Now in its second year, the Women in IT Excellence Awards aims to recognise the entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders and pioneers excelling in the tech industry – and inspire the next generation of women to follow in their footsteps.
We were delighted to have three Capgemini team members shortlisted in three different categories:
- Shana Dacres – Role Model of the Year
- Sarah Saunders – Team Leader of the Year
- Sara Matthewman – Returner of the Year – who won the award on the night, see the full list of winners.
Sara joined Capgemini after a 13 year career break. Following a six month paid internship, offered as part of our returners programme, Sara accepted a permanent position as a software engineer.
Within a few months of returning to work, Sara had picked up the latest Java developments, passed the famously difficult Oracle Java Certified Programmer exam, worked in the Applied Innovation Exchange and landed a role as a Java developer.
Acting as a proud ambassador, Sara has been spreading the word about returnships within Capgemini and beyond, including featuring in an article in The Guardian. Here Sara shares her thoughts and reflections on the award.
How did it feel to win?
“Proud, humbling and inspired! Proud to win and be a part of the Return@Capgemini story. Showing that returner programmes can offer successful outcomes for employers and employees has been a privilege. The award is a team win for the Return@Capgemini programme and Capgemini as a whole.
“Humbling because I was amongst amazing women who achieved so much! I was shortlisted for the award alongside two Capgemini colleagues, Sarah Saunders and Shana Dacres who were shortlisted for their own achievements in different categories. It’s through their amazing ambassadorships as women in their fields that’s helped open up opportunities for women like me, returning to work.
“Inspired! The awards showcased some of the most successful and inspirational women in IT. Being surrounded by such elite company was inspiring.”
What advice would you give to returners?
“You know more than you think you do – trust your instinct. It’s a daunting experience arriving for work on your first day, especially when you’ve spent the last decade immersed in family life.
“It’s surprising how quickly you can slip back into working life. Skills that you think are long forgotten come back and a new enthusiasm for learning emerges. Returning with a different life experience brings a new outlook and perspective that I think enables me to enjoy work more and perform better.”