Launching and Running an Advocacy Group

Panel discussion from the Finding Ada Conference 2020.


Why create a women’s equality advocacy group? What challenges do founders face? And what are their goals for their organisations? We also talked about using social media to grow communities, different financial models for community organising, fundraising, and the difference between grassroots advocacy and business-backed groups.


  • Suw Charman-Anderson, founder of Finding
  • Vanessa Vallely OBE, founder of WeAreTechWomen
  • Elisabeth Holm, founder of Sisterhood of Native American Coders
  • April Moh, executive sponsor of SUSE’s Women in Tech Network

About our speakers

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-AndersonSuw Charman-Anderson is the founder of which inspires and supports women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) with three major projects: Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women’s achievements in STEM; the Finding Ada Conference, an online event covering careers, equality, and widening participation; and the Finding Ada Network, an online mentorship platform.

Prior to working full-time on Ada Lovelace Day, Suw was a social technologist and, as one of the UK’s social media pioneers, worked with clients worldwide. A freelance journalist, she has written about social media, technology and publishing for The Guardian, CIO Magazine and Forbes. In 2005, Suw co-founded the Open Rights Group, a digital rights campaigning group. As its first Executive Director, she prepared the organisation’s response to the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, and gave evidence on digital rights management to the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group.

Twitter: @suw
LinkedIn: /suwcharman

Vanessa Vallely OBE

Vanessa Vallely OBEVanessa is one of the UK’s most well-networked women and has provided keynotes on a variety of career related topics for over 500 companies worldwide. Vanessa is also one of the UK’s most prominent figures in gender equality and often provides guidance and consultancy to both government and corporate organisations who are seeking to attract, develop and retain their female talent. Vanessa was awarded her OBE in June 2018 for her services to women and the economy.

At the height of her successful 25 year career in the financial services, Vanessa launched the award winning in 2008 as a vehicle to help women progress in their careers. now has over 120,000 members and provides resources/conferences/awards/jobs to women across the UK. Vanessa is the also the -founder of UK wide diversity forum Gender Networks. Gender Networks (formerly The Network of Networks) brings together diversity leaders from 85 cross sector firms to share best practice on a quarterly basis. Vanessa is also the author of the book “Heels of Steel: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World” which tracks her career and shares 13 chapters of tips to succeed in the workplace.

Twitter: @watc_girl
LinkedIn: /vanessavallely

Elisabeth Holm

Elisabeth HolmElisabeth Holm, an aspiring computer scientist with a passion for AI/Machine learning, has been an ambassador and advocate for girls in STEM for 8 years. Elisabeth is a former research intern at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and “graduate” of the Qualcomm (Q-Camp) – Women in Technology (WiTech) multi-year program for girls in STEM. Raised in a multi-generational home and with ancestry from Indigenous Americas, Elisabeth founded the Sisterhood of Native American Coders (SONAC) to apply her talents in computer science to support an underserved community that is both personal to her and honours her late grandmother. Elisabeth hopes to bring access, exposure, and mentoring to underrepresented Native American girls as to address the disparities in their opportunities to learn, and inspire the next generation of young female innovators. Ms Holm is an avid programmer, roboticist, the Founder of the “Best in Class” Python Club at her school, and currently enrolled in the MIT 6-month Online Science Technology and Engineering Community program (MOSTEC).

LinkedIn: /elisabeth-holm-1b51651b3
LinkedIn: /sisterhood-of-native-american-coders

April Moh

April MohAs Chief Communications Officer, April Moh leads SUSE’s integrated communications team spanning brand strategy, public relations, internal and executive communications and customer marketing. She is also the executive sponsor of SUSE’s first employee network group – the Women in Tech Network.

April is a passionate believer in the power of influence, and she has spent over a decade of her career in the technology space shaping the world’s perceptions of companies small and large.

Prior to SUSE, April was VP and Global Head of Communications for SAP – managing integrated communications for their ERP business. She has also managed communications for Microsoft and Concur. April began her career in the start-up world helping daring upstarts gain market share, launch their companies, secure funding and successfully get acquired.

Recognized for her ability to lead teams from vision to execution and impact via strong cross-company collaboration, April’s core belief is that leading with intent drives bold business outcomes.

LinkedIn: /aprilmoh

Posted in Advocacy & Policy.