Esther Oyewole, Step into STEM 2017 programme graduate:
From attending talks, through to speaking at the BT Centre, Step into STEM has provided me with an abundance of opportunities over the last two years.
STEM subjects and industries have been widely criticised for gender imbalance and I was very doubtful whether I, as a female, would be able to succeed in such an industry. However, seeing such influential and successful females in ICT businesses through the Step into STEM programme has provided a huge source of inspiration and also encouragement that I could also succeed there too.
The programme provided invaluable mentorship from Marielle Lindgren, Head of Ericsson in the UK and Ireland, that helped me to really understand how I can achieve my goal of managing a technology company. There were many key takeaways but one thing that I learnt that I still use today is the SWOT analysis. Now, I’ve become very reflective and take the time to look at my opportunities to reach my goals and how to mitigate any potential threats to that, thanks to Marielle. I would say my most important takeaway was having a strong understanding of what skills I need to develop to progress in both a career but also life: resilience and determination. Through the programme I learnt that being good is not enough - you have to want to be great! The best way to achieve greatness is to have an entrepreneurial mind-set and not stick to the norms, but always look for ways to improve and become more efficient.
The programme was not limited to mentoring and also provided a fantastic work experience week. This week really gave me the opportunity to see what the business did on a day to day basis and allowed me to network with both the other people on the programme as well as people who worked at the business. A definite highlight of the programme was spending a day at Ericsson Broadcast Centre, White City, in London. It was amazing to see how Ericsson provided much of the infrastructure for what I watch on TV from music to the sports channels.
In all, I am so glad I came across the programme by chance. It has provided me with priceless learning experience that has really shaped the way I am today. Since 2016, Girls Talk London, together with Ericsson, BT, O2 and Vodafone, has given over 106 girls access to these industries and mentorship through the Step into STEM programme. I was very fortunate to be one of them and look forward to pursuing a career in STEM.