What does a typical working day look like? Do you use your engineering training on a daily basis?

I work as a Technical Assistant, and I am close to fully qualifying as a patent attorney. My typical working day varies so much and every day is different!

Most of my time is spent working on client cases. Sometimes I am working to deadlines, doing things such as reviewing documents and responding to examination reports. I often have client meetings, which may involve discussing new ideas and innovations with inventors. I also spend a lot of time drafting and filing new patent applications for novel and inventive ideas.

My degree comes in very useful in my job and I use it every day. A large number of inventors that we work with come from engineering backgrounds and are talking about engineering inventions – so it is very useful to have a broad basis of knowledge across areas of technology that were covered while I was studying.


What motivated you to pursue a career in engineering?

I have always really enjoyed maths and science subjects – basically anything that includes having to solve a problem. I think that this is at the core of engineering: being able to see a problem and work towards finding a solution. I therefore knew that a career related to engineering would be good for me in that it is suited to my strengths and would always keep me interested.

In hindsight, did you have any misconceptions about engineering or are you aware of other people’s misconceptions?

I think that some people may generally perceive “engineers” as men who work on building projects or sites. It is now clear to me that there is such a broad range of people that work as engineers and options for careers in engineering. From traditional mechanical or civil engineers, to engineers that are designing new products or developing new ideas, to patent attorneys like me, there are so many different and exciting places that engineering can take you. I think that seeing women in engineering roles is important to encourage others that they achieve whatever they want in the field too.

What made you want to become a patent attorney?

I enjoyed my physics degree, but I realised that I most enjoyed the aspects of it that were less abstract, where you could see how things might help in the real-world. I am also quite a chatty and expressive person and so wanted to pursue a career that combined communicating with a range of people with my interest in applied science. When I discovered a job description for a patent attorney, I knew straight away that it was a career that would play to all of my strengths and interests!

Qualifying as a patent attorney takes a lot of studying and notoriously difficult exams – but I know that on the other side of that is a wonderfully varied and rewarding career with the opportunity to be at the forefront of new technology in science and engineering.

Do you perceive any barriers, as a woman, to becoming successful in your field?

I think that the field, which was historically quite male-dominated, is getting better and better for female equality. I really like the idea that I have the opportunity to be part of a field that is changing so much and getting more and more inclusive for women.

There are so many impressive women in senior positions at Dehns which gives me the motivation and belief that I can hopefully one day be just as successful. As long as I keep working hard and doing a good job, I can’t see that there will be any barriers that I can’t overcome.

When you first joined, what was your impression of Dehns from a female diversity and equality perspective?

Dehns is notably really good for female diversity and equality. This was something that was important to me when I was applying to Dehns – seeing lots of other women striving at Dehns helped me decide that working here would match my values and be a good fit for me.

Why is an inclusive and diverse workforce important?

Different perspectives, talents and experiences are always important, in any field. I believe that having an inclusive and diverse workforce means that problems are solved in the best, most creative way. I also think that embracing and celebrating diversity and equality at work makes workplaces happier and more pleasant places to be.

Are there any areas of technology that you’re finding particularly interesting at the moment?

I think that Femtech is an area which is really interesting. Subjects associated with women’s healthcare that had been traditionally considered taboo – such as menstrual health, sexual health, fertility and menopause – are being talked about more and more. As a result, new technology and innovations are being developed that can address long-neglected health needs of women, which is something that I’m really passionate about.

I think that it is exciting that lot of new Femtech technologies are focused on empowering women to take control of their own health and to improve our general health and well-being. This means that Femtech technology has the potential to improve outcomes for women in countries where access to quality healthcare hasn’t typically been the best due to a variety of social or economic factors, which I think is really important. It’s a field that is rapidly growing and evolving, with new solutions and products appearing constantly.

It’s also interesting to see how a lot of inventors in Femtech technology are female engineers or scientists, and how they are working to address problems that affect us. I think that it’s really exciting to see where Femtech is going to go and how new technology can help women all over the world.