‘Mum’ and ‘technology’ aren’t two words that many people expect to go together. Yet, June Angelides – the founder of Mums in Technology – has carved a niche for herself. And it’s impossible not to notice.
The Women4Africa nominee organised the first Silicon Lunchabout for parents about a year ago, quit her job around the same time, has gone on to partner with organisations like Skype, and was one of the 40 women in beauty brand Lancome’s latest campaign called #MyShadeMyPower. Here, June talks coding, limitations, impatience and leaps of faith …
Name: June Angelides
Best Known For: Starting a child-friendly coding school for Mums
Describe yourself in three words: Happy. Go-getter. Optimistic
Previous occupation: Tech Banker
12-month goal: Have my own Ted Talk
Describe your outlook & what makes your work, unique: I have always been the person who’s never wanted anyone to feel they can’t participate. I wanted to learn to code in a classroom setting and felt I couldn’t participate in existing offerings because I had a 2 month old at the time. Mums in Technology is a child-friendly coding school where parents are welcome to bring their little ones and learn about technology and the many exciting routes into tech. My work is interesting because I am not limiting myself to one field. I see myself starting with technology and breaking down barriers for mums to learn about how exciting the industry is and spreading this to all male-dominated industries.
Your greatest career highlights to date: Launching the pilot programme for Mums in Technology in September 2015. Organising the first Silicon Lunchabout for parents in March 2016, which saw investors, entrepreneurs and over 100 amazingly talented parents and babies all in the same room. Quitting my job in March 2016 at the end of my maternity leave. Partnering with M&S Digital, Skype, MOO and most recently Ministry of Justice Digital have all been huge highlights for me. Another exciting personal highlight was being part of the Lancome #MyShadeMyPower campaign which saw Teint Idole being launched in 40 different shades. Business Cloud recently named me in the Top 100 list of the UK’s best female role models in the industry. I have also received nominations for We are The City’s ‘Rising Star Award’, National Diversity Awards’ ‘Entrepreneur of Excellence Award’ and Women4Africa’s ‘Woman in Technology Award’.
Is international appeal important to you? Absolutely, I want to work with women all over the world. We have had a lot of interest from United States, Australia, Nigeria and some other countries, so we would love to have a presence in these places. Like any start-up, we are working hard to ensure that we scale effectively.
Most important piece of equipment you use in your career: My phone! It’s a lifesaver, especially when you have two little ones who may not allow extensive periods on the computer
A typical day for you is: I usually get up around 6.15 am and being the tech addict that I am, I quickly scan my emails, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also like to listen to a Ted Talk because it helps me start the day feeling inspired. I then get the kids and myself ready to leave the house. I do the school drop offs, which are unfailingly very hectic. My daughter goes to nursery twice a week and if she isn’t at school, I take her with me to meetings or the Mums in Tech course. I love meeting interesting people so everyday at Mums in Tech is amazing. There is no shortage of fun. We are all mums balancing kids and a career and we sometimes work out of a co-working space or our homes, depending on our mood. I usually wrap up whatever I’m doing around 3pm so that I can pick up the kids from school and get dinner ready. In the evenings, I try to read something start-up or leadership related as I am keen to keep developing my skills as an entrepreneur. For real downtime, I love Netflix and NOW TV and watch shows like Grey‘s Anatomy and Supergirl for the feminist in me
What legacy would you like to leave? If I inspire just one person that it’s alright to be themselves, totally authentic and that they can change the world and achieve their dreams, I will be happy.
What is the hardest professional decision you’ve ever had to make? Leaving a safe career to follow my heart and be an entrepreneur. The scariest thing was that not having any savings to fall back on didn’t scare me at all. I had a feeling that I would work it out but it was something I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try to break more barriers down for mums.
Your biggest career mistake: I do look back on my days in banking and regret not putting myself forward for more job opportunities because I felt I didn’t have the skills. I should have applied anyway and been open that I would be more than capable of learning. What I’ve discovered in the last 18 months is that anyone can learn anything if they put their mind to it. I wasn’t born an entrepreneur, I worked at it and I will continue to learn and make mistakes.
Most common & avoidable mistake you see in younger people in your career: I’d say the most common mistake is not being patient. I’d say even when I was in banking perhaps I too was impatient. I was frustrated that I wasn’t climbing the ladder as quickly as I thought I should, but actually sometimes you just have to serve your time. Apparently, I’m a millennial so it’s supposedly a part of my DNA. I think if more people talked about their career journeys, the good, the bad and the ugly, it would give younger people a clearer roadmap and instil some much needed patience.
Single piece of advice you give your mentees: Don’t be afraid to speak up when you’re not sure about something. It’s more than likely those around you have faced the exact same problem, so don’t suffer in silence.
You live in: London
Favourite food: Jollof rice
Biggest spiritual/life lesson you’ve learned: Treat others like you would like to be treated.
What do you do for leisure? I love exploring London. There’s still so much to see even though I’ve lived here for 16 years.
One app or piece of technology you cannot do without: I don’t think I could live without Google. I’m on Google at least 10 times a day. It’s amazing.
Your most over-used word/phrase: “Yay!”
June is social media; Twitter – here and here, Facebook and Instagram here and here. You can also check her out at the First Steps to Coding Course at Capco on 27 April and at the Breakfast Series with the theme “My Mentor: The Women Sending The Elevator Back Down” at The Ivy on 29 June.