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Inspiring Connections during the “Women at MathWorks” Breakfast Mixer

This is a guest post to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day on June 23rd. Written by Alexandra Martinez Rodriguez, Senior UX Researcher, MathWorks and Ruth Faherty, Advanced Support Engineer, MathWorks.

This May, the Women's Affinity Group at MathWorks - Northern Europe chapter hosted a breakfast mixer that served as a platform for empowerment, networking, and insightful discussions within the tech community. The affinity group aims to promote a diverse and inclusive environment to nurture the growth and development of Women at MathWorks, enable a sense of belonging, and recognize the importance of intersectionality, global communities, allyship, and transparency. Specifically, we help building a community and foster networking and relationship-building across our membership.

Attendees to this Breakfast Mixer event comprised of members and allies from the Women at MathWorks Affinity group, based in Cambridge, as well as staff from Roku and Featurespace. The event started with a networking breakfast, followed by a panel discussion on how women can support other women in their organisations and networks, and concluded with an opportunity for further networking.

Attendees networking and drinking coffee

The day kicked off with an atmosphere brimming with enthusiasm. As attendees arrived, they were greeted with a spread of breakfast options and refreshments, setting a casual and inviting tone for the event.

Attendees networking and eating breakfast

At the beginning of the event, participants started to congregate around the various coffee machines. This was a wonderful opportunity to initiate conversations with members from different companies. In between exchanges of laughter and discussions, we delved into topics such as the representation of women within our respective companies and teams, future opportunities, and how events like this foster a supportive environment. We even shared tips on how to brew a better cup of coffee using the machines at hand! These interactions helped break the ice and paved the way to getting to know each other.
After everyone filled their plates, poured their coffee, and had a chat, we had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion about how women and allies can support other women within their organizations and networks. We touched on mentorship, career development, and overcoming challenges. Moderated by Janet Macmillan (MathWorks), the panel featured Deborah Ferreira (MathWorks), Denise Cannadine (Roku), and Melina Jonkisz (Featurespace), offering perspectives from their varied roles and experiences across the three companies.

Panelists left to right: Deborah Ferreira (MathWorks), Melina Jonkisz (Featurespace), Denise Cannadine (Roku), Janet Macmillan (MathWorks)

A key takeaway from the discussion was the agreement on the importance of mentorship in shaping careers. Whether through formal schemes, like the pilot program at MathWorks, or more informal arrangements, the panelists all reflected that having a mentor had been an essential element in their professional growth. The conversation also touched upon the significance of self-belief and putting yourself forward for new opportunities. Panelists shared insights into how women can support each other in professional settings, emphasizing the impact of encouragement and representation to create a supportive community.

Attendees listening to the panel discussion

The event concluded with more networking, allowing participants to reflect on the insights shared and discuss their experiences. This gathering was not just an opportunity to form new connections but also a moment to learn from one another. We hope this is the first of many similar events!

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