Five Inspiring Women in Tech to Speak at Trailblazing Technology Conference

Thursday, 8th March 2018

Our Trailblazing Technology Conference, taking place at The Lowry Hotel on Friday 23rd March will see world tech leaders take to the stage and share their insights; discussing the future impact AI and technology are set to have on Manchester businesses.

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the five inspiring women who will be sharing their expert knowledge with our delegates at our conference later this month.

1. Hanan Salam, Head of R&D at AI Mergence & Co-founder of Women in AI

Hanan Salam holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and a Bsc and Msc in Computer Science and Telecommunications Engineering. She is the co-founder and the head of educational program of Women in AI. She is currently the head of research and development at A.I.Mergence, a startup in robotics and Artificial Intelligence specialised in intelligent autonomous robots for home security. She is also a lecturer at Sorbonne University and she conducts research in specific areas of applied Artificial Intelligence. She has published several international peer-reviewed conferences and journals on social robotics and intelligent affective computing. Her research interests include Artificial Intelligence, human-computer interaction, social robotics, computer vision, machine learning and affective computing. She is an advocate of technology for common good and is currently investigating how blockchain technology could transform Artificial Intelligence and vice-versa.

2. Keeley Crockett, Reader in Computational Intelligence, Manchester Metropolitan University

Keeley gained a BSc Degree (Hons) in Computation from UMIST in 1993, and a PhD in the field of machine learning from the Manchester Metropolitan University in 1998 entitled “Fuzzy Rule Induction from Data Domains”. She is A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She leads the Intelligent Systems Group (Computational Intelligence Lab – launch in 2018) that has established a strong international presence in its research into Conversational Agents and Adaptive Psychological Profiling including an international patent on “Silent Talker”.

She is a knowledge engineer and has worked with companies to provide business rule automation with natural language interfaces using conversational agents. She is Senior Artificial Intelligence Scientist consultant for Silent Talker Ltd. She is currently a member of the IEEE Task Force on Ethical and Social Implications of Computational Intelligence and has a strong focus on ethically aligned design in the context of intelligent systems development.

She has 16 PHD completions and externally examined 5 PhDs. Her main research interests include fuzzy decision trees, semantic text based clustering, conversational agents, fuzzy natural language processing, semantic similarity measures, and AI for psychological profiling. Currently the Principal Investigator (MMU) on the H2020 funded project iBorderCtrl – Intelligent Smart Border Control and CI a UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Service Power.

She is the currently Chair of IEEE WIE UKI, Chair of the IEEE CIS Student Activities, Vice-Chair of the IEEE Women into Computational Intelligence Society. ​

3. Vimla Appadoo, DWP and SheSaysMCR

Vim’s using her expertise in helping build companies that are for profit and for purpose, gained from working at FutureEverything and Dotforge, to help transform digital services for users at DWP. She also runs a variety of community initiatives, including SheSaysMCR, which gives people who identify as women a voice in the digital and creative industries, and recently launched a mentoring programme. Vim is on the board of the charity Youth Charter, which is dedicated to creating opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to get ahead in non-diverse environments.

​In 2016, she was voted a Top 50 ‘Future Leader’ at the inaugural Northern Power Women Awards. She has spoken at national and international events, on everything from innovation and empathy, to tech for good funding and has recently done her first TedxTalk.

4. Annie O’Toole, Head of Operations, Draw & Code

Annie is at the forefront of Draw & Code. She first entered the tech sector via her own start-up consultancy and an e-commerce business focused on crowd-funded products. Now Annie is more immersed in technology than ever. Specialising in growth within tech startups, she recently joined augmented reality hardware company SwapBots to help the company with its international expansion, as its founders prepare to sell their products to a global audience. After starting tech ecommerce platform Juxdit in 2014, she was nominated as national Entrepreneur of the Year just a year later. Through this venture, she gathered a vast knowledge of emerging technologies, including drones, AR, VR and mobile tech. She regularly provides industry insight, including contributions to policy reports, on stage at events, online and to her peers across the North.

​5. Debra Howcroft, Professor of Technology and Organisation, Alliance Manchester Business School

Debra Howcroft is Professor of Technology and Organisation and is Co-Director of the Work and Equalities Institute at The University of Manchester. Her research interests are centred on how technology is influencing and shaping working practices, changing skills and reframing occupational identities. She is Editor-in-Chief of New Technology, Work and Employment.

If you’d like to hear from our lineup of incredible women, alongside other leaders in world tech, head to our conference website and book your ticket now!