Women in innovation: Maddie Julian of DigiBete
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have spoken to two female innovators in our region to celebrate their achievements, find out about their work and what it means to be a female in their industry, as well as sharing their advice to other women who are looking to innovate.
5 March 2021
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have spoken to two female innovators in our region to celebrate their achievements, find out about their work and what it means to be a female in their industry, as well as sharing their advice to other women who are looking to innovate. Our other interview with Jackie Mulligan of ShopAppy.com can be found here.
Maddie Julian, CEO / Co-founder DigiBete
1. Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
I am the CEO / Co-founder of DigiBete, a multi-award winning community-led diabetes platform and App to support young people managing type 1 diabetes. It has been widely recognised as a key national digital resource supported by NHS England.
Our community-led, clinically approved resources and App promote better self-management and can be accessed 24/7 to improve care and quality of life.
2. How has being a female impacted your career in innovation?
I am incredibly proud to be a woman developing innovative technology. I accidently fell into working in the tech sector as DigiBete was born out of a real need to improve and innovate care in the community for those young people living with diabetes and other long-term conditions. I’ve always been interested in technology, but it wasn't really encouraged at school and there wasn’t the same type of apprenticeships available then. I tried a range of jobs and was a teacher for about 12 years, but I was always wanting to innovate within my work environments. I just love what I do now and can see what a difference innovative technology can make to people's lives.
3. What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of helping to create and establish DigiBete.org. When my husband and I left hospital with our young son following his diagnosis we were given a book to support our understanding of the complexities of diabetes. We found all the medical language incredibly difficult to digest especially as we are two of the 10% of people living with dyslexia in the UK. Now parents and families have an app breaking down all they need to know in easy-to-understand micro learning films whenever they need help 24/7 and can translate our resources into 99 languages.
4. Who inspires you?
I am most inspired by the other strong women leaders who I have met on my journey. I was very encouraged by the spirits of both my Grandmothers who were strong women in their time and many ordinary women doing extraordinary things with their lives. I feel you only have one life and you've got to make it count! My favourite artist and source of inspiration is a man called Willard Wigan, a nano artist who is also dyslexic and has used his unique lens to create an extraordinary business.
5. What one piece of advice would you offer to other female innovators?
Don't take no for an answer! Whatever your obstacle, think of three ways to get past it. There are unfortunately people who will try to block your path. You have to be tenacious, strategic and genuinely understand the problem you are trying to solve.
Innovation for everyone is the LEP’s recently launched Innovation Framework which will guide future activity and investment to support innovation in the Leeds City Region. The ambition is to encourage a place for inspiration, to build an inclusive, thriving innovation ecosystem where SMEs, entrepreneurs and individuals are inspired to innovate.
If you’re looking for support with an innovation project, our Innovation Team can help. The LEP’s Innovation Growth Managers work with you to understand your business’ needs and advise on the relevant support available. The KTN also offers more information specifically about the support available for women in innovation.