Sheridan Ash is the Forward Ladies Businesswoman of the Year 2022, Founder and Co-CEO of Tech She Can and Leader in Tech Innovation at PwC UK.
“Be brave and take risks. Don’t be afraid to speak up and challenge the status quo. The world needs more women leaders who are willing to make a difference.”
A story of triumph in the face of adversity
From modest beginnings, Sheridan’s journey is unusual and inspiring. Dyslexic, she left school at sixteen without formal qualifications. She became a single mother while pursuing a career in fashion modelling. Her fashion career abruptly ended on her impending motherhood, driving her to find a new way to provide for herself and her son.
Whilst juggling motherhood, education and a new career in technology, her determination culminated in an MBA from Imperial College and a series of impactful leadership roles in global technology companies, including her tenure as the Leader in Tech Innovation at PwC UK and the co-founder of the charity Tech She Can. She has thrived in an industry dominated by men.
Alongside her role at PwC, Sheridan advocates for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, as she co-founded Tech She Can in 2020 to address the gender disparity within tech. This charitable initiative endeavours to inspire young girls and women to pursue careers in STEM, offering them role models, mentors, and educational resources. Tech She Can’s remarkable impact is evident through its outreach to 50,000 students across UK schools. With nearly 500 champions trained as STEM ambassadors, the organization bridges the gender gap and encourages girls and boys to explore these enriching career paths. As she continues to pave the way for gender equity in STEM, her journey is a testament to all that is. She says, “Women need to be more visible in STEM fields. We need to show girls and young women that they can have successful careers in these fields. We need to be role models for them.”
So how did she do it being a child’s sole parent while working long hours in a demanding professional role?
The importance of telling your story in the workplace
In this candid dialogue with Griselda Togobo, the CEO of Forward Ladies, Sheridan emphasized authenticity and the power of sharing one’s story within professional spheres. Initially hesitant to reveal her journey of overcoming dyslexia and navigating single motherhood, Sheridan ultimately recognized the importance of openness. She stressed the significance of nurturing a robust support network and mentors and sponsors’ role in facilitating career progression.
“It’s important to be authentic and share your story in the workplace. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. People will appreciate your honesty and vulnerability.”
The importance of speaking up and speaking out
Sheridan is a great believer in speaking up. She will not challenge others in an open forum, but she might take them for a walk and talk to them privately. She makes it a point to speak up and challenge male leaders, and 90% of the time; it has had a positive impact.
Self-care is not a luxury
Sheridan believes it is essential to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. ‘It’s important to take care of yourself to be your best. Make time for exercise, relaxation, and self-care. Make time for exercise, relaxation, and self-care.”
Make the change you wish to see
As we reflect upon Sheridan’s journey, her emphasis on the significance of authenticity, support networks, and mentorship emerges as invaluable lessons for all aspiring individuals. Her openness about overcoming dyslexia and navigating single motherhood highlights the strength of sharing one’s story and seeking guidance from those who have walked a similar path.
As we look to the future, her story stands as an enduring testament to the boundless potential within each of us to overcome obstacles, break barriers, and forge our paths to remarkable success.
Put yourself forward in an authentic way
“Building a network of support is essential for success. Find mentors and sponsors who can help you advance your career. They can provide you with guidance, advice, and opportunities.”
Sheridan is a big fan of team awards, but she is a fan of individual awards also. She believes it is essential to promote yourself a bit, not in a horrible way, but always to be humble about it. ‘I didn’t do this for a very long time; ”I thought people would recognize what I do if I worked hard. People will know I was working hard.” They don’t, so you have to get better at promoting yourself. One of the best pieces of advice a mentor gave Sheridan was to always be clear on her strengths and goals in life and to promote herself with this knowledge.
Ready to promote yourself and be more visible in your career?
Just apply for this year’s awards, sit back and let’s do the promoting for you.
Listen to Sheridan’s In-Conversation with Griselda Togobo here
Watch Sheridan’s In-Conversation with Griselda Togobo here
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