Happy International Women’s Day!

Graphic of various women holding banner with the text "International Woman's Day"

Today, we are celebrating International Women’s Day 2021. Moreover, we are celebrating women for their achievements and contributions to society, culture, economics and politics. Additionally, this day aims to raise awareness of the need for equal treatment of all genders, including gender-diverse and non-binary identities.

For 2021, the theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge. This brings forth the idea that “a challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change”.

The incentive to choose to challenge encourages all voices to stand up and challenge gender bias and inequality. In doing so, we strive to collectively create and represent a more inclusive world.

The Challenge for Women in STEM

Making up just 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math, women in STEM are faced with a stark gender imbalance that can perpetuate pre-existing gender biases and inequality challenges to their work and opportunities. (Source: UNESCO UIS )

We believe that perpetuating and encouraging a sense of inclusiveness and equality within the workplace is fundamental to securing an environment where women’s careers can thrive and achievements are celebrated.

At Brickfield, women make up 50% of our full time staff. Today, on International Women’s Day 2021, we celebrate our wonderful team members Karen Holland and Renée Mackey. Karen, our lead co-founder, has degrees in History from TCD, Multimedia (PDip) from Blackrock FEI (ICM), Computer Science from UCD and 20 years of development experience. Renée is our Marketing Executive and is a recent graduate of B.A. Communication Studies at Dublin City University.

International Women's Day 2021

Karen Holland - Chief Product Officer

Tell us about yourself

“As a co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Brickfield Education Labs, I am fortunate to have my dream job of “humanizing” technology, in UXD (User Experience Design) terms. I get to design and build educational technology with the goal of meeting, or even surpassing, the needs of its users, whoever they might be. Inclusive design allows everyone to engage, no matter their background, gender, ethnicity or disabilities. Access to education allows everyone to challenge themselves, to understand better, and to more constructively challenge the status quo and tackle the problems of this world.

I would also like to credit the diversity, team-work and collaboration of open-source technology, especially Moodle as the world’s largest open source educational management system, encouraging everyone to contribute and add their own perspective to the end result. Having transparent, constructive and challenging peer-reviewing as a life-long iterative process builds resilient, reliable, solutions which benefit all.”

– Karen Holland, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer for Brickfield Education Labs. 

photograph of Karen Holland

Leading Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer 

Have you faced any barriers being a woman in your field? How did you overcome them?

“I have experienced in the past a lack of flexibility or openness to differing viewpoints, which has adversely affected product quality and effectiveness. Speak up even if you lose the arguement! In having differing opinions respectfully challenged, there is the potential for greater foresight in discovering new directions, anticipating issues and resolving them earlier.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in your field?

First of all, technology and education are wonderful, inspiring, and innovative industries to be part of, where you can really make an impact. What I have found to be really great and simple advice is “Say Yes” – to new projects and new learning opportunities available to you, even if you don’t feel fully skilled for them yet! Why? Because they will challenge you to develop and grow and seek out support within your career or industry.

In your opinion, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?

“We can all make a difference by choosing to challenge. Call out disrespectful opinions which discourage openness and inclusion. Diversity and challenging the status quo leads to more thought-out and tested solutions, in technology and beyond. Be role models for one another. In the words of Michelle Obama, “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in peoples’ lives”.”

Renée Mackey​ - Marketing Executive

Tell us about yourself

“As Marketing Executive of Brickfield Education Labs, I am delighted to have secured the role I dreamed of in college. I began working as a marketing assistant for Brickfield while completing my final year of Communication Studies in Dublin City University. This was a valuable experience which jump-started my career in digital marketing. Since graduating, I am thrilled to have advanced into a full time role as marketing executive for Brickfield, alongside helping organise and promote the UK & Ireland Moodlemoot, a 3-day conference focusing on the delivery of online learning through Moodle. 

From a young age, I always had a flair for communications and digital media, and a passion for seeing a brand come to life! At just 22 years old, I am fortunate to be in a position where I can be a central part of this, and have the opportunity to add my own voice to this company. With half of my family living in the US, I am grateful that I am not limited to one place, and have the opportunity to work remotely, wherever that may be!

Working for a start-up, I have the challenge of building a brand from the ground up! I am proud to promote a company whose values are in line with my own, knowing that the information and resources I put out to the world promote accessibility and inclusion for all, no matter your circumstances. I would love to someday host workshops focusing on accessibility and inclusion in digital marketing!”

– Renée Mackey, Marketing Executive for Brickfield Education Labs .

Photograph of Renee Mackey

Marketing Executive

Have you faced any barriers being a woman in your field? How did you overcome them?

“The business world is traditionally a very male-driven environment, and entering the field as a young female can be intimidating. Pushing past these gender stereotypes is a barrier in itself. I have done so by fully believing in myself, challenging gender inequalities, and being empowered from the inspiring women around me. Believing that our society is continuously evolving and that the traditional ways of thinking are fading as we filter through the generations.”

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in your field?

” I would strongly encourage any woman or female out there to follow their dreams and passions. Our society is constantly evolving and improving, with determination and a little bit of hard work, anything is possible ;).”

In your opinion, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?

“I think the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day shows how the actions of individuals impact our society. The theme #ChooseToChallenge encourages the importance of speaking up against gender bias and inequality. I think choosing to challenge inequality and broadening our minds to challenge gender bias beyond cis men and women will have the biggest impact on society going forward!”

Celebrating International Women's Day - More Women on our Team!

Photo of Holly Lynn

Holly Lynn

Marketing Assistant

Photograph of Laia Joana Canet

Laia Joana Canet

Instructional Design