Unfolding the Future

Unfold the future: Leanne Robers, Co-founder of She Loves Tech


Unfold the future: Leanne Robers,
Co-founder of She Loves Tech

As an advisor, angel investor and community builder, Leanne Robers is a champion of all things tech and female. Through her platform She Loves Tech, she is grooming and supporting companies that are women-led or that use technology to impact women positively. Hear from Leanne as she gives us a glimpse into the difference she is making around the world.
How did your journey begin?
I’ve spent quite a bit of time working in the tech/startup sector. It became obvious to me that women were grossly under-represented and repeatedly underestimated in this sector. Having witnessed such dismissiveness and even discrimination towards my peers, and having experienced it myself, I wanted to make a difference. She Loves Tech is a result of my desire to empower women and create a platform for them to flourish.

What has been the single-most important lesson you’ve learned as a woman of many hats?
I’ve mentored hundreds of founders and advised executives in large companies like Microsoft. I’m also a trained psychotherapist, and in working with leaders through that lens, I’ve learned one important lesson about our pursuit of success and recognition — self-kindness and self-acceptance must come first.

What kind of impact or legacy do you hope your actions leave behind?
I would like to leave behind a world where we won’t need people like me trying to close the gender gap. I’d like to leave behind a world where nobody would think twice or raise their eyebrows about investing in a female tech entrepreneur, and where young girls and women can easily find female role models in the tech industry.

As an authority in the world of startups, were there any so-called ‘rules’ or ‘stereotypes’ that you’ve broken, which have ended up paying off and paved your way to success?
When I was working at Siemens UK, I was promoted at the young age of 25 to manage teams of engineers. I had to battle their view of me that I couldn’t do the job as a young female Asian leading older, male, white engineers.

Instead of running away or conforming to gender stereotypes, I decided to step up to the issue. I worked with my manager who helped me build up my technical knowledge. I focused on leveraging the unique strengths and qualities I could bring to the table. I also learned to avoid being caught up by the desire to be liked and respected. My relationship with my teams improved as a result, and this allowed me to focus on leading them through numerous successful projects and bids.
What does the word ‘success’ mean to you?
Success to me is helping others reach their full potential and achieve things they didn’t think were possible.

Last year, when I was in Pakistan, I had young girls coming up to thank me for bringing She Loves Tech over. They told me about how they grew up thinking that technology was only for boys. But because of what they saw on the stage — amazing women building amazing technologies — they now know that they too can pursue a career in technology.

How would you sum up your life’s philosophy?
Be bold and learn by doing.

How has technology shaped the way you work now?
Technology has propelled us to scale heights that we never imagined possible. It’s allowed us to reach more than 3,000 entrepreneurs globally this year and to work with a diverse slate of amazing, trailblazing leaders for our programmes. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, being online has allowed us to have amazing speakers at our annual conference, including Arianna Huffington (founder, Thrive Global) and Ann Cairns (Executive Vice Chairman of Mastercard) to speak and interact with the She Loves Tech community.

How has the Galaxy Z Flip added value to your lifestyle? Are there any features of the Galaxy Z Flip that feel fresh or novel to you?
What I love about the Galaxy Z Flip is the combination of the folding screen and the split-screen view — I can be listening to a Zoom webinar and reply emails at the same time. And when I’m done, the device folds to fit perfectly in my pocket. No smartphone has ever been able to do this, as women’s pockets are much less roomy than men’s. And the camera is excellent!

What will be the next big development or trend within your industry?
What used to be seen as socially good but optional is now being seen as urgent and important. We are seeing more social impact and sustainability-focused tech companies gaining traction and making an impact. Investors who did not invest in these companies before because they were not perceived to be commercially compelling are now actively looking to invest in this space.

What does ‘Unfold the Future’ mean to you?
The future is ours to define.

Leanne is also featured in the first of our ‘Unfolding The Future’ impact chats where she joins four other female game changers to share their discerning perspectives on how technology empowers their lives and transforms the future for women leaders. Watch the full video here.
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