Mission Moments: Empowering Leadership with WWCode Belfast Director Chloe Thompson

Mission Moments: Empowering Leadership with WWCode Belfast Director Chloe Thompson

Written by Women Who Code HQ

Mission Moment

Chloe is a Data Scientist at The Lego Group in London within their Demand Forecasting Product. She has a Master’s degree in Software and Electronic Systems Engineering from Queen’s University Belfast and is passionate about all things AI/ML and data-related. Chloe has a range of experience within the industry and loves sharing her knowledge through meetups and public speaking. She has always been an active member of the tech community, volunteering for many organisations, including Women Who Code. After discovering WWCode, Chloe became a member of the Belfast network six years ago, supporting and attending events, and has since become a Director for the Network.

1.  Outside of the WWCode Belfast Network, which WWCode Networks or Technical Tracks are you involved with?

During and since covid times, I have been a member of the Data Science track where I have attended some of their online events and been in a winning team for their ‘Mission Predictable’ Hackathon in 2020. Since moving to London, I have also become a member of WWCode London. 

2. Share how your involvement with WWCode has shaped your professional journey. 

WWCode was one of the first tech community groups that I discovered as a university student over 5 years ago. The Belfast events were a perfect opportunity for me to meet women to aspire to and connect with local companies. Our community is one of the ways I have met so many amazing women that I am still such great friends with today. Speaking and attending WWCode events boosted my public profile and I believe this has contributed to how I have found many professional opportunities. All of the opportunities to be involved in the Belfast Network and other community groups over the years has eventually led to me becoming a Director and being able to give back to the community that mentored me.   

3. What WWCode programs/initiatives have empowered you? 

It is not the most glamorous program or initiative that has influenced me but more the power of our community. WWCode Belfast was a pioneer in the global network for an initiative called Bytes n’ Brew, a networking coffee morning that brings the community together. This has been one of the ways I have met many of the women and allies that I would consider unofficial mentors today. Since we took this event online, we have gained a more global attendance and this brings a diversity in perspectives and experiences to our discussions. The people I have added to my network through Bytes n Brew, are the people that have offered up their advice, experiences, and time throughout my professional journey, which has helped me forge my professional career path and grow as a leader in the community. 

One of the more unique opportunities I had through WWCode was the Data Science Track Mission Predictable Hackathon in 2020. Not only did this hackathon connect us with women around the globe but also prominent companies that were interested in backing our idea into a funded start-up. While this isn’t the route we took as a team, the experience introduced me to the world of start-ups and the understanding of what that route could look like as a career path. 

4. How has being a WWCode Network Director made you a better leader? Do you apply the skills you learned as a director to your professional career?

Being a Director has given me an opportunity to apply the leadership skills that I have acquired over many years but also challenges me to constantly improve. It has developed how I interact, understand, and communicate with all of the volunteers in our team, which in turn are all skills I use every day in my professional life. As a leader, one of the most valuable skills I have (and still work on) is listening. It is my job as a Director to listen, enable and support the team to follow through on their ideas or absorb their feedback. While it seems like a ‘simple’ skill, developing this has a multitude of benefits when working in a professional environment, especially when communicating with a team or stakeholders in the business. 

In tandem to this I constantly work on my communication skills, ensuring that as a Director I am open and honest with my team. Being a leader is about trust and by developing my communication skills as a Director and in my professional career, my teams are more aware enabling them to understand my input or decisions. Growing as a leader is never a finished task and the WWCode Leadership Summits are a great way for me to constantly evaluate my growth and connect with other Directors.

5. How have the month and quarterly leadership training been impactful in your career journey?

As a relatively new Director for WWCode, the leadership training and summits are a great way for me to uncover areas for improvement or new perspectives on challenges I may be facing. With the training often being centred around a certain topic or theme, it allows me to focus on a new area of leadership that I may not have been aware of before. One of the most recent topics I found insightful was the stages of growth that a team goes through. Not only was I able to relate this to our own Belfast Network team but also the team in my professional life. The learnings from these sessions are applicable to every aspect in which I have the chance to lead and give me the opportunity to reflect on myself as a leader on a regular basis.