Women in Tech: Katie Harbron
Hi Katie, what could you tell me about yourself?
I am 32 and live in North Yorkshire with my amazing husband, two young sons and a pug called Hank. I am Head of Product and R&D at tombola, which means I, along with very talented teams, am responsible for the creation, delivery and ongoing performance of content across bingo, arcade and International sites and apps.
What were you doing before you became Head of Product and R&D at Tombola?
I have had an eclectic career within a number of different industries from pubs to laser eye treatments but before joining tombola, I worked for a local enterprise agency as a Business Coach. I was responsible for helping to set up new businesses, write business plans and ensure initial contracts as well as going in to established businesses who were either struggling and need advice or had growth plans that required support. It was very rewarding to be a small part of their journey and to see those businesses thriving today
Getting involved in Tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?
I was more drawn to tombola as a company rather than the fact it is a technical business. I wanted to be involved with an interesting and challenging Product so joining a growing online gaming business with a strong family ethos was a perfect match for me.
How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
I joined tombola as the first ever Product Manager so I am lucky enough to have seen the department and business grow enormously. The first bingo game I worked on as a PM was pulse, which was a huge learning curve for me but the biggest accomplishment would have to be tombola arcade.
Along with an extremely talented team, I am very fortunate to have been involved in all aspects of arcade from initial concept to launch and ongoing performance. It is very satisfying to be involved from the beginning and watch it grow, we all feel a huge sense of pride in what we do.
Do you think more women should get involved in Tech and why?
Absolutely. Technology is everywhere in every sector so having an understanding of how to utilize built-in device functionality, communication channels and the importance of chat/notification services is an advantage in any industry.
Online gaming is a male dominated industry even though we have a high percentage of female players but I think that is due to the lack of interest from women rather than reluctance from the industry. There are an increasing number of women in senior management positions within technology so opportunity certainly exists
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are stuck on an idea? What does it mean to be a female tech entrepreneur and what challenges do you think women face in the industry?
The reality is technology is everywhere; in our homes, cars, workplace and surrounding our children. Anyone who has an understanding of how/why things work, ways of taking advantage of technology to deliver a product/service to consumers or as a communication tool will have a distinct advantage in whichever career path they chose.
I don’t think there are any more challenges for women then there are for men. Technology is an ever changing environment with new devices, communication tools, changes in user behaviour and technologies i.e. smart TV, wearables, VR to consider and stay up to date with before making a decision if this is something to invest time and resource in.
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