Rising Stars: What happened next for Sonya Barlow

WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their fourth year.

The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions.

Over the year’s, the awards have recognised 400 women across the UK and India.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke with Sonya Barlow, who won a 2017 Rising Star Award in Sales.

Sonya graduated in 2015 from Cass business school and since has been a woman in tech, working for Dunnhumby and Merkle | Aquila.  In both roles, Sonya was tasked with understanding the technological landscape, managing large clients and delivering insights. Whilst at Dunnhumby, Sonya was on the board to set up the [email protected] Forum, and at Aquila sits on the diversity & inclusion pillar. Alongside her day job, Sonya has founded Like Minded Females (May 18), a community for females to feel empowered, connect and share stories. Since May 18, we’ve gained over 1500 members, hosted 13 events and have been shortlisted for two national awards : UK tech business women of the year PWC and Social mobility honour roll 2018.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?

Honestly, over the moon. It was such a celebration and provided reassurance to me, for being me and doing what I was doing. It was a great achievement and stepping stone to bigger things. After going through a period of imposter syndrome, I have found happiness in myself, my character and associated myself with great woman who I aspire to. This has all been due to the fact that winning has given me a self-confidence I lost after graduating and whilst in my first role.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards?

Since winning the Rising Star Award, I cofounded Like Minded Females (May 18), a community for females to feel empowered, connect and share stories. Since launching in May 18, LMF has hosted 13 events (including one in Malaysia), gained over 1500 members and we’ve been shortlisted for UK social mobility awards 2018 and UK Tech business women of the year 18 PWC.  LMF has also grown to a team of 4 very amazing Females volunteering to run this in their own time. In 2019, LMF is branching into three areas : entrepreneurship, tech and creative; for which we will be hosting brunches, workshops and partnered events with companies.

Alongside this, I have been fortunate enough to sit on panels and host diversity conferences, and have just started my own radio show “being bame” , on the womans radio station London.

Going forward, I’d like to be an expert in tech as a women of colour,  become a board member to influence change & diversity, and contribute towards female education.

Co Founder – Like Minded Females

What advice would you give to someone else going through our award’s process?

Don’t be afraid. Enjoy the process, meet some great people and know it’s a great achievement to have even make it this far!

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Network with like-minded females, who are willing to invest their time in your and your future. Do what you love, and if you can’t do that full time, take a leap of faith and start a side hustle!

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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