Apps for Good’s commitment to gender diversity. It’s so important to get girls excited about tech.”
Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, Sian Allsopp has been an advocate for Apps for Good for four years, she talks to us about why our commitment to gender diversity and social mobility is so important to solving important issues and how year on year the solutions that our young people come up with blow her away.
How do you work with Apps for Good?
I am an Executive Director for Morgan Stanley, where I manage the Infrastructure Change team. The firm is hugely committed to ‘giving back’, as one of our core values; We are involved with a number of different technology education partners and schools both UK wide and in Tower Hamlets specifically. I really enjoy having the opportunity to share technology education volunteering opportunities with my fellow technologist colleagues. I’ve also been involved in the Apps for Good Awards both as a shortlister and as a “Dragon” giving feedback and support to the students who have submitted their ideas.
How long have you been involved with Apps for Good?
I’ve been involved for over four years, in some form or another.
What makes you want to advocate for Apps for Good?
There are three main reasons for me;
1) Apps for Good’s commitment to gender diversity: it’s so important to get girls excited about tech and show them a holistic view of what a career or role in tech might look like. It’s great to show that there’s much more to it than coding; it’s about understanding your clients’ and stakeholders’ needs, competitor analysis, working out problems and finding solutions.
2) Social mobility is also incredibly important to me, driving opportunities to those who may not otherwise have them. Young people from all different backgrounds can be outstanding innovators and technologists, they just need the opportunity and exposure. If we don’t unlock this, we are all poorer for it.
3) With these two points in mind, we feel like it’s our responsibility to help the next generation, enable opportunities and to seek to level the playing field for them. We should give them access to knowledge and contacts that they might not ordinarily have and expose talents that they possibly may not know they had.
What do you think the students like best about taking part in Apps for Good?
There are so many things that the students get out of their Apps for Good experience, but one thing that, personally feels truly unique is the opportunity to be heard by adults; adults that want to hear their views, speak to them as equals and who may have different experiences and ideas from other adults that they interact with day-to-day. The interactions they have lead to increased confidence in these young people and an approach to problem-solving which always blow us away.
What impact has it had on your work?
The way that young people approach finding solutions to problems is such a great example of why having a diversity of perspectives is important. It helps me to think about why we’re building a product or a solution and dig even deeper into who might be using it, how and why – have we considered all the angles? There is a group of young people that always stands out in my mind, they had designed an app to spot allergens in supermarket products so that parents felt more comfortable inviting their highly allergic friend over for playdates. Parents were previously working around the problem by excluding the boy, but the young innovators found a better and more inclusive solution.
We are celebrating a decade of Apps for Good, if you enjoyed this we have lots more for you to explore on our 10 years page, and here on our blog.