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UWE Bristol staff finalists in Women in IT Awards 2017

One has been shortlisted for CIO of the Year and the other for Security Champion of the Year

Two senior members of the IT Services department at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have been shortlisted for prizes at the prestigious Women in IT Awards 2017. 

Tracy Willis, Chief Information Officer (CIO) and IT Director, and Sarah Boyd, Assistant Director of IT Compliance and Security, are finalists in their categories at a high profile event at London’s Grosvenor Hotel on 25 January. 

The 170-strong IT team at UWE Bristol is one of the largest IT providers in the South West, supporting 27,000 students and 3,000 employees across four campuses.

Tracy is in the running for CIO of the Year, while Sarah has been shortlisted in the Security Champion of the Year category.

Tracy received her nomination for overseeing a transformation of IT services at UWE Bristol since May 2015. She has aligned the service with the university’s overall strategy, enhanced customer focus, increased project delivery outputs and driven improvements in student satisfaction results for IT support and resources.

Sarah has been recognised for establishing the university’s first dedicated Information Security team, along with the policies, processes and tools required to keep UWE’s people and systems secure. She created UWE Bristol’s first Information Security Management System, delivered a suite of easy-to-use security policies and commissioned the university’s first cyber security awareness week.

The Women in IT Awards is the world’s largest event dedicated to tackling the technology industry’s well-documented gender imbalance, especially in senior roles. It does this by showcasing the achievements and innovation of women in technology, identifying new role models and promoting further dialogue around diversity among industry influencers. Organised by business technology magazine Information Age, the Women in IT Awards has gathered resounding support from trade associations, politicians and companies of all sizes and sectors since launching in 2015.

Tracy said: “I’m pleased the significant changes and improvements Sarah and I have driven to move UWE Bristol’s IT Services forward are being publicly acknowledged through the Women in IT Awards. I’ve worked in senior technology leadership roles for almost 20 years but sadly IT remains as gender imbalanced today as it was when I started. 

Women bring an important dimension to the technology profession and as a finalist, I hope to inspire more girls to take up technology careers – Tracy Willis, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at UWE

“Women bring an important dimension to the technology profession and as a finalist, I hope to inspire more girls to take up technology careers. For those women already working in the field, I encourage them to push boundaries, challenge the status quo and never give up.”

Sarah said: “I am thrilled and proud to have been nominated for the Security Champion award. The IT Compliance and Security team at UWE Bristol has been in place for just a year and I think that we have started to make a difference to information security at the University.”

For UWE’s first cyber security week in October 2016, gaming students created 1980s-style arcade games with cyber security messages. They were made available for staff and students to play in catering outlets across the university’s campuses.

Sarah added: “What made it so special was being able to employ our students to design the arcade games for cyber security week. The games are now available to students, staff and local schools and help to promote the message of staying safe in cyber space.” 

UWE Bristol Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost Jane Harrington, who is also a Gender Diversity Champion, said: “I am really proud that both Tracy and Sarah are finalists in the Women in IT Awards 2017. 

In a field which remains dominated by men it is gratifying to be able to employ two highly skilled women – Jane Harrington, UWE Bristol Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Provost and Gender Diversity Champion

“In a field which remains dominated by men it is gratifying to be able to employ two highly skilled women. I am really proud that UWE has accomplished this and their work is being recognised in this way.

“I wish them every success and I am sure that they will both serve as role models for future generations of women to take up exciting careers in IT.”