An inspirational mum-of-two from East Lancashire has been shortlisted for the top 100 women in tech awards.

Gillian Elliott-Hardman from Foulridge, Colne, has made it to the final 200 women in this year's We Are Tech Women top 100 list.

The 45-year-old, who works for NHS Digital, was nominated by her work colleagues and hand picked from thousands of other women for her inspirational background, and hard work during the pandemic.

And now, she wants to inspire other women and young girls to take up careers in tech.

Mrs Elliott-Hardman said: "I was brought up on a council estate where I was one of six children and the eldest girl.

"I was the only one of us who went to university and was one of only three girls on my degree course.

"I graduated with a BSc in business computing and followed this up with a postgraduate degree in teaching and spent several years as an IT tutor, teaching IT literacy skills to young adults at Burnley College and then moved to a career in IT service management.

"My mother died suddenly when I was 27, which left me absolutely devastated.

"But while on bereavement leave, I was called in and told that I must return to work."

Mrs Elliott-Hardman said she wasn’t given any support during this difficult period, and with her work declining she found herself demoted.

Her demotion proved to be the turning point though, and within a few months she had left the job and embarked on a number of IT service management roles where she was given invaluable guidance and leadership.

She said: "Ever since, I have used this experience as the blueprint for the type of leader I want to be.

"I joined NHS Digital just over six years ago as a senior IT service manager, but when the pandemic hit, the data operations team were immediately thrust into a change of direction from focussing solely on the support of secondary usage data, to flowing data direct to services that are integral to patient care.

"The last 12 months have seen me promoted to the service lead position, where I’ve taken a more strategic role, supporting all the systems that look after the Covid data - so I've worked some serious hours.

"I'm really proud to be shortlisted as I got through thousands of nominations, and there's some big city slickers from some big businesses in this last 200, so to get this far is brilliant.

"Tech is a really hard, and as a woman you doubt yourself sometimes. There's a really unbalanced ratio of men to women, but if I make it into the top 100, then it will show that it doesn't matter what your background is, or where you're from, it just shows that if you work hard enough it pays off.

"And if I can do it then anyone can do it."

The winners will be announced on November 15, with a virtual celebration on December 8.

For the full shortlist visit:

Lancashire Telegraph: