Melissa Di Donato, VP EMEA and APAC at Salesforce, has helped to create a series of programmes for The 30% Club that are designed to tackle a number of issues facing women in the tech industry. 

The ambitious executive, who said she would like to replace Baroness Joanna Shields as chair of Tech City UK, is leading the Technology Working Group at The 30% Club, which wants to achieve better gender balance at all levels across organisations. 

Melissa Di Donato, VP EMEA and APAC at Salesforce ©Every Woman in Tech

“There is a digital desert in the technology industry and not enough skilled workers to fulfil the needs of companies and institutions around the world," said Di Donato said. "By encouraging women and girls to enter more technology-led careers, we are working to plug the digital skills gap. 

"Research has also shown that an increase in diversity within the workplace leads to increased profitability for a company – we hope the encouragement of women to enter STEM-led careers will consolidate that trend in the tech industry.”

Initiatives 

  1. ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths): A programme to ensure that young girls in schools are encouraged to study STEM subjects. 
  2. ‘Connect the Dots Initiative’: Dedicated to connecting all the tech programs/ initiatives and leaders which currently exist in the UK in a useful way.
  3. ‘Inspire and Maintain’:  A collaboration with TechUK, amongst others, created to inspire women to stay in, and grow, their career in tech. With the rate of women leaving tech outpacing the women being recruited, this initiative also seeks to get women back into the field after a period of time away. 
  4. ‘Entrepreneurs’: Focus on recruiting, inspiring and motivating women to start tech companies.
  5. ‘Executive Women’: A platform for highlighting the success stories of female leaders and making them more visible to those who aspire to be like them.

Speaking on the STEM initiative, which will seek to encourage young girls into science-led subjects at school, Di Donato added: “One of every three girls in the UK gets made fun of for going into a STEM area of study. For the 30% Club this is an alarming statistic. 

“We will be focusing on a programme to ensure that girls are encouraged into STEM in two key streams - one for 11 - 14 years old and one for 15-21 years old. This will come in the form of coding events; mentoring programmes; incubator organisations; modern muse programming and competitions.”

Di Donato is also supporting a girls-only accelerator programme known as the Outbox Incubator in South London. The Big Brother-style crash course in setting up a technology company was unveiled at the company’s office earlier this year. 

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