Trailblazing women in tech were celebrated last night at a glittering awards ceremony in Glasgow.

The achievements of women in the tech sector were recognised at the annual Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT) awards at the city’s Radisson Blu Hotel.

Compered by STV’s Laura Boyd, the event, which celebrated diversity in the industry, returned after a three-year hiatus brought about by the pandemic.

Individuals and organisations from the financial services sector emerged as winners in four of the ten award categories, with Gillian McLennan, managing director leading capital management technology at JP Morgan taking home the Leader of the Year award.

Gillian was commended by the SWiT judges for her “make-it happen” attitude and for being a “great communicator and role model” as well as “getting in at the grassroots”.

Other big winners from the financial services sector included M&G which was named as Large Employer of the Year, M&G data scientist, Debbie Kerr who was recognised as Technology Rising Star and Iain McNiven, Head of Talent Management at Morgan Stanley who was awarded Gender Diversity Ally of the Year. 

Some additional winners this year include: 

Lauren Lawson, software engineer at Leidos who won the award for Young Tech Champion of the Year, with the judges congratulating her for her mentoring of school pupils and being a STEM ambassador. She was also commended for her work in creating math resources for schools to encourage STEM learning. 

Sam Rhynas, director and chief operating officer at Effini was recognised as Inspirational Woman of the Year for the impact she has made not only her own career pathway, but for also creating inspirational and inclusive opportunities for other women in tech through her many volunteer initiatives.

Empowering you won the Diversity Initiative of the Year for its creation of the “Empowering Women to Lead…” programme, an intensive, 3-month leadership development and acceleration workshop series which brings together aspiring and emerging female leaders from across public, private and third sector organisations throughout Scotland. Judges applauded the fact that in the two years since the programme was launched, it had seen nine cohorts creating an alumni group of 200.

2i Testing was revealed as SME Employer of the Year in recognition of its employee diversity (especially women) at all levels of the organisation.

Silka Patel, founder and chair of Scotland Women in Technology, said: “Championing and celebrating women in what remains a male dominated sector remains of the utmost importance. It is vital that female newcomers to the technology sector have visibility of peers who are similar to them, who can inspire them to accomplish all they can in this fast-paced and innovative tech world.

“Tonight’s winners epitomise the best of the best in Scotland’s technology sector and I know each of the judges found it incredibly hard to select winners in each of the categories. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners and finalists – as women in IT, it is our job to inspire, and I know that everyone recognised in this year’s awards will continue to do that as they go about their daily jobs.”

Scottish Government Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “These awards represent a celebration of our collective commitment to supporting inspirational women in the ever-evolving world of technology.

“The Scottish Government is deeply committed to addressing the technology gender gap, advocating for diversity and inclusion and supporting the remarkable women who continue to shatter glass ceilings and set new benchmarks. Our dedication to equality and innovation knows no bounds.”