsport journey. Unsurprisingly, they also form the basis of her advice to women hoping to follow in her footsteps. 

“Avoid getting fixated on the exact title and end location,” she says. “Make sure you get a clear view of what you enjoy, what you are good at and what is important to you. Once you get those three in order, you can determine what is going to work for you.” 

Her parting words are as vital as they are concise: “Try something. Fail. Learn from it. Trust that the next time will be different and try again. Bank on yourself. Do not be intimidated. Do not die wondering.”

Kathryn Richards

Wind Tunnel Technician at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team​

 

“It is so exciting to see women coming into the industry.”

As a Wind Tunnel Test Technician at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team, Kathryn ensures the smooth running of the wind tunnel and the tests conducted in it. Her nearly 19 years in this role lend her great perspective on her journey into technology and advice to women looking to follow it.

As a child, Kathryn dreamed of being a pilot. Throughout her school years, she chased that dream with single-minded devotion, hoping to train and fly with British Airways — only to find out that she did not meet the age and height requirements. 

Still, Kathryn persisted, pivoting to study Aerospace Engineering at Farnborough College. Though she had begun following Formula 1 at that point, she was set on using her university education to prepare for flight school. 

But during one of her courses, she encountered the textbook real-life application of aerodynamics: a race car. After deciding that she wanted to see this textbook example up close, she wrote to her favourite driver’s team — Michael Schumacher’s Benetton — and asked to see their factory. 

The following series of events, Kathryn says, is rather straightforward.

“The letter was picked up by a lovely man named Willem Toet,” she recounts. “I went to the factory. I realised that you could put a Formula 1 car in a wind tunnel. I thought that was absolutely amazing. I decided I did not want to be a pilot anymore because I wanted to work in wind tunnels in F1.” 

Rejuvenated by this new goal, Kathryn went on to earn her degree, complete a PhD and move to Germany to gain a few years of work experience in environmental aerodynamics. And when Toet — now her mentor — tapped her to join him at Lucky Strike BAR Honda as a Wind Tunnel Test Technician in 2005, she was all too happy to make the leap. 

Nearly 19 years — and four team name changes later — her happiness has not receded one bit. 

“I love being in the wind tunnel itself,” she says. “I love the environment. I love knowing that you are contributing to making a — hopefully — winning race car.” 

For the past nearly 19 years, Kathryn has been based in the wind tunnel’s control room. Every day, she looks through a large glass window into the working section, which holds the 60-percent scale model race car. As high-speed winds blow over the model, she monitors and analyses the incoming data on her surrounding screens. And every day, she finds great enjoyment in what she does. 

“Enjoyment is key,” she says. “Whatever you go into, you may be doing it for quite a long time. So, whatever you train or study for needs to be something that you enjoy. Remember that your working life is a lot longer than your school life. Your working life can become very tedious if you are not enjoying what you are doing.” 

Always follow the heart, she advises — especially when choosing the path to a job. 

“I will encourage someone to follow whatever suits them best rather than saying, ‘this is the way you need to go’,” she says. “If you want to go to university, go to university and then get an internship. If you are not academic — and not all people are — there is always the practical route, or the apprenticeship route.

“But regardless of the route you take, I always encourage experience. Get out there, get into work, get yourself to the track and talk to people.” 

Though Kathryn acknowledges that motorsport is an inherently competitive environment, she stresses that the competition is between teams — never between colleagues. Consequently, she names both a cooperative spirit and a competitive streak as prerequisites to joining the industry. The former equips you to do better with your team; the latter equips you to win against your rivals. 

However, Kathryn’s competitive streak does not keep her from celebrating the successes of women — whether individual or collective — across the industry. In fact, when asked what excites her most about the future of motorsport, her answer is immediate: women.   

“It is so exciting to see women coming into the industry, being treated more fairly and coming into roles that were once only occupied by men,” she says. “I see women in single-seater racing, women on the pit wall doing strategy and women in the pitlane changing tyres. It is all so brilliant.” 

So, Kathryn encourages women eyeing the world of motorsport technology to take the plunge. After all, she will be one of the many established women to welcome newcomers with open arms and lend them pieces of advice. 

One of her own pieces is as follows. 

“Be yourself,” she says. “Put your best qualities forward. Do not pretend to be who you are not, because there is nothing worse than masking yourself — and because we should always accept everybody for who they are.” 

Claire Simpson

Aerodynamics Group Leader at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team​

 

“Give yourself a shot.”

In the adrenaline-fueled world of Formula 1 — where every fraction of a second counts — aerodynamics reign supreme. Claire Simpson, Aerodynamics Group Leader at Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team sheds light on the intricacies of navigating the ever-evolving landscape of aerodynamics within the sport.

"Aerodynamics is the study of the flow field around the car," Claire begins, breaking down the complex subject. "It is all about manipulating the airflow around the car to maximise downforce and minimise drag."

Claire likens the effect of downforce on a car’s tyres to pressing down on a rubber eraser to increase its grip on a surface. 

"If you have a rubber on the table and you try and move it, it is quite easy," she says. "Whereas if you push down on that rubber and then try to move it, it is much harder to move. The more downforce we add the more the tyres can grip the track whilst cornering"

After studying engineering at university, Claire wanted to pursue her studies in a more applied setting. Consequently, she chose to do her PhD with a focus on Formula 1 aerodynamics.

"After I finished, I really wanted to carry on doing regular experimental testing, and Formula 1 was one of the best industries for doing that," she says. "I got a job at Lotus, then after four years I left to come here to Mercedes, and I've been here for the last 10 years."

Claire heads a team tasked with optimising aerodynamics on the floor of the racecar., Claire holds a multifaceted role. She works on setting up the best flow structures to send to the racecar while also overseeing the development and growth of her team of 10 people. 

"My job is a blend of technical engineering and leadership," she says. "It is about trying to get the right mixture; trying to figure out the overall direction you should take and then relying on the ingenuity and expertise of the team to figure out how we can achieve this."

Formula 1 is a sport characterised by constant evolution, with regulatory changes and technological advancements shaping its landscape. For Claire, keeping up with and excelling in these ever-changing environments is a given. 

"You have to make sure the process is working well and you are constantly examining that process," she says. "You are always trying to make that way of working better, even when the set of regulations you are looking at has changed."

Of course, that is not to say that Claire's journey in F1 has not been without its challenges. For one, navigating the balance between career and family has been tough.  

"I love the things that my family brings me, but I also really enjoy the sense of achievement that I feel when working as part of the team and feeling like you're working towards an end goal."

 As for her career highlights, there is one stand out.

"Brazil 2022," she says. "When we won that race, it felt just as sweet — if not sweeter than — winning a Constructors' title because we had been through such a journey."

Diversity and inclusion are topics close to Claire's heart, particularly in a male-dominated industry like motorsport. 

"There has been great progress in terms of increasing female representation," she says. "I view that as a success story."

However, Claire feels there is still work to be done to ensure consistency and reliability in promoting diversity. 

"Our awareness of trying to take positive action is definitely going up. Still, sometimes it seems inconsistent.”

Reflecting on her own journey into engineering, Claire underscores the importance of raising awareness about STEM opportunities at school. 

"There just was not much knowledge of engineering being something that you might think about doing," she recalls. "Now that has definitely improved, especially in terms of raising awareness of the different opportunities that are out there."

When asked about advice for her younger self, Claire emphasises the power of self-belief. 

"I believe in the importance of backing yourself," she says. "Recognise what you can do rather than comparing yourself to others."

When asked to describe her job in three words, Claire gives the answer of "challenging, fast-paced, and exciting" — adjectives that encapsulate the dynamic nature of her role. 

Claire's journey in the world of aerodynamics exemplifies resilience, passion, and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation. As she continues to lead the charge in optimising aerodynamics for Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team, her insights serve as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring engineers and motorsport enthusiasts alike.

Laura Youngson

CEO at Ida Sports & Co-Founder Equal Playing Field

 

“There is nothing better than the feeling of planning something and then you achieve it.”

Laura Youngson is a CEO, co-founder, entrepreneur, and world record holder. With a passion for gender equality across sports, and her entrepreneurial spirit, Laura has created a company which is supporting female athletes in a male-dominated industry.

As a self described ‘Jill of all trades’, Laura has an incredibly varied background. From being a diplomat in Brazil to running a hotel in Mozambique, Laura is also the co-founder of a non-profit, Equal Playing Field.

“The point was to bring together women from across the world to realise that the problems you are facing, others are facing it too,” she says. “We can support people on their journey, even though it feels lonely, you’re not the only one.”

Laura and her team have achieved so much, and the feeling that brings are like no other.

“I love it; there is nothing better for me than the feeling of planning something, and you do not know if it’s going to succeed, and then you achieve it,” she says.

And there’s one common thread in all Laura has done - entrepreneurial spirit.

“I have had a strong streak of sport throughout my career, but also entrepreneurial thinking,” she says. “Regardless of whether it’s in government work or charities, I am always very conscious of how to be innovative.”

An example of Laura’s passion and spirit is IDA Sports, which creates women’s football shoes and boots.

“We were familiar with the landscape, and there was a gap in the market for where we can really make a difference,” she says. “It was an original pain point for me - I hated wearing kids shoes as an adult woman; I spoke to women and they were all wearing men’s or kids shoes

“I dug deeper into the science and realised the biomedical reasons as to why we shouldn’t wear men's shoes, and I realised the bigger brands just weren’t prioritising women.”

As a female CEO and business owner, Laura has had to overcome many challenges.

“The hardest thing is funding - you have to be 10 times better than anyone else, 10 times more well read,” she says. “The standards for women are so much higher, and you’re judged more harshly.

Whilst this has not changed in the last few years, there are now more opportunities for women.

“There are more women starting a business, and more women wanting to enter the sports workspace,” she says. “You have amazing women with lived experiences setting up cool businesses, turning them into scaleable and investable businesses so they can have a much bigger impact on society.”

Given her position, Laura has to be a leader, and believes experience is the key to developing leadership skills.

“I have had some fun leadership positions like in London 2012 where I was in charge of 90 volunteers,” she told us. “We were working with a real range of people, from all different cultures, and levels.''

“It’s a practice of how you interact with someone who is a CEO or someone who is a college student - those moments give you a chance to understand what your style is.”

In addition to practical experience, Laura knows looking after herself and empowering others are key qualities to being a good leader.

“It's taking care of yourself so that you can lead effectively,” she says. “And, delegation of empowerment - empowering others to make a good decision. You can always bring someone back in, but allow them to be free and make a decision as long as they can justify it.”

With IDA Sports, Laura is proud of their journey to date and she’s excited for the future but knows more change needs to come.

“We have already made changes in the US so when you walk into a sporting goods store, you can see stuff for women and feel like you belong,” she says. “But in the UK, we’re behind on that and we are pushing to get that changed.”

Laura’s story is proof that there is no direct route into sports and running your own company, and she’s keen to share that message with others.

“I am a big believer in where you end up, you end up, there’s no right career path,” she says. “Even if it takes years, if you’re meant to be working in sports, you will end up there; and if you are meant to end up somewhere else, then you will.

Hélène Guillaume Pabis

Founder + CEO at Wild.AI​

 

“Representation is really important because when we see someone who looks like us, it feels normal.”

In 2017, Hélène Guillaume Pabis founded Wild.AI, a company determined to empower women to understand and embrace their bodies, using technology. She is a clear example of a woman motivated to make an impact in male-dominated industries.

Hélène’s journey into technology began when she studied mathematics and financial risk, before working at a quantum hedge fund. However, she’s always been an athlete in parallel.

With a love of sports, her experience working in technology, and her commitment to providing opportunities for women, Hélène founded her own company.

“I was never told growing up that I had this incredibly powerful body, so when I realized this, I wanted to understand it,” she says. “I was looking for answers in the market, and was trying to understand, what is the difference between me and a man, and nothing gave me the right answers.”

By combining her two backgrounds, Hélène created a company which aims to serve women of all ages and life stages. As an organization, Wild.AI has done extensive research into the female body.

“We took 451 white papers, either from our own researchers or from other researchers, often very technical, and turned that into knowledge of what the female body is, and what it needs,” she says. “Now, we take data and individual input to provide personalized recommendations for women.”

As a female CEO within these industries, Hélène wanted to help women and break prejudices.

“There is an assumption that women are less so we have to work doubly hard,” she says. “There is a massive lack of interest and understanding of the female physiology and understanding of the female body.

“Not only did we build a tech company, but we have had to do a massive re-education.”

In the last seven years, Hélène has gained experience in leading a team and believes the key to leading one is communication.

“We are a remote company, so it comes down to communication,” she says. “That is the most important skill as a manager.”

And as a female leader, Hélène has had to be resilient, especially when overcoming challenges.

“If I am doing things that I'm uncomfortable with and I'm putting myself out there, it is a good measure of success,” she says. “I try to turn it into a celebration of representation by putting myself out there.”

Not only a CEO but also a mother, Hélène initially had fears about managing both responsibilities.

“I was scared at first with my team, ‘would they feel let down by me? Would they resign because they feel like I’m going to disappear?’” she says. “I wish there were more women speaking about this because it is a weird position to be in."

Now, Hélène has found her rhythm and wants to encourage her employees, and others to have the same pride in playing both roles.

“A few years ago, I was doing a half Iron Man whilst running my company, and now I have a baby and am pregnant,” she says. “It is possible (being a parent and working), it requires a lot of discipline, and organization, but it’s absolutely possible and it’s important for women to understand that.

“The message I want women to have is, carrying a child is insanely powerful. It's hard, but it is so powerful, and that is how it should be presented to society.”

As a parent, and a woman, Hélène believes in the power of role models and how important they are in inspiring others.

“I had a friend who was a rugby player, and his daughters didn’t want to play rugby,” she says. “I asked him if he’d taken them to games, and he had only taken them to male games and of course they then wouldn’t want to because they don’t recognize themselves.

“Representation is really important because when we see someone who looks like us, it looks and feels normal.”

For women looking to enter the technology or sports industry, Hélène has some great advice.

“Measure your success by how scared you feel, then embrace it, it’s a good feeling,” she says. “It is having the confidence to just go and do it. Like in sports, if you continue to do the same thing, you just exercise one muscle. Whereas if you want to change, you exercise other muscles, and it’s the same with careers.”

And for those looking to make the move, it is a very interesting time to join the technology industry, especially for women.

Hannah Mclean

Information Security Officer at Manchester United

 

“When you feel uncomfortable is when you are about to grow and learn.”

For Hannah Mclean, a career in sports technology is not something she ever expected, but almost two years ago, she joined Manchester United and is now their Information Security Officer.

Hannah studied History at university but was confident the skills of her degree would offer her a variety of opportunities.

“I gained many skills from my degree,” she says. “You would be surprised with what is transferable; problem solving, debating skills, negotiating with stakeholders.

“I don’t have a background in sports. I fell into it.”

Hannah completed her degree and shortly went to work for multiple Big Four consultancies, where she was involved in projects with exposure to cyber security and collaborated with people from a wide range of industries.

After a few years, Hannah was able to concentrate on cyber security projects and was approached for her now role at Manchester United.

“It is a well-renowned club, and I was keen to take that plunge,” she says. “I had never intended to go down that route.”

For those who don’t have a background in technology, Hannah believes there is a great deal people can do to support themselves.

“There are so many ways to upskill yourself,” she says. “There are certifications, resources, and podcasts available; you have to look for what’s out there.”

With the growth in technology, there has been a growth in women entering into the industry but not across all levels.

“It’s definitely grown, and so has the resources behind it and government schemes to support women coming into tech,” she says. “When I was entry level, it was a 50-50 split between men and women, but as you reach management, you start to see this filter.”

For Hannah, each day is different, and she spends each morning reviewing incidents and news alerts with her team so they can prioritise their day.

“We get involved in our business projects that have an information security angle, we have to make sure everything is secure,” she says. “We work a lot with different seniors, leadership reporting, and our KPIs.”

With the emergence of new technologies, it is a very exciting time for the industry with new opportunities.

“Technology enables women to move into the industry; it reduces the barrier to entry,” she says. “It is about learning about specific trends or disciplines and upskilling yourself.”

To support more women coming into sports technology, Hannah believes there is a misconception around sports.

“You do not need to be an expert in the football industry to work in it,” she says. “There are other roles across the business, but it is important to not be put off as this isn’t just for men.”

For Hannah, and women in male dominated industries, being confident can be difficult and Hannah is no stranger to this.

“I have suffered with confidence, and the way I get over it and calm myself is preparing; preparing for anything is key,” she says. “Take a deep breath because everyone is just a person, do not be afraid to be yourself, you do not have to act as a man in a man's world.”

In her career, Hannah has some goals she’d like to achieve.

“I am very driven and I want to be a CISO,” she says. “It is a goal I am working towards and I am going at this with an open mind.”

Hannah also wants to help others.

“I like to invest in people,” she says. “I love going to schools and telling young girls about careers in technology because our current education system isn’t geared towards emerging technologies.

“When I think back to my time at school, we learned how to make a PowerPoint; we did not think about how prevailing technology is in the modern workplace. The curriculum isn’t geared to that.”

Hannah’s one piece of advice to others looking to jump into a new industry is to be curious.

“Be curious about what you do, when you feel uncomfortable is when you are about to grow and learn,” she says. “Nobody expects you to know everything, you have the ability to find the information or solutions, it is about being agile and having the ability to problem solve, and women can do that.”

Gráinne Barry

Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Stats Perform

 

“There is an energy in the sports industry that makes you feel as if you are not working.”

As a student, Gráinne Barry was told that there was little place for her in the technology industry. Seven years into her role as Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Stats Perform, Gráinne proves repeatedly that she does have a place — and that other women have, too. 

As the Senior Vice President of Global Operations, Gráinne consolidates Stats Perform’s leadership in sports data and artificial intelligence by overseeing operations within the company. She handles internal teams ranging from customer operations — with high-profile clients such as the BBC and English Premier League — to digital operations, sports coverage, data quality management, and BI reporting. 

Or, as she puts it: “My role is in making things work and driving operational improvement.” 

Though Gráinne’s career in operations and technology spans an impressive 20 years, its first 13 were not in sports technology. In fact, a five-year stint in the health industry precedes her entry into Stats Perform — one that she credits as vital to her current success.

“There is a very close alignment between health technology and sports technology, particularly around performance improvement and injury prevention,” she says. “The anchor of data is key in both industries, and it is that connection that guided me into the sports world.”  

To that point, Gráinne asserts that the convergence between sports technology and other industries is at an all-time high. With digital transformation and data — two central forces in sports — woven into almost every workplace, more than enough women have highly marketable and transferrable technological skills. And with so many new and distinct roles opening across the industry, there has never been a better time to work in sports. 

“The reality is that the sports technology industry is going to double over the next five years,” she says. “So, for women at the point of either evolving or reinventing themselves, I recommend that you look at what skills you have and what aspects of your career story you can apply to the sports world.

“Ask yourself, ‘What is the thread that I have?’ Are you a brilliant writer? Are you skilled at video production? Are you a data analyst? What makes you you, and what are you going to bring to this role? Ask, ‘What is the piece that I am missing?’ and work on that missing piece while you prepare to go into that role — and while you occupy it.” 

During this self-reflection, soft skills should not be sidelined. Gráinne names the following as key: flexibility, competitiveness, willingness to take risks, and a relentless desire to be better. Though all are of great importance, the latter is what the industry values the most.

“Everything we do in the world of digital and data is to give ourselves an edge over our rivals,” she says. “Sports lends itself very well to continuous improvement. Everyone likes to win.”

Of course, this continuous improvement does not happen by chance. Sports demands the very best of technology, and sports technology demands the very best of those who work in it. Accordingly, hey often work unconventional hours. 

“Here, we follow the rhythm of the sport, not the other way around,” she says. “If the corporate rhythm is Monday to Friday, morning to afternoon, the business of sport is predominantly evenings and weekends. We are always thinking of and working around what sport is going on in the world. And there is always sport going on in the world — whether that be rugby in Australia or American football in the US.” 

While Gráinne enjoys this reactive environment, she does acknowledge its challenges, and she keeps a constant eye on timetables across series and leagues. But every day, she still makes the choice to commit to this industry. 

“I feel at home here,” she says. “There are fabulous opportunities. There is great fun and enjoyment. There is an energy in the sports industry that makes you feel as if you are not working.” 

So, Gráinne urges other women to make that same commitment and reap its rewards. There is no need to second-guess yourself, she adds. Compete against yourself and only yourself — block out the noises that tell you otherwise. Do what you love, do your best and do not give up. 

“The growth of women’s sports and women working behind the scenes of sports — it is all very exciting,” she says. “Women’s performance, women’s participation, and women’s fan engagement are key drivers in our industry right now. I say that the more women who want to put up their hands and come work with us, the better off our industry is as a whole.”

Sophie O’Connor

CRM Database Manager at Manchester United

 

“It’s more about who you are.”

Sophie O’Connor originally had plans to pursue performing arts but a series of fortunate events led to her becoming CRM Database Manager at Manchester United.

Sophie had always planned to study performing arts at university; however after she hurt her knee at 18, she took up a corporate job in London before enrolling in Oxford Brookes to study performing arts with accountancy.

Whilst waiting to start university, Sophie moved to Manchester to pursue an opportunity with a charity; she ended up staying and switched to Manchester Met University to study mathematics.

Following her degree, Sophie was thrown into looking for employment.

“I remember it felt like it took ages to find a job,” she says. “I sent out so many CVs and cover letters. I ended up with a few options and ultimately chose to go into transport consultancy.”

Sophie was working on an aviation project which involved technologies such as SQL and C#, and so here began her road into coding and programming. This was all totally new to Sophie but, despite some initial challenges, she did not give up.

“I remember crying in the toilets because it was so hard initially, but I was determined and ended up absolutely loving my role” she says. “For anyone without experience, technology can seem daunting, but if you just try and do not give up, you will get it.”

Growing up, sports technology was an unknown industry for Sophie.

“I remember at 16 telling the career adviser that I wanted to do drama and him saying, ‘you’re good at maths, you should be an actuary’, but at the time I did not know what that was. I wish my options were better explained at the time; Sports technology was never a consideration until a recruiter called me 6 years ago.”

There is a wide variety of little-known roles within sports technology, and Sophie agreed that it’s important to promote these roles during early education.

“People are really into gaming and computers but they don’t realise they can make a career out of it,” she says. “For someone younger, seeing it at the start is important.”

For Sophie, the solution is “definitely bringing something into education or having conversations in schools and sharing the message that it’s possible.”

And, for those who are looking to change their career, not having a background in technology does not matter.

“My area of technology suits someone who is logical, creative, detailed and enjoys problem solving, and you don’t necessarily have to have the experience to do it; it is more about who you are,” she says. “I employed someone who had no experience with the system but from the way she described how she approached a problem in her CV I knew she could learn it. And she did and was brilliant”

For people who are wanting to change their careers or are interested in sports technology, Sophie has some key advice.

“There are so many training courses available online,” she says. “All of this can be done outside of work and you can do it for yourself.

“If you want to get into sport, they usually host all jobs on their website, this may help you find what skills to look into if you don’t know where to start.”

The ever-changing nature of the technology industry offers unique opportunities for those aspiring to join.

“It is a really exciting time to join technology,” she says. “With new technologies, such as AI, it is exciting to see its potential and the impact new roles could have on people’s lives.”

“If you are interested in getting into technology and do not come from the industry, having knowledge on new trends can set you apart from everyone else.”

As a parent, Sophie is grateful she has found a work-life balance and is appreciative of working from home, which she can do in her role.

“Day to day, I have found a balance,” she says. “Working with a system gives me flexibility and means there are certain things I can pause and pick up later if I need to. It works both ways though; if something needs to be done, I will make sure it happens.”

In her role, Sophie feels both respected and empowered and has not experienced any limitations due to her gender.

“Technology has led me to a really exciting and fulfilling role in Sport.  As long as you have the skills or the ability to learn them, then gender becomes irrelevant. However, representation is important because as a female you can bring a different way of thinking/problem solving/multi-tasking.”

For women wanting to work in sports technology, Sophie reiterates that it’s individuality that matters.

“Whilst skills are gender neutral, everyone is unique and as an individual who you are, and your personality will bring the role to life; so if you are thinking of it, you should go for it!”

Gemma Thompson

Senior Talent and Player Access Manager at Manchester United

 

“Believe in yourself and have confidence.”

Gemma Thompson has been breaking barriers at Manchester United for 21 years. Together with TeamViewer she gives insight into her invigorating role as Senior Talent and Player Access Manager.

Gemma Thompson’s journey into the world of sports technology is nothing short of inspiring. A die-hard Manchester United fan from the age of seven, Gemma’s path into the industry began with a sports journalism competition that changed her life. Despite not initially hearing back from the competition, Gemma’s determination led her to secure work experience at Old Trafford. She off-handedly mentioned the competition over the phone and found out that she’d won.

“Changed my life, that competition,” she remembers fondly.

Gemma immersed herself in the world of Manchester United, contributing to the magazine, writing match reports and even spending time at the training grounds. 

“I was happy to do anything around the stadium,” she recalls.

It was during this time that she found a mentor in her colleague Emma, who took Gemma under her wing. This pivotal relationship motivated Gemma to take a year out before university and work as an Assistant at MUTV, laying the foundation for her future in sports technology.

“One of the girls took me under her wing and we are close friends now,” she recounts. “I now always try to help others as that woman really made a difference in my life and career.”

After university, Gemma’s journey continued with the club, and she has been a full-time member of the Manchester United family since August 2003. Starting as a Sports Journalist across all media channels, Gemma now holds the position of Senior Talent and Player Access Manager. In this role, she is responsible for managing player access for the club’s media, working closely with players and the press office. Gemma also oversees Manchester United’s celebrity and influencer engagements, ensuring they have an authentic experience.

“It is a lot of hard work but I’m grateful to have met so many incredible people.” she says.

Gemma’s role is abundant with unforgettable experiences. Her extensive travel with the team has included stand-out visits to the White House and NASA, and she is regularly surrounded by a star-studded entourage. Despite the demanding nature of her role, Gemma acknowledges the privilege of representing the world’s biggest football club and emphasises the importance of hard work.

“Every day is different.” she says. “I feel very lucky and I make sure to not lose sight of that.”

Gemma’s engagement with sports technology is a crucial aspect of her role. Managing content with a Content Management System for the club’s websites, Gemma relies on technology to build articles from scratch. “Data is key.” she states.  

“I would be lost without it.” she says.

Excitement for Gemma lies in the ever-evolving landscape of sports technology. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to keep learning,” she says. “You have to keep up to date with the latest technology to help you do the job.” She utilises data and insights from to tailor content to what fans want to find out about. Keeping up with fast-paced developments is paramount in sports tech, even when time is a constraint.

“Sports tech is developing all the time which is exciting,” she says. “It can be difficult sometimes to prioritise the time but it is so important to sit down and look at the data, do the research and learn.”

Gemma is a beacon of inspiration for women looking to enter the sports technology industry. As we all know, the football industry is historically male-dominated, but Gemma encourages women to not be afraid of such environments. Though her role may seem to be a glamorous one, Gemma is clear that you have got to work hard; there will inevitably be tough days.

To aspiring women in sports technology, Gemma’s advice is clear: if you have the drive and dedication, there is a way. 

“Believe in yourself and have confidence,” she advises.

In a collaborative industry like sports technology, small gestures, even ones as small as sending a thank you message, have a huge impact. A priority of Gemma’s is to be kind, always. She emphasises the significance of working collaboratively. “Be a big team player,” she says. “If someone has helped you, send an email. It goes a long way.”

As Gemma looks to the future, she is optimistic about the increasing participation of women in sports technology. She envisions a landscape where passion for sports and technology transcends gender boundaries, creating opportunities for more women to make their mark in this dynamic industry.

Emma Davies

Senior Planning Manager for the Women’s Team at Manchester United

 

“What we do off the pitch has an impact.”

Emma Davies grew up cheering for Manchester United on television. Now, through her work as Senior Commercial Planner for the Women’s Team, she encourages others to do the same for the club’s women’s team.

“Society tells us that it is not possible to have a job in something that you are passionate about — to marry the worlds of hobbies and work,” she says. “But those jobs do exist.”

One of those jobs is Emma’s very own. Over her eight-year rise through the ranks of Manchester United’s commercial team, she has combined her childhood fanaticism for United with her passion for the women’s game.

“As a woman, you want to see the women’s team placed on the same pedestal as the men's team,” she says. “The women’s game is just as exciting as the men's game.”

Thus as Senior Commercial Planner, Emma strives to identify and promote those strengths by helping to grow Manchester United Women.

“And there are a few main areas within that,” she says.

The first area: supporting the Alliances & Partnerships team with relevant data and insights. The second: supporting partners to maximise the impact of their partnerships.The third: supporting the marketing team on ticket sales and improving the matchday experience.

Given the range of Emma’s work, it comes as little surprise that she does not have a set day-to-day routine. Instead, her routines are responsive to the teams and partners she deals with. The overall season schedule dictates the deadlines for those teams' and partners’ projects (“a lot of what we do is around big game days,” she notes) and thus her own. Meeting those deadlines requires push after push, mostly in the form of poring over data across surveys, television and social media. 

Yet the pressure and demands of her role do not prevent her from finding joy in its every nook and cranny. In fact, they do the very opposite.

“I am in a unique position,” she says. “I work for a company that you feel passionate about outside of work. I see behind the scenes of how a football club operates. To be making a difference within it — that is my favourite aspect of my job.

“What we do off the pitch has an impact. The deals we sign, the content we create — that all has a positive impact on the team.” 

Though Emma creates that positive impact through her technological work, her background is not in technology. At the University of Exeter, she studied and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Prior to joining Manchester United as a Research Intern, she spent a year conducting marketing research for an outdoor media company. Nevertheless, she cites both experiences as vital to her success in her current line of work.

“It was more literature than numbers, but dealing with large datasets and constructing a narrative from them is a very transferable skill,” she says.

Technological skills can be taught on the job, Emma stresses. Therefore, the best first step is to focus on the sets of transferable and soft skills that you possess. She advises not to underestimate the number and strength of skill sets you’ve developed in your study or work, as they are more than likely to transfer well to the technology industry. As for soft skills, willingness to learn, love of collaboration and open-mindedness are key.

“As long as you’ve got those, you are in a good position,” she says.

Besides, the ongoing technological surge ensures that the sports industry — now so deeply intertwined with technology — is constantly evolving. Emma herself notes that her own work is subject to immense change.

“The fan is at the heart of everything we do,” she says. “One thing that is super exciting is how the fan experience will evolve, and the role that tech will be able to play within that. Any of the ways that we can use tech to bring fans all around the world closer to the club — that’s really interesting.”

The constant evolution of sports tech also guarantees the constant production of new ways of working. Brand-new roles with new responsibilities, new skills and new impacts on clubs are on the rise — and Emma’s parting recommendation for those interested in sports is to keep an eye on these listings.

“Even if you’ve got any doubts, just give it a go,” she says.

Emily Atyeo

Senior Planning and Insights Project Lead at Manchester United

 

“It is really important to be a role model.”

In a candid conversation with Emily Atyeo, Senior Planning and Insights Project Lead at Manchester United, we delve into her 11-year journey at the iconic football club.

Emily’s journey began over a decade ago when she joined Manchester United, fuelled by a passion for the club cultivated during a previous work experience. 

“I have always wanted to work for Manchester United,” she says. “I had gone to United on work experience about five years prior to me joining as part of my university course, so I got the bug for it then.”

Emily had been working at teams in the lower leagues and was working in a Championship club when the opportunity arose to come full circle and move to Manchester United again in 2013. 

“It was an absolute dream come true to get the opportunity,” she recalls. “Right time, right place.”

The digital media landscape has undergone a seismic shift since then, with the emergence of various platforms beyond the initial Facebook presence. 

“Technology and the social media sphere was very different back then,” she recalls.

Her role has evolved over her time at the club, progressing the media department into a consolidated holistic department, serving not only written media and the website but now also video online and the 24-hour television channel. 

“When I began it looked very different,” she recounts. “The focus was on driving people to the website; now we’ve got the technology to support our app and our video online as well – and all our social channels.” 

The club’s objectives have adapted with the transforming digital terrain. Emily emphasises the importance of continuous skill development and innovation. 

“As long as you develop your skills year on year and innovate with the company, then you’re always going to stay ahead,” she says. “So being aware of everything, all the new platforms and what the audiences desire for those new platforms, is really important.” 

In her strategic role, Emily underlines the indispensable role of technology. The ability to innovate and stay connected with the global fan base hinges on leveraging technology at every stage, from ideation to execution. 

“It’s keeping on top of culture, society, what people are talking about. The new technology that’s out there and what that enables us to do and how that enables us to connect further with our fans,” she says. “Building a salience in relationship with our fans is incredibly important and technology gives us the opportunity to do that.”

And with technology constantly evolving, Emily is keen to stay on top of emerging trends and is studying a part-time course in Level 4 Data Analytics at Imperial College.  

“Staying on top of emerging trends and knowledge in data and insights is important to me,” she says. “The course has been really beneficial and has enabled me to apply my further learnings to my day-to-day role.”

When asked about being a woman in a predominantly male industry, her stance is clear.

“It is really important to be a role model to people and you can’t be it if you can’t see it. I really stand by that statement.

“When I started working in journalism, which is where my background is, I didn’t have any role models.”

Emily’s progression from journalism to her current role involved a pivotal moment during her Sports Broadcast Journalism studies. She owes the shaping of her professional identity to her time doing work experience at Manchester United while at university, where she was one of two women in a group of six students. 

“Being able to have the confidence to sit in a room full of men at a press conference, something I’ve never done before but I did on work experience, I thought, this doesn’t make me feel any different,”she says. “I’m very much equal to these people, and I deserve to be here as much as them.”

When Emily speaks about her family, it is very easy to get a sense of why she is the driven person she is. 

“I grew up with a family of strong women around me who always worked and always provided and were a real example.” 

She speaks fondly of her young daughter and how she strives to be a hardworking figure but also present at home and be someone she can learn from. She sees being a role model for her daughter as powerful motivation, encouraging women not to be deterred by societal expectations.

“If I can be an example to my daughter, that is fantastic,” she says. “All you can do is be an example and that’s half the work for her generation to come.”

Reflecting on her journey, Emily underlines the impact of supportive mentors and champions throughout her career. She advises her younger self to “keep believing” and “hold onto those who believe in you”. 

“It’s rewarding, a privilege, and exciting to be part of the brand and the club,” she says.

Her journey encapsulates the ever-evolving nature of the digital landscape, the empowerment of women in technology, and the joy of being part of a pioneering force in the football industry.

Suzanne Estevez

Customer Success Manager at TeamViewer

 

“There are so many different aspects, and you can do all that without having a degree in technology.”

Suzanne Estevez left a 17-year career in the food industry to pursue a role at TeamViewer; a role she now calls her biggest achievement.

For Suzanne, a career in technology was not something she imagined for herself. It is something she fell into.

“I had found something I was passionate about, but an opportunity came up to go to TeamViewer, and I took it,” she says. “I wasn’t asked if I had a tech background [when starting TeamViewer], but I considered myself up for the challenge, and so I learned it from there, and it has only gone up.”

As a Customer Success Manager, Suzanne has so much a lot on. So, how does she maintain a high level of organization?

“It takes a huge amount of project management, organization, and time management,” she says. “Luckily, we’ve got the technology and fantastic software to help.

“It is about understanding as much as you can about the project before it starts, keeping to timelines, communicating deadlines, and talking to the right people at the right time.”

Despite technology being new to Suzanne, she had many transferable skills that helped her start working in a new industry and a client-facing role.

“I don’t have a degree in technology; I have a degree in business, and there’s lots of business in this industry,” she says. “I learned about project management; documentation had to be precise, and communication skills as well.

“There might be a misconception that anybody in tech is constantly sitting behind a computer, but I have done more traveling, site visits, talking, and shows than I did in my previous role.”

Suzanne’s role is a diverse one. No week is the same. On some days, Suzanne can be traveling to customer sites to check in on a deployment, and on other days she is at home organizing and project planning.

“An excellent part of this job is it can be so different, and it can depend on where I am in the customer journey,” she says. “I keep on top of projects, and luckily, my job also allows me to visit a lot of events and sales demos.”

In her role, Suzanne works with many different clients, including Manchester United. Just recently she was recently showing some football players how TeamViewer’s smart glasses work.

“I was showing the players how to use the glasses and talking them through it, and they couldn’t believe how cool the product was,” she says. “I love doing this and working with them because it doesn’t matter how much technology is out there; you can still surprise people.

“The biggest plus of my job is seeing how excited people get and the discussions that come out of the demos.”

Given her diverse background, Suzanne has unique and desirable qualities that she brings to her team.

“My strong point is talking to people and communicating, and I’m good at listening,” she says. “When I joined TeamViewer, I was worried I wouldn’t understand the database, but there are customer success managers who are very tech-focused and those who aren’t.

“We can all work together — there’s no one requirement.”

For women who are looking to make a similar move to Suzanne, she has some sound advice.

“I would definitely recommend that they really take time to examine what their strengths are,” she encourages. “If you try and get it wrong, that’s okay, but it’s about having the passion to try something new.

“There are so many different aspects, and you can do all that without having a degree in technology.”

Suzanne has joined the industry at an exciting time and the momentum isn’t slowing down.

“It is safe to say it is not going away,” she says. “It is important in our world, especially as we remind people that we still need that human element.”

“It is great to be part of the understanding and all the advances we’re making, it is fantastic. Technology is there to help us, not hinder us.”

As a parent, Suzanne is grateful for the flexibility that her career gives her, but this wasn’t always the case.

“I studied my degree with Open University, which took me about eight years, because I was also juggling being a single parent to my daughter,” she says. “As I have gotten older, it has become easier because I have that balance. I am disciplined when at home and will take a break from the computer when I need to.”

Suzanne has an impressive career behind her and even more to come. But what is the biggest leap she made?

“The transition to TeamViewer,” she says. “I couldn’t risk not having a job, and I started to feel like I needed a change, but I wasn’t brave enough.”

“I am so glad I did it; I don’t have a single regret about joining the team. It was the best decision I ever made.”

Kathryn Kobelski

Director of Solution Delivery for the Americas at TeamViewer

 

“I continue to meet and seek out women across the industry who increased my knowledge and put me in front of the right people.”

Psychology to sales, sales to sales technology, and sales technology to sports technology, Kathryn Kobelski’s journey to TeamViewer was full of twists and turns, and she regrets no part of it whatsoever.

As the Director of Solution Delivery for the Americas, Kathryn strives to meet client business needs through TeamViewer’s technology solution ecosystem. With her team of solution engineers and customer success managers, she integrates the TeamViewer platform into clients’ work methods and processes, delivers technical demonstrations, and maximizes organizations' efficiency and revenue.

To do so, she asks herself the following questions: “What kind of operating systems do our clients use? How do we integrate our software with their software? What impact would that integration have on their businesses?”

She cites TeamViewer’s partnership with Mercedes AMG-PETRONAS F1 Team as an excellent example of such integration. Using TeamViewer Tensor — a remote connectivity platform — Mercedes’s trackside and factory-side engineers relay select real-time data about run plans, strategy, and weather to drivers in the cockpit.

“Timing is critical,” she says. “Having a direct connection between the devices on track and the devices in the factory is impactful. It makes a complete difference in a race.”

To ensure the smooth running of TeamViewer technologies, Kathryn attends Formula 1 races, trade shows, and football matches as part of her role. Showing clients how those technologies work in real time, she explains, is one of her favorite aspects of her job.

“When you talk about a product or software, it often goes over a lot of people’s heads,” she says. “But sport is a universal language — everybody is involved in some kind of sport or in something related to sport. When you tell a story in relation to a sport, people get it.”

Though Kathryn now speaks at length on augmented reality and backend technologies, she notes that the journey to this level of technical comfort was far from straightforward. After all, her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Saint Anselm College and background in sales did not offer obvious segues into the technology industry.

“Still, in sales, I was working with clients and in data centers,” she says. “I would watch the people in the centers — the architects, the engineers — give tours to clients, and I wanted those tours to be a more personalized experience. I wanted to create that bond with the client.”

Fueled by this desire, Kathryn delved into the world of sales enablement software and, in turn, of giving technical demonstrations to clients.

“It was all about taking a risk,” she says. “Knowing that I could learn the technology if I surrounded myself with people who would help me learn. It was about sitting next to people that I did not normally sit next to, such as the engineers; immersing myself in the experiences, and then the technology; asking questions.”

Thus, upon her arrival at TeamViewer as a sales technology expert, Kathryn had little to no experience in sports technology — but a desire and confidence in her ability to learn was enough to propel her to her current role.

“Again, it’s just a matter of being able to adapt,” she says. “Even though they may have very different products, my goals are still the same. I want to help teams reach their own goals, whether that be a sales team using enablement software or a sports team using remote software. The questions I ask are still the same, too. How does the technology impact the team? How can the technology help the team be better and more successful?”

Given the ever-evolving landscape of sports technology, Kathryn names the eagerness to adapt as key to organizational success. Most of her work centers around increasing the accessibility of data and the speed at which it is distributed. Consequently, upon developing a new product, she keeps an eye on emerging technical trends and tools so as to conceptualize ways to improve it.

As for personal success, she believes that mentors shape careers. She particularly emphasizes this point for women seeking to pivot to enter and flourish in a male-dominated industry — just as she did.

“From very early on in my career, I can remember a specific woman whose presence in the office I loved,” she says. “I loved the way she engaged with everybody. Utilizing her as a role model for me was critical in helping me get to where I wanted to go. After that, I continued to meet and seek out women across the industry who increased my knowledge and put me in front of the right people.

“So, find a woman who inspires you. Learn from the challenges that she faced and grew from. Embrace your own challenges, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. In fact, ask for advice from women in leadership positions, because they are always willing to share it and help you break those glass ceilings.”

And when they are on their own, Kathryn adds, women should never forget that their perspective is unique. They should never shy away from sharing it, especially if they find themselves to be one of or the only women in the room. Instead, they should remind themselves that what they have to offer is invaluable and push forward.

Turbo-charge your development in the fascinating world of Sport Tech

Whether you are starting out in the industry or looking to further your experience, the SheSportTech Pathway is open to you.

  • Inspiration

    You’ve met our incredible role models. Now imagine where your career could go in the dynamic world of Sports Tech. It’s never too late to discover the vast opportunities that are waiting for you out there.

  • Support

    It can be daunting to change careers, that’s why our buddying up scheme allows you to learn from our role models. The grant is available to help you start your new career.

  • Unique experiences

    Along the way, we will also provide a suite of unique experiences and events to help you along the journey. These may include guest speakers, seminars, or workshops.

Frequently asked questions

SheSportTech is an initiative led by TeamViewer, that's aimed at women who want to explore the role of technology in the world of sports and discover new paths for their next career move.

At TeamViewer, we recognize there's a significant gender gap in Sport Tech, and we are committed to playing our part in helping narrow this gap. With the help of our partners, we have launched this initiative to cast the light on a lesser seen side of the industry and spotlight some of the many inspiring women who get to experience the transformational power of technology on these sports. 

The SheSportTech Pathway offers the five recipients the chance to be paired up with a female professional working in technology.  This professional will provide support, guidance, and advice based on their experiences. Recipients will each receive a €1500 training grant to help support their development. Along the way, we will also invite them to explore a suite of experiences and events to help them along the journey.

SheSportTech Pathway recipients can spend the funds, in consultation with TeamViewer, on a training programme/course/certification that helps them get closer to their dream job in Sport Tech. The grant can cover the training course in full (if training cost does not exceed grant amount) or it can go towards paying for the training course (if your chosen training course exceeds the grant amount). Instructions on how the grant can be accessed will be provided by email to grant winners.

The SheSportTech Pathway is open to women from all over the world, who are passionate about sport, curious about the role that technology plays in these sport and interested in developing the skills and connections needed for a career pivot in this direction.

To apply to the SheSportTech Pathway, hit the Apply button below and fill out a simple form.

All applications are reviewed by an all-female expert panel. Applications are scored using a points-based system, which determines the shortlist of ten applicants. To help select the final five winners, all shortlisted applicants are required to submit a short self-shot video. The expert panel then selects the five winners.

TeamViewer understands that circumstance change and sometimes people are unable to find the right role for them. As a result, this pathway is not contingent on a guaranteed move into the industry.

While we cannot guarantee any role at TeamViewer or other companies, we do encourage applying for available roles and the female professional paired with you may be able to advise on which courses to undertake and how to structure your application.

  • SheSportTech Pathway Applications open: April 3, 2024
  • Applications close: June 30, 2024
  • Shortlist invited to submit final application submission: July 15, 2024
  • Successful recipients announced: August 5, 2024
  • Grant period*: August 5, 2024 – December 30, 2024

*The grant period indicates the period when the funds need to be spent on training courses.

Please email [email protected].

If you’re up for a change, SheSportTech is your Team. Apply for the Pathway now.

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