Kanika Selvan Speaks


At MTF we believe now is a groundbreaking moment in the tech industry, where strides towards inclusivity and diversity take center stage. This year marks the inception of our new Women in Tech Conference, celebrating the pivotal role women play in shaping the future of technology. In anticipation, we sat down with the awesome Kanika Selvan to get the lowdown on her tech journey and why she’s involved in organising the conference.

How did you venture into a career in tech?

I got into tech through transformational change. I worked in Projects, often coordinating people and communications or ‘change management’. When I left a job as a change and readiness manager, I had nothing lined up and called all my friends to see if they had anything available. When a friend suggested that I apply for a job managing developers, I didn’t think I was technical enough for it. But when I got the job, I realised that the tech scene was my natural home. It was one of the best roles I’ve ever had and it all got more exciting from there.

What are your proudest moments in your career?

When I have grown and developed other women. I have worked with a lot of women who have worked in environments where their potential wasnt seen. I love the process of having faith in people and giving constructive feedback and seeing where they take it. The opportunities in tech are vast, so its great to see the careers and lives that tech women create when they believe in themselves. Sometimes that starts with someone believing in you.

As a woman in tech, what would you say the biggest challenges you have faced are?

Loneliness. I am often the only women in the tech area where I work, I often have a different style as a leader and I know that my voice and the perception of my professional self has to be more crafted than my male colleagues. The biggest challenges are both being underestimated from a technical perspective, but also navigating the various different swaths of feedback and judgement that comes to us as women at work. Often the biggest challenge is working out who to listen to, deciding when something isn’t for me and holding onto my own value/ worth, when others don’t.

What do you now know as a woman in tech that you wish you had known at the start of your career?

I wish that someone had told me that tech isnt actually that mystical. Everything can be broken down, everything can be learned, but not everything does need to be in your head at one time. The tech scene is vast and the key thing is building teams of people with the right skills, that you trust and asking yourselves hard questions to test your thinking. Nobody is actually a guru of it all.

Where have you found the most support as a woman in tech?

Unusually, I often find support in weird and wonderful places. I have had some brilliant coaches who have helped me to think differently. I have also had some great female champions, sometimes outside of my own workplace or people that I have met at events. But primarily I would say that the support of the MTF community has been one of the most values driven and collaborative that I have ever experienced as a woman in tech

Have you had any setbacks and how did you overcome these?

Loads and Loads! I often think setbacks are the thing that tell you more what you want. I have had workplace bullying, I have taken on new roles that were not what they seemed, I have delivered tech in environments that were really challenging and unhealthy, I have worked for bosses that were horrible to work for and I have had parts of my role given away to men who ‘looked the part’ but essentially presented my work.

When thinking about overcoming them, I have gotten better at choosing the organisations that I want to work with or for. I have build a career that is more intentional, through specialising in sectors that align with my values. I have a network of people that I sense check and discuss challenges with, so that I can make more healthy decisions about whats good for both career and my wellbeing.

Why did you get involved with Women In Tech [Unfiltered]?

I am involved in WIT because I cannot see a future for good tech products and services, if there is not a revolution in our tech industry. There needs to be more women, more intersectionality and the most powerful thing we can do to make this happen, is come together and have the courageous discussion. I am really excited to feel the energy in the room and see how we can change the manchester tech scene for the better.

Want to find out more about Women in Tech and our upcoming conference? Checkout our WIT [Unfiltered] page here

Kanika Selvan

Change Consultant & Managing Director at Beetroot Consulting