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International Women’s Day 2024: Beverly Bowles, Head of Cyber

For International Women’s Day 2024, we’re featuring some of the hardworking and talented women behind the scenes at ScotlandIS.

Read the below interview to find out more about Beverly Bowles, the Head of our Cyber and IT Managed Services Clusters.

Describe your role at ScotlandIS.

I am the Head of Cyber and project manager for the IT Managed Services Provider project.  My work involves looking for opportunities for cyber service and product companies to establish and develop their business, students to develop their skills and find job opportunities, and to grow the cyber sector within Scotland. I have helped to develop a network with managed service providers across Scotland and together we have created, launched and have over 20 signatories to an ITMSP Best Practice Charter that sets out the standards customers should expect from their provider.  

Can you tell us more about your background and how you ended up in this role?

I was a police officer for 28 years and got involved with the Cyber Crime Harm Prevention team where I worked with public, private and 3rd sector organisations to promote cyber security and online safety.  I was then asked to join the Policing in a Digital World Programme to implement the Police Scotland Cyber Strategy, with a specific focus on working with UK Government to develop the Cyber Prevent Strategy (ensuring Scotland-specific legislation, regulations and practices were included). Upon retiring from the Police, I took up the role of ITMSP Project Lead role within ScotlandIS.

What is the best part about your job in STEM?

The best part of my role is working for an organisation that has developed an incredible network and is focused on doing the best for all of the people and organisations involved in tech in Scotland. The range of projects and initiatives we are involved with is really exciting and inspiring, and it has really pushed me to use my experience and learn new skills to deliver on my own programmes. 

What has been your experience as a Woman in STEM?

My experience in STEM has been mixed. I have experienced sexism, misogyny and being ignored, in spite of my knowledge and experience, but I have also had incredible opportunities and met amazing people that have helped me to learn and grow. My current role is the most fulfilling job that I have had as a Woman in STEM, where I feel supported and encouraged and able to be proactive and creative for the benefit of the Scottish Tech Sector.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see in the sector for diversity?

I see a few big challenges: lack of representation in leadership and decision making roles can make it difficult to see where there are opportunities for you in the workplace; retaining skilled staff when there are better opportunities in other organisations or in a different country; lack of mentorship to help build confidence and understanding of your role and building a supportive network where you feel part of the tech community Scotland. Although we do have an established tech ecosystem in Scotland, we need to have a more joined up effort to understand and map all of the elements within it from education and recruitment through to research, development and funding.  A holistic view would bring greater opportunities, and help policy development and investment in key areas. 

Why do you think it’s important that we have greater gender diversity?

Diversity is key to bringing a variety of perspectives, ideas and experiences together which can foster and promote innovation and creativity. Organisations with a diverse workforce can better understand and adapt to the needs of their employees and customers, with more inclusive products and services.   

Is there a Woman in STEM that is an inspirational or influential figure to you?

My inspirational figure is Maggie Titmuss.   

She has had a remarkable career in law enforcement and industry, and is now using her experience and influence as part of NCRAB and in support of those who are new to the tech sector. Her network and influence is aspirational. 

Fun Facts

Guilty Pleasure

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Secret Talent

I’m a great cook!

First Ever Concert

The Stranglers in Livingstone… (it was actually Aha at The Playhouse)

Favourite Place You’ve Been

Been to a lot of places I’ve loved – anywhere near water

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