Shirin Dehghan, CEO of UK telecommunications firm Arieso, has taken top honours at the Blackberry Women & Technology Awards in London. Dehghan who runs Arieso, a Newbury UK company that helps mobile operators around the world keep their networks running optimally and their customers connected, was named ‘Outstanding Woman in Technology 2006 by the awards’ nine judges. In winning the top award, Dehghan beat dozens of nominees, including technology leaders from Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, and IBM.
The judges also named Dehghan ‘Best Woman in Technology at an SME’ in recognition of her achievements in bringing the Newbury, UK based start-up to the attention and aid of some of the world’s biggest telecommunications companies. Today customers of Arieso’s unique network optimisation software include Cingular, O2, Nortel, Qualcomm, Telefonica and Vodafone amongst others.
Dehghan’s nomination for the awards was supported by senior telecommunications industry figures including Mike Short of 02 and former Motorola VP, Paul Strzelecki and by Maisy Ng, co-founder of venture capital firm Add Partners, Arieso’s lead investor.
“Being a woman in the almost exclusively male field of telecommunications engineering has never been a factor for me. I love what I do and am proud to do it well enough to be recognised for what I, and all of us at Arieso, have so far achieved,” says Dehghan. “I think the judges saw that work we do is incredibly important in rescuing the profit margins of mobile operators and bringing a better quality of service to the mobiles we all depend on so heavily today.
“I applaud Blackberry, too, for their part in raising the profile of women in all kinds of technology fields and the great work being accomplished. I hope the awards can be an inspiration to more young women to look at the diversity of jobs available in technology and take up more of the opportunities.”
Started in 2005, The Blackberry Women & Technology awards recognise the achievements of women working in the hi-tech sector. This year the panel of nine award judges included, among others, Dr Glenda Stone, founder and CEO of Aurora; Kate Bulkley, independent business writer for the Financial Times, Silicon.com and The Guardian; and professor Wendy Hall, CBE, Head of School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton.