In the News

Connect to FLITE I Connect to the Conversation I Change the News

Female Leaders in Tech, Europe (FLITE) explain the immediate benefits being part of the bigger picture bring. Working together as one.

Kirsty Ambler, Editor-in-Chief, EMSNow interviews Gayle Paterson, FLITE talks about her aim and ambition for this dedicated organisation for females studying and working in the technology sector.

Kirsty Ambler:  Could you tell us about the creation and idea behind the formation of FLITE?

Gayle Paterson:  Of course, I’m happy to be the FLITE storyteller.  FLITE represents the journeys of three females in tech, myself; Gayle Paterson, Kirsty Ambler and Claire Saunders.  Speaking for myself, in a previous life, I was the Director of Marketing & Communications for Flex in Europe.  In my opinion, Flex was a modern and forward thinking company.  Females held senior positions and I never once witnessed any level of discrimination between the sexes.  As an example, during my time, there were four business units covering the four main market segments.  Two of the four presidents were female, how’s that for equality?!  Not only that, one of the females was the president of the largest segment in terms of revenue, whilst the other was the leader for innovation and new ventures, therefore both held high pressure and revolutionary positions.  Coming out of Flex and entering into various electronic manufacturing companies as a consultant, I was quite shocked at the lack of gender equality at the top, but also saddened by the lack of women throughout the entire industry.  I guess I had been in an artificial bubble within Flex, with my eyes being opened upon departure.  It occurred to me, that I was in a strong position to influence change.  I have an extensive network after being in the electronics industry for nearly 20 years, therefore I thought I’d put my experience and network to use.  I’m a great believer that you don’t just complain about something that you are not satisfied with, you try to do something about it.  FLITE was my way of doing something for all Females in Tech, to connect to one another and build an alliance with a shared voice.  As I started to put the meat on the bones for FLITE, Kirsty Ambler approached me, as she too felt that she was in a unique position to influence, as the Editor-in-Chief of EMSNow, but also wanted to see more females in the world of tech rise to the top.  Kirsty and I launched FLITE, with Claire Saunders (another electronics industry veteran) coming on board.  Like Kirsty, Claire has a platform; What’s New in Electronics, that provides us with another channel to promote our message and raise awareness of our cause.

Ambler:  Do you think the industry needs a specific group to represent the interests and growth of females within the tech sector?

Paterson:  Unfortunately, at this space in time, the answer is yes.  I’d love for us to live in a world where there wasn’t a requirement for gender specific groups, but we’re not there yet.  FLITE exists to highlight the need for gender parity and to raise awareness of how we will work to achieve equality.  Our hope is that our generation, following on from past positive movements, will plot a course to allow our future peers to work together without the current level of gender division that we experience.

Ambler:  What are the main aims and objectives of FLITE?

Paterson:  FLITE is a group that currently exists on the LinkedIn platform and is made up 150+ members who have expressed that they feel a need to connect and share.  FLITE focuses on the positive message of celebrating the achievements of Females in Tech and learning from their experience.  Members are encouraged to coach and mentor existing members and future generations of women entering into Tech.  We want the future generation to see that a successful career in tech is a viable option.  An attractive option, where they will sit at the intersection of science, art, design and tomorrow’s technology.  Where innovation and creativity is at its pinnacle.

FLITE aims to build a platform based on real-life experiences to help raise the visibility of females in technology.

Through our knowledge network, females will come together to; lead the conversation, connect to a common community, share best practice, success stories, achievements and mentor other ambitious females entering into the tech world.

FLITE organises events, publishes articles, blogs and promotional pieces to ensure that members are kept up-to-date with influential and inspirational females, with the shared goal of empowering ourselves and our future generation.

Our partnerships with leading industry news channels enables us to position FLITE, and our members, close to the market, helping us to continuously raise positive awareness, aligned to an accurate perception of how we females really feel about our chosen industry and profession.

Ambler:   How do you plan to realise the aspirations of FLITE?

Paterson:  We hope that industry females will become members and benefit from our extensive knowledge network.  We will also open our channels for females in the tech sector to offer mentorship, or to express an interest to be mentored.  In these instances, FLITE will operate almost as a match-maker.  Linking up the females that we believe will help and support one another, in the best possible way.  It becomes a two-way exchange, mentors often tell us that the experience was not simply rewarding, but educational too.  We all learn from one another and we believe that FLITE goes beyond being a static LinkedIn group.  We are interactive and accessible to one another.

Ambler:  Do you feel there are a lack of female role models within the industry? How do you feel this can be remedied?

Paterson:  I actually think there are a good number of female role models within the industry, I just don’t think that they are celebrated enough.  Females in engineering and tech have come a significant way and we operate in a world where the work was required yesterday, so we don’t often take time out to recognise our achievements and to learn from them.  FLITE’s moto is ‘inspired to empower’ and this is our aim, to build a platform, give thanks to the females who have enabled us to get this far and recognition to the females who are helping us to shape our current reality and open the door to the females who will help to build our future.   Role models need to be seen and heard, as they help us to set goals and try to make their followers as good as they are.  Female role models are important in our industry and if you are one, it is a true privilege.

We hope that through the success and engagement of FLITE we can help to change that perception, to help encourage and support young females considering a career or future in this sector – this is further supported by great incentives like STEM – so hopefully young women can engage with our members and we can help shape the next generation of powerful women in tech.

Ambler:  How can females in tech get involved with the group?

Paterson:  We encourage females to connect through our LinkedIn Group – and we ask them to let us know what they would like to get from their FLITE membership.  Would they like to mentor, or be mentored?  Be active, or be an observer?  Everything and anything is alright by us.

Ambler:   Are there plans for a networking event that women can attend?

Paterson:   We are actually planning to host our inaugural FLITE event at What’s New in Electronics Live.  It is our plan to host a Female Leaders in Tech Networking Lunch from 12noon – 14:00 on the 9th of May at the NEC in Birmingham.   This will be our inaugural event, bringing together our current members and hopefully some new faces, to share our knowledge, helping us to lead by example.

During our two-hour lunch/networking session, you will have the opportunity to meet our members; females who are business owners or decision makers who enjoy meeting, supporting and proactively networking with like-minded females.

We’d also like to open up this platform and invite any of our members, who may be able to offer a few hours per month to mentor our next generation of females starting out on their journey.  On the flip slide, we’d also like to hear from any females who feel they would benefit by being mentored as they enter their career within the electronics industry.


Female Leaders in Tech, Europe (FLITE) announce their partnership with leading electronics media house WNIE to increase their wingspan.

FLITE, a new online collaboration hub formed by Gayle Paterson and Kirsty Ambler, to create a connected network of Female Leaders in Tech, announced today their intention to partner with Claire Saunders, Founding Partner of WNIE and another leading female in Tech, in Europe.

WNIE ( is a one-stop industry news media hub for the electronics industry.  Designed to be the single-source of information, from high-level strategic issues such as; sourcing suppliers, solving production challenges and exploring open exporting opportunities, through to reading the latest news, industry journals, and technical white papers.

Claire Saunders has been involved in the UK electronics industry for over 20 years and has built up a strong network of business relationships and friendships within this sector. Ms. Saunders has managed both of the industry leading trade fairs, Nepcon and National Electronics Week (NEW), now rebranded What’s New in Electronics Live.

Gayle Paterson, FLITE launch member stated, “We are delighted to have Claire join us in our quest to link together tech-savvy females within one platform.  Claire brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in establishing shared platforms to unite the industry, through her publication and events.”

Ms. Saunders added, “Being in the industry for over 20 years, I have witnessed many progressive changes.  In the way that innovation has enabled tech to drive forward at an unprecedented speed, open and honest leadership has cultivated the understanding that diverse leadership teams perform better than homogenous ones.  Groups like FLITE bring these types of discussions to the fore and I’m going to enjoy being able to provide the members of FLITE with a channel and a voice to progress their initiative even further, with an aim of embedding it into our sector’s culture and DNA.”

Many females are already benefiting from FLITE’s shared network through personal development in a practical hands-on way, enabling them to make a difference.  FLITE invites you to explore what you can contribute to their network and reap the benefits of what FLITE can do for you. Join the conversation and connect to their LinkedIn group at

Whilst FLITE’s focus is to connect the females in tech within Europe, its message is universal, focusing on shared learning and an outward-looking perspective. Therefore, this September, on behalf of FLITE, Ms. Paterson will host a thought-leadership ‘Women in Tech’ roundtable at SMTAI in Illinois.  Further details will be posted onto the network.


Female Leaders in Tech, Europe (FLITE) launches new collaboration hub.  FLITE a new online collaboration hub formed to create a connected network of Female Leaders in Tech. 

The aim of FLITE is to link together tech-savvy females within one platform, to collaborate on common business challenges; explore new business opportunities and build and expand on strong connections in a shared environment of women dedicated to helping each other succeed.

Of course, with tech in the title, FLITE is committed to creating a hub, where members can discuss, collaborate and debate the industry’s influencers, disruptors, and advancements in tech that will drive change in the near future.

FLITE is being supported by two tech industry females, Gayle Paterson and Kirsty Ambler.  Ms. Paterson has over 16 years of experience within the electronics manufacturing industry, working in executive marketing roles for leading brands in their field, such as Flex and Sanmina.  Ms. Ambler, as the Editor-in-Chief of EMSNow, has over 20 years of experience in the industry, with a wealth of knowledge and connections within the sector.

For the initial launch, EMSNow has been selected as one of FLITE’s media partners, to give FLITE and FLITE members a voice via its online industry news channel.

Ms. Ambler stated, I am personally and professionally excited and delighted to support FLITE and to represent EMSNow as one of the groups media partners, as a female in tech, I can see the value and importance of bringing together experienced women.  We will be able to report on the real issues and the common thread that link us all together.

Ms. Paterson added, We hope to build and maintain a new kind of mentorship, alliance and educational platform, that will be beneficial to women in their day-to-day working lives.  FLITE will become an impactful and scalable resource to help women promote themselves and their companys ethos, whilst enabling them to harness the power of a connected and knowledgeable network.

Whilst FLITE’s focus is to connect the females in tech within Europe, its message is universal, focusing on shared learning and an outward-looking perspective. Therefore, this September, on behalf of FLITE, Ms. Paterson, will host a thought-leadership ‘Women in Tech’ roundtable at SMTAI in Illinois and FLITE is actively looking for panelists and questions.

Many females are already benefiting from FLITE’s shared network, through personal development in a practical hands-on way, enabling them to make a difference.  FLITE invites you to explore what you can contribute to their network and reap the benefits of what FLITE can do for you. Join the conversation and connect to their LinkedIn group at

Female leaders in tech unite at this year’s SMTA International

FLITE (Female Leaders in Tech, Europe) group supporter Gayle Paterson will host and moderate a roundtable debate “Women in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry” at the upcoming 2016 SMTAI show (, in Rosemont, IL. The aim of the forum is to link together tech-savvy females within one platform, to collaborate on common business challenges; discuss shared influences, experiences, and resources, and report on the real issues and the mutual threads that connect all female leaders in tech together.

During the debate, Ms. Paterson will be joined by Marie Cole from IBM, Davina McDonnell from Saline Lectronics and Wendy Tindle from SMT Today.

About Ms. Cole

Marie Cole is a Distinguished Engineer in IBM Systems Supply Chain Engineering.   She is responsible for Supplier Technical Management strategies to introduce new technologies into IBM Server and Storage systems.  She has more than 30 years of experience in the electronics industry and is a recognized expert in electronic packaging materials.

Ms. Cole currently represents IBM on the iNEMI Board of Directors and served previously on the SMTA Board of Directors.  She is the recipient of several IBM technical awards, the 2014 SMTA Founder’s Award and the 2014 ASM Engineering Materials Achievement Award.

About Ms. McDonnell

Davina McDonnell gracefully stumbled into electronics manufacturing shortly after graduating from the University of San Diego as Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Communication Studies. Motivated by this fast paced and ever-changing industry, Davina enjoys a diverse career in sales and marketing for Saline Lectronics. As Director of Marketing, Davina is passionate about creating meaningful and engaging ad campaigns and thrives best in a collaborative space that values open communication and fearless experimentation of new ideas.

As the voice behind the Saline Lectronics’ brand, Davina publishes magazine articles, web pages, blogs, case studies and sales brochures for the organization. Deeply embedded in this industry with a wide network of strong business relationships, Davina has a true understanding and unique perspective of electronic contract manufacturing. Thanks to the transformative power of M2M communication and the Internet of Things, Davina is truly excited about the exponential positive change available in this latest manufacturing revolution. Personally, she’s best known for her exquisite taste in coffee, deep desire to be a mermaid and fiery opinions.

About Ms. Tindle

Wendy Tindle has held the position of Editor for SMT Today, a high-quality publication created for the global electronics industry, for the past ten months.  Wendy’s previous career included a seven-year relocation to the Middle East, to head-up a role as an Internal Sales & Marketing Manager, helping develop a country from $200K turnover to $5 million in distribution sales, coordinated marketing campaigns throughout the Middle East, and project managed tradeshows and corporate events.

The rest of Wendy’s 22-year career has been spent within a large multi-national aero structures group, latterly becoming Senior Procurement Manager.  This role included developing strategies to produce cost savings internally and within the supply base, and coordinating a sometimes multi-cultural, multi-disciplined team to ensure all targets were met.

Ms. Paterson is delighted to bring together the most innovative and inspirational thought leaders from across the electronics manufacturing and will join forces with leading industry publications EMSNow, Mexico EMS and U.S. Tech to support and promote the debate.

The debate will be recorded and the interview will be made available through media partners and within FLITE’s member only network.  For more information on how to become a FLITE member, express your interest here: