Skip to content

11 March 2024

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 at Hippo


With International Women’s Day 2024 marked on Friday 8th of March, we spent the week building up by celebrating with a series of initiatives and activities. Here’s a recap of what’s been going on at Hippo to recognise the day and this year’s theme of “Invest in Women. Accelerate Growth.” 

Female role models in the workplace

We spoke to Lara Longhurst, Chief Operating Officer at Hippo about the importance of female role models in the workplace. 

“I think in general there’s probably more demand for more women to be mentors to other people and make sure they’re visible.”

Mentoring is all about investing in people, reducing barriers and allowing Hippos to realise their full potential. We are lucky to have a strong cohort of female leaders at Hippo for our herd to learn from.


Lunch and Learn with Hippo’s female leaders

The Hippo team also gathered for a Lunch and Learn session featuring three amazing female leaders. Liz Whitefield, Lara Longhurst and Jennifer Adams answered questions set by Steph Varley (DI&B and Responsible Business Advisor) and the Hippo Herd in a session titled “Female Leadership in the Tech Sector: IWD2024”.

Ahead of the session, we asked our female Hippos for tips that could help women entering or navigating careers in the technology sector. We got a range of incredibly useful insights and we are pleased to share these with you.

“Just really be open and honest with people about what you actually want to achieve. Don’t assume that people will know what you want out of your career. Make sure you actually vocalise it.” – Lara Longhurst, Chief Operating Officer

“Seek out champions and mentors, people who really believe in and support you. It’s really important to know you’re not on this path alone.” – Zoe Slater, UX Designer

“Don’t write yourself off if you’re late into tech and it’s a second career, I found tons of transferable skills from a squiggly career that have helped me in tech.” – Karen Craddock, Head of Product

“Everyone started as a beginner and being in tech is a journey of continuous learning. Ask any question even if you think they are silly, it’s more likely that someone else wants to ask the same thing.” – Tina Gohil, Test Engineer

“Believe in yourself. Go with your gut and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Absorb everything!” – Polly Horn, Senior Business Analyst

“I’ve spent my career asking the ‘daft questions’. If you don’t think like the rest of the group, this is NOT a weakness. You can bring something different, something more to the table.” – Jen Adams, Chief Marketing Officer 

Thanking the women who in invested in our Hippos

On International Women’s Day 2024, we also took the chance to thank female leaders that have lifted up various Hippos throughout their careers. We invited the Herd to tell us about the women who made a significant contribution to their professional or personal lives, whether they are colleagues, friends or family members. 

I want to thank… Al Mathers

“She cared so deeply about the work, about having the right people and the right skills, was welcoming to new ideas from everyone within the team and got us working in a joined up way. She was also the most unapologetically authentic leader I have ever met, always standing by her principles.” – Stephanie Vincent, Lead Data Analytics Consultant

I want to thank…Tanja Lichtensteiger

“She made sure to surround herself with people who knew more than her, and was very open about it – we sank or swam as a team, so why not surround yourself with brilliant swimmers? She was eager to fail fast, absorb responsibility as a team when things went wrong, and drive a sense of overcoming obstacles together.” – Stuart Foulds-Duncan, Technical Architect

I want to thank… Hollie Betts

“One of the most influential people in my career has to be a previous manager, Hollie Betts. She gave me all the support I needed to kick start my career as a designer, and was always very down to earth, handling situations with a lot of care. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her!” – Josh Slater, Senior UX Consultant

I want to thank…Jodi Benson and Yulia Core

“These two previous line managers backed me from day one of my journey, gave advice and support when needed, backed me in career discussions, were there for me as friends

to provide the push and the tough love I needed to move on to the next chapter of my life.

Jodi is also partially to thank for my fitness related exploits, all in all I wouldn’t be where I am without them and I’ll be eternally grateful I met them.” – Karen Craddock Head of Product

I want to thank… Margaret Gibson

“In my early career I worked in a charity that had strong female leadership. In particular, Margaret Gibson. She really took time to steer me in a positive direction even tho she wasn’t my line manager. I felt a little lost, incapable and introspective

but Margaret was and is the kind of person that raises your horizon. I’ll always be grateful to her.” – Alasdair Currie Marketing Operations

Investing in women is a year-round effort. Promoting workplace practice, policy and culture

are all important to that. It’s great to take a moment to recognise the important contribution that female leaders have made, but the work continues.

WILD and Hippo: Future Voices

Looking ahead to later in March, we’re delighted to be partnering with the Leeds-based community-led initiative WILD Digital, whose focus is on creating and highlighting activities that encourage minority groups to consider choosing a career in digital. Gathering at the end of Women’s History Month, the event will bring future leaders, innovators, and role models to the stage for lightning talks around inclusion at the Hippo Campus event space at our Leeds Aireside House offices.

The WILD & Hippo: Future Voices event on Thursday 28th March will be a great opportunity to support our speakers, celebrate the astounding talent in the Leeds tech ecosystem, and network with like-minded others as we raise a glass or two to International Women’s Day.