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International Women’s Week: Celebrating 5 women blazing a trail in technology

by Donna-Marie Bohan


All the Phrasee ladies, all the Phrasee ladies…It’s the beginning of International Women’s Week and we’re celebrating all the phabulous women at Phrasee and their awesome achievements.  

Each and every one of these women is a force to be reckoned with. In true Phrasee phashion, they are women who are entrepreneurs, high-flying business executives and language technicians. They are customer success managers and marketing, sales and people leaders. All are super talented women who are motivated and come with boundless energy.  

We are extremely lucky to be working with and learning from such talented professionals. Here’s our roundup of some of these amazing ladies who share their perspectives on what it means to be a woman working in tech today.  


Victoria Peppiatt, co-founder and COO, Phrasee

Empowering female business leaders and the next generation of entrepreneurs



What better way to celebrate women blazing a trail in tech than profiling none other than the powerhouse that is Victoria PeppiattPhrasee’s own co-founder and COO.  

Victoria, a massive advocate for empowering women, leads Phrasee’s daily operations and teams to develop winning AI-Powered Copywriting solutions for the world’s biggest brands.  

She is a passionate supporter of women in technology and devotes her time to mentoring young entrepreneurs, notably with an inspiring organisation called BelEve 

Her most recent accolade includes being named as one of the top 100 female entrepreneurs in the UK by F:Entrepreneur as part of its #ialso campaign.  

As recognition for this achievement, she will be joining other trailblazing female executives at the House of Lords in London for a celebratory event coinciding on March 8, International Women’s Day.   

For those of you attending Shoptalk 2020, the fastest growing event in retail taking place in Las Vegas (March 22-25)you can also catch Vic speaking as part of an all-female lineup of speakersOn Monday March 23 at Shoptalk, Victoria will give a presentation on how AI-Powered Copywriting is helping marketers better understand and connect with customers 

Don’t miss your chance to hear from this inspiring entrepreneur and business leader! 


"The emergence of more female-focused communities and networks is a huge step in the right direction to empowering female entrepreneurs to follow their business dreams. Nothing beats women supporting women and feeling like you’re part of a tribe that’s making a difference!"

Victoria Peppiatt, co-founder and COO, Phrasee

Molly Elisha-Lambert, Language Manager, Phrasee

Leading a team of AI language technicians to power greater marketing performance



Speaking of women blazing a trail in tech, Molly Elisha-Lambert heads up Phrasee’s team of AI language technicians who program language generation models to create copy in a customer’s brand voice.  

In any given day, Molly’s role is a juxtaposition of art and science. One moment she could be exploring the complexities of natural language generation and deep learning, the components that make up “The Phrasee brain”. The next moment, she may be debating the intricacies of grammar and delving into a client’s tone of voice.  

When it comes to gender balance in STEM careers, Molly thinks that greater work is needed to increase a more level playing field. 

One problem associated with a lack of female representation is the use of gendered language and bias within job descriptions. Another may simply be the fact that people aren’t aware of the opportunities that are open. 

Molly says, “People often draw divisions between languages and computer science but there are a lot of similarities. Linguistics is a good stepping-stone into areas of computer science. There is a lot of shared terminology and the way of thinking applied to both disciplines is logical.” 

According to Molly, more education is needed for graduates about career prospects and from a wider source, not just lecturers and academics but from people within industry too.   

The role of language technician therefore represents an employment area ripe with opportunities for graduates with linguistics degrees. And with women representing the majority of graduates within linguistics, this new space presents a career avenue for aspiring female graduates interested in a career that marries linguistics with computer science.   

Molly’s career route and advice is a reminder to aspiring female graduates that when it comes to a career in tech, not all doors are closed: “There are lots of routes to having a career in tech and many online courses available to learn the skills required. In the future, I expect to see an increase in women working in these roles,” she says. 


"Linguistics is a good stepping-stone into areas of computer science. There is a lot of shared terminology and the way of thinking applied to both disciplines is logical.”

- Molly Elisha-Lambert

Michelle Davies, VP of People, Phrasee

Building a diverse and inclusive culture to create business success  



The team at Phrasee is super talented and gender balanced in its makeup. One of our core values as a business is to “make an impact” because we believe in everyone’s ability to make a difference to the wider business with their unique skill sets. 

One fact about our team that may come as a surprise is that 55% of the full Phrasee team and 40% of our product team is female, rare statistics in technology companies. 

According to Michelle Davies, Phrasee’s VP of People, “Having a female co-founder at Phrasee has naturally led to a more gender diverse team. I came into a business with a near 50/50 gender split. Having worked in the tech industry for years, this was the first time I’d seen this, and it was also the first time I’d not been the only woman at the table on an executive team.” 

She goes on to say: “Victoria’s presence alone leads to gender balance on our team and is frankly one of the reasons why I joined Phrasee.” 

And the team at Phrasee is not just diverse, it is also inclusive, where different opinions are encouraged and heard.   

Michelle says, “There is substantial business evidence which backs up the fact that a diverse team will lead to better business outcomes because the diversity of opinions will lead to more creative business solutions.” 

Building a balanced and inclusive business allows problems to be looked at from different perspectives, innovation to flourish and greater creativity to be fostered at Phrasee. It is a goal that Phrasee will continue to work to improve and build upon.  


“Having a female co-founder at Phrasee has naturally led to a more gender diverse team. I came into a business with a near 50/50 gender split. Having worked in the tech industry for years, this was the first time I’d seen this..."

Michelle Davies, VP of People, Phrasee

Natalie Johnson, VP of Global Sales, Phrasee

Driving commercial growth in a fast-growing AI-Powered Copywriting scale-up



You don’t have to have a technical background to enjoy success and make an impact in tech. Since joining Phrasee in 2017, Natalie Johnson has led the team’s global commercial expansion, built a global enterprise sales team and doubled commercial growth year on year. 

She recently spoke at Women’s Empowerment Week at the London School of Economics and shared her experiences on what it’s like to be a woman in tech.  

“I first entered the world of tech 10 years ago and I have an early memory of walking into a conference where I was the only woman. There is still a heavy gender bias in sales, especially in the way in which sales is explained and in the use of job specs. And sales isn’t necessarily seen as a pathway to a career in tech.” 

Natalie says that 10 years have made a marked difference: “When I got into the martech space 5 years ago, it was the first time I truly saw a noticeable shift – many more women in the room.” 

She says there are a lot of misconceptions like having to ‘behave’ in a certain way to have your voice heard. 

“I’ve never followed that logic. For me, it’s all about confidence and knowing your subject. Ensure your voice is heard and don’t be afraid to use it. Be human when dealing with people,” says Natalie. 

“Be aware of passive language like ‘just’, ‘sorry’ and so on – women often use this vocabulary. There’s no space for that,” she advises.  

“Tech isn’t just an industry anymore, it’s the core of everything we interact with. I can never see myself leaving the world of tech – it moves fast, you move fast with it – I love the buzz, the energy and that’s what I thrive on. Ten years ago, I didn’t know what AI was, let alone ever imagine I’d work within the space.”


"Tech isn’t just an industry anymore, it’s the core of everything we interact with. I can never see myself leaving the world of tech – it moves fast, you move fast with it – I love the buzz, the energy and that’s what I thrive on."

Natalie Johnson, VP of Global Sales, Phrasee

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), English mathematician and writer

The first tech visionary and computer programmer



Not strictly a Phrasee lady but she is dear to our heartsAda Lovelace was an early pioneer in computer science and is often referred to as the first computer programmer.   

She significantly influenced early computing, collaborating with Charles Babbage on a complex numbering system that underpinned the Analytical Engine. She learned mathematics entirely through written correspondence. As a child, she wrote a letter to her mother’s friend and former tutor asking about the geometry of rainbows – a theory not fully understood at the time.  

As the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, Lovelace also loved language, writing a sonnet towards the end of her life called ‘The Rainbow’. So, you can see why she is something of a Phrasee icon. Her contribution has had a definite influence on the field of AI ever since the publication of her work on Babbage’s engine 

The contribution of women to AI is, of course, a lesser told storySince the end of the nineteenth century, women like Ada Lovelace, have contributed in significant ways to the field, but to less glory than their male counterpartsSince then, the participation of women has increased, and women work across all sectors of AI. But gender stereotypes are still rather common in the development of technology and data sets can be undermined by gender bias.

This is a topic explored by Phrasee’s Language Manager, Molly Elisha-Lambert, who has written about the rise of gendered AI and its troubling repercussions.  

These issues must be addressed in order to build inclusivity, open up the subject of AI and encourage more women to contribute to writing algorithms, product development and progressive AI thinking across society.  

 

So, there you have it. Five amazing women who are blazing a trail in technology and business and creating influence in their respective fields. We couldn’t be prouder to work with such talented individuals and rising stars.  

If you’d like to see one of our awesome ladies in action, head to Shoptalk 2020 where Phrasee’s COO and co-founder Victoria Peppiatt will be presenting on Monday March 23. She’ll be joining an all-female line-up of speaking and speaking about AI and marketing on Track 4 – Emerging Technology Spotlight: Customer Experience 



Phrasee ladies are proud members of the dynamic Women of Email, a professional network devoted to promoting leadership among women in the email marketing industry. Here’s a photo of WOE enjoying networking drinks at Salesforce Connections 2019.