Women in Tech interview Hannah from Fusion
Meet Hannah Mitchell, Founder of Birmingham tech group, Fusion, who shares her thoughts on the tech community in Birmingham, her advice for anyone looking to start their career in tech, and much more!
Hi Hannah and thanks for chatting to us! To quick off, what do you do and what does a typical working day look like for you?
I am one of the Co-Founders of the Fusion Group. We are a community focused company with the sole aim of creating opportunities for self improvement and growth. I do this by finding people new roles that match their goals and aims, as well as organising Fusion Meetup and specific workshops to create new learning opportunities. So day to day for me can be really varied, but I’m lucky enough to feel so passionately about what I do.
I get a lot of joy from educating and coaching people on how to create a positive work culture and environment. We spend so much of our lives at work, we should be prioritising making that as rewarding and as enjoyable as we can. There are so many stats out there to show the impact of having a happy, supportive, collaborative work culture on both employee and business productivity, and growth and retention. It’s a no brainer, and I’ll continue to shout about it from the rooftops! 😊
What is your favourite thing about working in the tech sector?
I find technology fascinating, it’s hard not to!
The rate at which technology is moving is incredible, and the amazing things that have been achieved and created using technology have changed and shaped the world we live in today. It is so rewarding to be working with people whose work is having a positive effect on peoples’ lives daily, whether that be in medical advances through technology, access to education and even making day to day tasks easier.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some super talented people who I have learnt so much from and have supported me so much with Fusion Meetup. We have a great tech community here in Birmingham, it is something I’m so proud to be a part of.
You mentioned you’re passionate about creating a positive work environment. What would be your advice to either employees or employers on how to make changes towards this? a positive work culture?
First of all, and probably one of the easiest things to implement is recognition. Make recognition a priority, as employees, as employers, and business owners. This doesn’t need to be a grand gesture or gold trophy presentation ceremony, just a quick email or shout out to say ‘Thanks for your input today, you’ve made a positive impact and the work you’ve done has been great.’ A little goes a long way. Try to think how you felt when someone said you’d done a job, and when the last time someone said it to you!
Make the most of 1:1’s! This shouldn’t be a box ticking exercise! If you’re a team member then make sure to set your own agenda. And if you’re a team leader, encourage the team to decide on what areas they would like to discuss before the 1:1 happens. They may all have different topics of importance, but allow this to happen, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Finally I feel we need to educate ourselves better on how we can support neurodiverse individuals in the workplace. There’s a huge pool of super talented people out there and we as a society need to improve our awareness and understanding to create more inclusive work environments. I personally plan on taking a course in this topic because I think it’s a really important step to creating more positive workplaces.
What would 12 year old you think about your career today?
I wanted to be a paramedic for so long, as long as I can remember, so I’ve taken a very different path! I’ve always loved working with people and in my role I get to work with people in different capacities, whether that’s helping someone write their first CV or prepare for an interview, to supporting businesses on how to build happy, productive teams, all the way to working closely with the tech community and other meetup organisers to create something awesome here in Birmingham.
I think 12 year old me wouldn’t have expected to take this path, but would love the variety and meeting so many incredible, inspiring people.
As another Meetup organiser and someone who is well ingrained in the Birmingham tech community - how would you describe it to someone who has never dipped their toe in before?
It’s a really exciting time for the Birmingham Tech Community, because we are starting to see the tech meetups work closely together and the creation of TechMids has really helped facilitate that.
The Birmingham Tech community is inclusive and vibrant. There are so many amazing like minded individuals to meet. I get that going to these events can sometimes feel daunting, so look at the smaller group first and start from there.
You will make new friends as well as having access to support and advice for all things tech related. People have found new opportunities through the tech community and with the amount of incredible speakers we have joining these events, you are sure to learn something new that could spark a new found interest in your own personal journey with tech.
The Tech Community and Meetups strive to create a safe space for minority groups and encourage and welcome diversity! Let’s face it, diversity is a superpower and the more people we have from different walks of life the better our community will be.
We have seen a positive shift in the demographic of our meetups over the last five years and it’s been so nice to see.
What would your top tips be for someone looking to start a career in tech?
Attend local technology meetups and chat to the meetup organisers! They will introduce you to some great people who may soon become mentors, peers and give you some real tips on what to do to get started. One of your first stops should absolutely be Codebar Birmingham – it’s really relaxed, super friendly and a great place to get started. What I love about this meetup is that it’s inclusive with a focus on bridging the diversity gap in tech – although everyone is welcome!
More generally, for anyone looking at any career - be authentic! Recruiters tend not to be well liked (we’re not all bad!), so sometimes it’s hard to get people to take advice without feeling like they are being sold too! I think the only thing I’ve managed to do to combat that, is to be as authentic as possible. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I’ve always been an honest, open person. I think showing vulnerability is a good thing, and we should all do more of it. It’s what makes us human.