Boardroom Insight: Joining a Tech Company Board

WiTT has partnered with Women on Boards to provide our members with an opportunity to learn about opportunities to serve on boards in the tech sector. Our experienced speakers will provide in-depth insights into how companies recruit for board members; what it’s like to serve on the boards of start-ups and publicly-traded corporates (and the differences between these types of boards); what executive search firms look for when recruiting non-executive directors; and how you can get on the radar of companies seeking new board members.

Rowena Ironside, Co-founder, NED and past Chair of Women on Boards and Chair of PSPA will moderate the panel discussion. Our speakers will be:

  • Jacqui Ferguson, Portfolio Non Exec Director, Chair & Advisor, Former CEO
  • Mary Lawrence, Founder / Director, Cariance Executive Search & Consulting
  • Cynthia Nadal, FinTech Investor, Board Member, Tech Ventures Builder & Mentor, JEDI Committee Member

The evening will run as follows:

5:00-5:10 Welcome and introductions

5:10-6:00 Discussion

6:00-6:30 Networking in breakout rooms

This event is free to attend for members of WiTT or WoB; there will be a £10 fee for non-members. To register, please use this link:

We hope you’ll join us in September!

Best wishes,

The WiTT Board

Annette, Audrey, Helen, Michelle, Stephanie, and Yasmeen

Our Speakers

Rowena Ironside, Co-founder, NED and past Chair of Women on Boards and Chair of PSPA

Rowena is a founding director of Women on Boards in the UK. She spent 25 years as an executive in the ICT sector, starting out writing software in Australia; building an IT services business in London; and running international services businesses in the software and hosting industries. Rowena has been a non-executive member of boards in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors since 2006. She was executive Chair of Women on Boards in the UK from its launch in 2012 until October 2020 and currently also sits on the boards of the Digital Catapult and the Steering Committee of The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute.


Jacqui Ferguson, Portfolio Non Exec Director, Chair & Advisor, Former CEO

Jacqui Ferguson is an experienced portfolio chair/non-executive Director in multiple industries and a former CEO from the technology industry. She has extensive global experience including living and working in Silicon Valley.

Jacqui is Chair Remco/NED at Wood PLC (FTSE 250 global engineering services), NED at Tesco Bank (retail banking and insurance subsidiary of FTSE 100 Tesco Plc) and Croda PLC (FTSE 100 speciality ingredients). Jacqui is Deputy Chair of Engineering UK, a not-for-profit focussed on inspiring young people from all kinds of backgrounds into Engineering and Technology careers. Jacqui is also a business advisor to Engie UK (global energy and services). In 2018 she won the Sunday Times NED to watch award in honour of Dame Helen Alexander.

She is founding member of the Scottish First Ministers Advisory Board for Women and Girls aimed at improving Gender Equality, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and an inaugural mentor in the Scottish Women’s Mentoring scheme.

Jacqui formerly chaired the public services strategy board for the Confederation of Business and Industry and was a board member of the Tech Partnership, the UK industry body aimed at improving UK technology skills.
Jacqui is passionate about what technology can enable, getting young people from all backgrounds interested in STEM, advancing more women into executive careers and progressing gender equality.


Mary Lawrence, Founder / Director, Cariance Executive Search & Consulting

Mary started her career as VP Marketing for Silicon Valley based ATI where she focused on laser technology and networking. This was followed by progression in marketing management (semiconductors, consumer electronics and distribution) within Philips Electronics in Europe. She then gained consulting experience with PA Consulting Group in London.

Moving into executive search, Mary joined the Technology and Professional Services Practice of Heidrick and Struggles, where she was responsible for their largest UK client. Her next role was Global Head of Technology for the Paris based Alexander Hughes Group where she created a technology practice from scratch and then led it across 31 countries. Prior to founding Cariance, Mary was International Head of Technology and Professional Services for Penna Plc.

A Graduate of London University, Mary studied Economics, Psychology and Statistics at The London School of Economics. She was one of a small number of senior head-hunters chosen by the Government to contribute to the Davies Review into Women on Boards.

With exposure to most segments of the technology sector, Mary has specific expertise in emerging technologies/science & innovation, security, space, and healthcare. She has also worked in the energy and transport sectors, as well as on high profile Government PPP projects and privatisations.


Cynthia Nadal, FinTech Investor, Board Member, Tech Ventures Builder & Mentor, JEDI Committee Member

Cynthia Nadal is a 15+ years tech veteran who has mostly been based in NY and London, but has also worked in Germany, Netherlands, India and France. She has spent 11+ years as an operator at fintech unicorn Markit (now IHS Markit) where she learned the good, the bad and the ugly of product development, growth and corporate innovation from a 12 people office in NY all the way to IPO on the NASDAQ (INFO) in 2014 and then the merger with IHS in 2016 – They are now worth $30bn+ and have announced a merger with S&P.

In 2016, Cynthia started being more active on the early stage tech scene as a mentor and angel, before being hired at King’s College as Investor-in-Residence and then joining Founders Factory as Managing Director – Head of FinTech, in charge on Fintech investments in the studio and the accelerator. Cynthia has had exposure to different sectors including FinTech, InsurTech, EdTech, HealthTech, LegalTech, SpaceTech, CyberTech.

As a strong ecosystem contributor, closely working with tech startups, Cynthia has been a mentor for Techstars, Imperial College London, King’s College’s Accelerator, and Village Capital and she currently sits on 3 different boards as a Non-Executive Director and active board member.

Cynthia has been a strong advocate for female founders: mentoring female entrepreneurs at VC Office Hours, being on the screening committee of Angel Academe, advising different networks in that space, as well as supporting professional women becoming business angels in tech. In 2018, she was nominated for “best female angel led investment” by the UK ABB and made the top 20 UK female angels list in 2020.

Her passion for the Tech European ecosystem does not stop with startups, Cynthia was invited in 2018 to join the board of JEDI – the European Moonshot Factory (modeled on DARPA), and she has been part of several European delegations representing European Innovation in the US.
Cynthia holds a Master of Science in Finance, a MBA and is also a Stanford alumna.