Christopher Bethell Samsungsecondedits 8
Christopher Bethell Samsung 12

It’s important for young women to know that they can have a successful career in tech. It’s not a man’s world.

Christopher Bethell Samsung 15
Not A School Samsung

Rachael Grocott

Rachael Grocott
Digital product designer
'Not A School' Theme
Inclusion in tech

Welcome to Samsung’s Not a School’, alternative lessons for the future. We caught up with digital product designer Rachael Grocott, ahead of her workshop at Samsung KX, Samsung’s latest flagship showcase in Coal Drop’s Yard London.

Innovation doesn’t just come in the shape of technological breakthroughs. Sometimes the hard work is making sure that while progress marches on, nobody is excluded.

The importance of opportunity was one of the key drivers behind Samsung’s ‘Not A School’– an alternative education programme based at their newly opened flagship space Samsung KX in Coal Drop’s Yard London. For four weeks, a lineup of mentors, experts and speakers are running sessions with a group of young participants, challenging them to think differently about their futures, and the future of our planet. From social entrepreneurs to sustainable cooks, the programme has been built around providing the participants with the unique skills they’ll need to take part in tomorrow.

Christopher Bethell Samsungsecondedits 8

One of the ‘Not a School’ course experts is digital product designer Rachael Grocott – someone who has made equal opportunity a mission in her field.

As a digital product designer, Rachael’s day-to-day work involves creating dashboard software that helps companies make metrics more visible. She traces her knack for building software back to an arty instinct at school, that she later turned into a trade, studying multimedia design at university. “It sounds crazy, but the internet was still quite new when I was applying to uni,” she says. “I was looking at Graphic Design, but then I saw this course called Multimedia Design, in the prospectus. I thought, ‘hmm, I have a hunch these website things are going to be pretty big’. So I went for it.”

It was after graduating and entering the world of work, that Rachael began to notice stark divides in the tech industry. “When I started my career I worked for a small agency for 6 years,” she explains. "I was the only woman, ever. I used to work with a lot of startups and businesses and I basically never saw a woman professionally for 6 years. It became normal.”

It was only when she joined an online community for product designers in London that she first connected with others in her field who identified as women. Yet she also noticed, that of the 20 women in the group of 300, barely any of them contributed to the conversation. So a separate channel was established. The group called it Triangirls – a play on the original community’s name Triangles. “The name isn’t ideal, because we also cater for non-binary, and other minorities in tech,” Rachael adds, "but the story’s so good we kept it.”

Christopher Bethell Samsung 12

What was once a small online discussion is now a thriving community of like minded women and non-binary folk, who socialise and support each other through their male-dominated industry.

From challenging pay-gaps to hearing from inspirational women in tech, Triangirls has grown into a force for real change in the workplace. “It started last August, twelve of us met up in a pub,” Rachael remembers. “Now we’re selling out 150 plus venues. That’s just in a year!”

It’s a momentum she wants to carry into Samsung’s ‘Not A School’. In her session, she says she wants to challenge the participants to think about their own biases and to come up with ways to inspire younger minorities into careers in tech. What does a software engineer look like? By asking this question she hopes to point out the ways in which table football and Friday beers tacitly edge women out of the equation. “I’m going to be asking ‘how can we make London the most inclusive city in the world?’, which fits really nicely with my experience."

It’s important for young women to know that they can have a successful career in tech. It’s not a man’s world.

It’s also an opportunity for young men entering tech – a chance to reshape the industry they are entering and make it a fairer place for everyone. "Part of the problem is men’s attitudes,” she says. “If you can tell an 18-year-old, straight off the bat, why [tech startups] are not nice places for women to work, it can’t hurt. Men have a role to play as well.”

More than anything, she wants any young women attending Samsung’s ‘Not A School’ to see that a career in tech is something for them. This means equipping them with practical advice: how to negotiate a promotion and how to discuss salary with confidence. Ultimately, she hopes, it can go some way to redressing the balance in the digital workplace. “Of all senior roles in design, 11% are filled by women,” she says. “It’s important for young women to know that they can have a successful career in tech. It’s not a man’s world.”

Christopher Bethell Samsung 15
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I think it would be the planet. We’re the last generation that can save it. I see single use plastics everywhere and it stresses me out.

What’s one vital skill we should all have?


The best part about starting your own project?

I can do whatever I want. It’s a creative outlet. There are no boundaries other than my imagination. I think it inspires me in my day-job too. I’m getting my creative craziness somewhere else.

One of our tag lines is “women empowering women”. I want every woman to leave [‘Not A School’] feeling empowered.