Taking part in Suw’s excellent Ada Lovelace Day initiative has presented a bit of a dilemma. I’m lucky enough to work with a lot of really inspiring women who are inventing the future of media and technology. At Channel 4 alone, there is Louise Brown, Jo Roach, Margaret Robertson, Jen Topping and Azka Malik; all of whom are role models for any one of any gender interested in working with technology.
But after much deliberation, I thought i’d write about Alice Taylor, my fellow commissioning editor at C4 Education. I’ve worked alongside Alice at the BBC and at C4 for about 6 or 7 years now, and I’ve known her for probably over a decade. Her work has stretched from developing one of the first (and most elegant) sites for social avatars (I’m still using mine on all my social networks) to an ongoing passion for gaming and its potential to change the way we think about entertainment and education.
She has a well-earned reputation as a witty blogger and expert in her field, all the more important when working in gaming, a traditionally male-dominated industry. I always get a kick out of seeing Alice traipse through the office with a group of 20-something indie game geeks in her wake, all of them in awe that they’re in the presence of Crystaltips. Even better, the fact that she’s on her 2nd or 3rd level 70 WOW avatar, when casually dropped into conversation, elegantly punctures the ego of any male game geek who thinks they’re dealing with a ‘girl’ who doesn’t really understand games unless they’re about horses and packaged in pink. Trust me, she could probably kick your arse as well.
But the main reason for writing about Alice is that I think she’s just about to really hit her stride. Most people who really change things, who genuinely set new standards in their field, have a moment where they seem to blossom and fill the spaces they’ve been rehearsing in their heads for a long time. They have an energy that seeks out talent, a passion that makes people want to commit their effort to the cause, and a clarity that makes everything seem obvious.
I see all of this in Alice right now, and for that reason, she’s one of the most inspiring women I know working in technology at the moment. I can’t wait to see what she will achieve in the next few years, and how this will change things for future generations of women wanting to make their own spaces, and futures, in technology, media and games.