We spoke to June about women in tech, funding tips during a pandemic, the power of coaching, her podcast and so much more.
On her background and many projects:
June is currently an early stage investor at Samos Investments and is probably best known for starting the child-friendly coding school for mums, 'Mums in Tech'. She is also a mum of three, a model and host of her brilliant podcast 'Believe It, Achieve It'.
You were recently awarded an MBE for your services to women in technology, how did you feel and how did you celebrate this achievement?
It was a total surprise! She just thought "no, it's got to be a joke, there's no way that it's for me!" She explained "I just never in a million years thought that I would get an MBE" - it's not something that even crossed her mind whilst running Mums in Tech. And she celebrated in lockdown with a good takeaway!
What was your motivation behind starting Mums in Tech?
Whilst on maternity leave and having previously worked with many tech founders, she decided that she wanted to try building an app herself. Quickly realising that she didn't know much about the tech side of things, she enrolled onto a few coding courses where she found herself desperately wanting to learn with others. So, she decided to create a space where fellow mums could learn about tech and coding. She describes this as a space where you could "blend family and this desire to learn - you don't have to separate the two, you can bring your baby along and there will be nannies on site."
Do you believe the tech industry has made a significant change in terms of hiring more female candidates?
There has been change in terms of opening up doors to mums, with the government offering retraining programmes to help us navigate our way back into the industry. But for diversity in general, we are not there yet. There is still a lack of female representation at leadership level. She emphasises that we need to make sure those roles are widely distributed to give diverse candidates a better chance of reaching them, through programmes such as YSYS, Ada's List and Girls in Tech.
She notes that until we reach actual diversity in the industry, "it is our responsibility to carry on that conversation."
What advice would you give to young businesses looking for investment during the pandemic?
Use this time to grow your network and really get to know investors. You don't want to take money from just anyone, it's almost like a marriage, so "help your investor get to know you (perhaps through talking to old colleagues), give them more data points to verify you as a back-able person." And get creative with how you pitch your business!
What inspired you to start your podcast 'Believe It, Achieve It'?
"I was chatting to my coach and she said to me, "What is one thing you have always wanted to do but for some reason have put it off?" And for me, that was hosting my own show!" She felt as though she needed to take control of feeling anxious during the pandemic and put that emotion to good use through helping female founders and creating her own podcast.
What is your experience with coaching and do you feel it is essential to have one at some point in your career?
"Coaching has been game-changing for me. I wish I had gotten a coach sooner!" June's coach has provided her with structure and a toolkit of advice which she can dip into, for example, for advice on dealing with public speaking and positive affirmations. She would encourage anyone to get a coach, it has helped her to frame her narrative and own it.
You are an incredibly inspirational woman, where do you find the motivation to be constantly supporting other people?
"My mum and grandma are my role models, I see how much joy they brought into the world just by being who they are." For her, the most important things in life are to help others and bring joy and happiness into the world.
If you could rent someone's wardrobe, dead, alive or fiction, who would it be?
Blake Lively - especially her Gossip Girl wardrobe!