The Folks Behind FLITE

Women in Tech

Gayle Paterson

Gayle Paterson has over 18 years as an industrial marketer, starting her career in Space Craft Industries (SCI) as European Printed Circuit Board Buyer (PCB).  As Sanmina [NASDAQ: Sanmina Corp]. acquired SCI, Gayle moved into the role of European Marketing Officer, a position more in keeping with her university Honours degree in Strategic Marketing.


Gayle  held this position for four years before transitioning into the post as the Director and Head of European Marketing for FLEX [formerly Flextronics, NASDAQ FLEX] where she developed her career for a further eight years.  For the past two years, Gayle has offered her Marketing & Communication services as a consultant into the electronics industry.

Gayle is also a passionate advocate of STEM, which is why in 2015 she founded FLITE (Female Leaders in Tech, Europe) with two equally zealous female partners.  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 Tech.  FLITE 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.

Claire Saunders

Determined and passionate about the industry I am involved in, wanting to offer different regions good platforms to market their products and services – and not afraid of challenge.


Claire has been involved in the UK electronics industry since the late 90’s and has built up lots of strong business relationships and friendships within this sector and managed both Nepcon and more recently the National Electronics Week exhibitions.

  • 25 years of experience in sales, 22 years as an events organiser, event managed over 50 events
  • An integral part of the electronics industry as one of our industries most networked people, attending all main trade shows including; APEX, Photonics West, SMT Nuremberg, Laser, SMTAI, Productronica / Electronica
  • As MD for National Electronics Week (WNIE Live), brining the UK electronics industry together, organising thought-leadership platforms

Kirsty Hazlewood

Kirsty has been involved in the electronics industry for over 20 years, firstly in events management for exhibitions including EPC, and subsequently in marketing and publishing for InfoCircuit and Printed Circuit News. Previously Editor in Chief of leading global electronics publication EMSNow, Kirsty is now Content Creator for What’s New in Electronics (WNIE) Online, allowing her a unique perspective into the pertinent issues affecting the industry today.


With women making up only 21% of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) workforce, Kirsty believes in the promotion and mentorship of females within the electronics sector and supports FLITE in its mission to support females in reaching their potential within the industry.

Lydia Zhao
Ambassador for Asia

Having been involved in both electronic industry and fashion industry, Lydia Zhao has built up her network as well as knowledge in both industries. “Electronics can be passionate & fashionable,” said Lydia, currently served in Ryder Industries Lid., “The appearance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) proves it.”


With the experience of marketing, sales, and international business development, Lydia is passionate & enthusiastic about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics). With understanding of domestic Chinese culture, she brings different voice & insights.

She believes both receiving & giving are inspiring, but giving does more. By joining FLITE, she hopes to support more females in the industry in FLITE’s mission and vision.

Michelle Ogihara
US Ambassador

Michelle Ogihara is the Senior Sales Manager of Seika Machinery, Incorporated, a distributor of SMT and ATE solutions from Japan.  As the Senior Sales Manager and Sales and Marketing Manager, she is the team leader overseeing the national sales, marketing and distribution of Seika equipment throughout North and South America.


Michelle is an active member of the SMTA taking on various board positions as a chapter leader, Co-Chairs the MSD Council and serves on several committees on the National level.  She is a past recipient of the SMTA “Excellence in Leadership Award.”  Michelle has chaired technical sessions at SMTAI conferences and lead break-out sessions during past SMTA Leadership Forums on numerous chapter involved topics.  She has served two terms on the national SMTA Board of Directors as VP of Communications.   She is the founder of the SMTA Ambassadors, a program within the association dedicated to membership retention and recruitment.  Michelle has over eighteen years of experience in the PCB equipment industry.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Michelle has lived overseas for over nine years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Tokyo, Japan prior to her job at Seika Machinery.

Sherry Stepp
US Ambassador

Sherry brings 25+ years’ experience in business planning to her position. She joined KYZEN in customer service, embarked on extensive technical training and was promoted multiple times over the past 20 years. Her deep industry knowledge, welcoming personality and careful consideration of every detail are her recognized trademarks. Sherry founded KYZEN’s industry Friendship Program, volunteers for SMTAi and supports KYZEN’s sponsorship of SMTAI’s women’s networking event.  Current position – Global Marketing Manager.