EMBOLDEN_HER: how 5 female developers plan to impact future leaders in tech

EMBOLDEN_HER is a group created in July 2019 by two female developers at Theodo UK. Inspired by amazing STEM organisations such as the Stemettes, our founders have a goal: support women in tech and empower them to become leaders in tech.

Since then, more women have joined the company and EMBOLDEN_HER: we are, as of now, five members. In 2019 and 2020, we partnered with amazing female professionals and Women in Tech groups to organise events in London, such as: a Female Founders panel, an all-female React Native meetup, a webinar about different paths into tech, among others. We also organise a weekly Coffee Network as an opportunity to grow your network.

One of our past events, in 2019.

With the social distancing measures currently in place because of COVID-19, we’re currently hosting our events online. Although it’s unfortunate that we’re not able to interact personally with attendees and speakers, at the same time we’re now able to reach more people throughout the world!

One way we’d like to impact and support our community during these unpredictable times is by creating and sharing content about leadership in tech. As a result, this is our first article: we thought it would be nice to start by introducing ourselves and give a glimpse of what leadership in tech means to us!


Getting to know the EMBOLDEN_HER team:


Abbie Howell – Co-founder and head of Social media

Her bio:

Abbie is a full stack web developer at Theodo UK, where she has worked for a year and a half since graduating with First Class BEng in Computing from Imperial College London. Previously, Abbie has interned at Sky testing their web video streams, and at HegartyMaths writing integration tests for their web learning platform that is used in schools nationwide.

Her achievements include speaking at the Lean Digital Summit in Paris and the React Native Meetup in London; featuring on an episode of the Female Disruptor podcast to share her experience as a woman in tech; building a kiosk application for Made.com’s Soho showroom launch in just three weeks; and working with ECL to develop an application for support workers and friends and family of disabled adults in Essex to track patient’s progress towards their goals.

What does leadership in tech mean to you?

Being able to rally a team to work together for a common goal; being respected as an authority on a certain topic; being mindful of the needs of your team members.

How do you think EMBOLDEN_HER can impact the tech community?

Networking is a huge part of progressing as a leader. The coffee network is our way of helping make this easier. Additionally, our events are a great way to meet new people, and provide a safe place for people to try speaking at a meetup for the first time.


Débora Ornellas – Head of Content

Her bio:

Deb hesitated between mechanical engineering and coding for a while, choosing to change careers two years ago. She is the newest member of EMBOLDEN_HER and has been a fullstack web developer at Theodo UK since February.

After living in 3 countries during the last 3 years, she is happy to call London her home! She has worked for clients in the publishing, home insurance and holiday rental sectors, and her favourite career accomplishment so far is her Theodo article about NestJS testing, viewed more than 10,000 times.

What does leadership in tech mean to you?

Being confident about your tech skills, but way more important than this, being able to inspire and uplift people around you.

How do you think EMBOLDEN_HER can impact the tech community?

I see EMBOLDEN_HER as a safe space for women in tech who are unsure about their career goals, and maybe afraid of becoming leaders, but want to earn more confidence and leadership skills (that’s sort of my case!)


Henriette Brand – Head of Operations & Innovation

Her bio:

Once realising that Olympic sailing may not be the best avenue to take, Hen graduated with a Mathematics degree at the University of Southampton. She decided to try her hand at coding and enrolled onto a 9 week coding course at Le Wagon. Hen enjoyed coding so much that she has now been working in web development for two years.

She is now a full stack web developer at Theodo UK and part of the EMBOLDEN_HER gang. Her role involves event coordination and getting in touch with potential speakers!

Inspiring speaker at events, she has done talks on how she got into tech and on empowering women to kick start their career. Together with Kam and Abbie, she also spoke at the Lean Digital Summit in Paris about scrum and lean.

What does leadership in tech mean to you?

Installing long lasting change, which when no longer present is still kept 🙂

How do you think EMBOLDEN_HER can impact the tech community?

I want women to be comfortable to reach their next leadership opportunity, whether that may be a C suite role, leading a team or meeting or having the confidence to do a talk. My hope is that EMBOLDEN_HER can guide them along the way!


Kamile Matulenaite – Co-founder and head of Outreach

Her bio:

Kam went all-in to a career in technology after falling in love with using code to solve problems during hackathons with the Stemettes. After studying Computer Science at Cambridge, she is now an Architect Developer at Theodo UK, leading development teams to solve business problems in a wide range of industries.

Kam is one of the co-founders of EMBOLDEN_HER – hosting panel events and also speaking with Hen and Abbie at the Lean Digital Summit in Paris.

At Theodo UK she’s worked with clients to build e-commerce data visualisation platforms, an app for tradespeople in the UK, a prop tech platform and currently works with a client in iOT.

What does leadership in tech mean to you?

Empowering, motivating and enabling others to work towards a common cause.

How do you think EMBOLDEN_HER can impact the tech community?

Share skills and tools for women in tech to develop their leadership skills, confidence and visibility to climb in a tech career and become the leaders of tomorrow.


Sarah Hamilton – Head of Marketing

Her bio:

Sarah came from a background in physics but decided to pursue web development after enjoying coding so much during her university course.

Originally from the Manchester area she became a full stack web developer at Theodo UK since November 2019 in London. She felt she could make a difference by joining the EMBOLDEN_HER initiative to empower women to become leaders in tech!

Currently she is working in a team of developers to create an innovative skincare app and website using numerous tech stacks. Sarah feels that a career in coding allows her to continually learn new tech.

What does leadership in tech mean to you?

For me, leadership means having the ability to communicate tech topics confidently to peers, clients & larger audiences.

How do you think EMBOLDEN_HER can impact the tech community?

EMBOLDEN_HER can empower women in tech to be more confident at pursuing their own meaning of leadership by providing opportunities to speak in front of an audience & for women in tech to network with other likeminded people.


That’s our team! If you came this far, feel free to introduce yourself in the comments, we’d love to meet you! 🙂

Follow our social media (Twitter, Linkedin, Meetup) to receive our updates.

We’ll produce and share more content during the following weeks, so please get in touch if you’d like to suggest a theme or contribute with EMBOLDEN_HER!

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