Maggie Philbin has worked in radio and television for over 30 years on a wide range of science, medical and technology programmes. She isÂ co-founder and CEO of TeenTech CIC, an award winning organisation helping young people, their parents and teachers understand more about the real opportunities in Science,Technology and Engineering. In 2016 Maggie was named as the Most Influential Woman in UKIT by Computer Weekly Magazine and was also named as 2016 Digital Leader of the Year. In 2017 she received an OBE for her work with TeenTech.
She is Patron of the Council of Professors and Heads of ComputingÂ and former President (2014-8) of the Institute of Engineering Designers
She is a popular and entertaining speaker at conferences and award ceremonies, bringing a unique and insightful perspective on technology, diversity and innovation.
Maggie was a reporter on the recent BBC 1 seriesÂ Bang Goes The Theory‘ and has a unique resonance with audiences having grown up with them on shows like Swap Shop and Tomorrow’s World. Many of the everyday innovations we now take for granted were demonstrated on live television for the very first time by Maggie â€“ the first truly mobile phone, voice recognition, the first car navigation system, the first example of virtual reality, the first fax machine, even the first supermarket barcode reader.
Maggieâ€™s extensive radio and television career includes work with ITV, Channel 4, SKY and Channel 5. She has covered stories all over the world, from earthquake prediction systems in Iceland, to water sanitation systems in Zaartari refugee camp on the Syrian/Jordan border, to possibly the most dangerous system for rescuing people from ski cable cars in Switzerland. She worked on a project with the BBC, NHK (Japan) and RAI (Italy) to give the first live international demonstration of Super Hi-Vision,
Her reporting career on live programmes from Hospital Watch to This Morning, on network television and on local radio has taken her into every imaginable and unimaginable situation. â€œThe most memorable moments have come from people Iâ€™ve met, who have been generous to trust me with their stories and experiences. I never take this job for granted.â€
Maggie has consistently worked to improve the visibility of successful scientists and engineers, both to encourage young people and women to pursue careers and reach top positions in these areas.’Itâ€™s heartbreaking to think of the amount of talent and innovation going to waste, simply because children and their families havenâ€™t the faintest idea what an engineer or technician actually does.’
In November 2008, she foundedÂ TeenTech, collaborating with business, education and professional organisations to create a lively initiative which brings teenagers, scientists and technology companies together.Â â€œThe kids had their stereotypical image of engineers completely reversed and the companies were staggered by the enthusiasm and innate talent of the teenagers.â€ The BBC1Â Politics Show devoted half their programme to the first event.
Maggie is CEO of the initiative which now reaches over 12,000 young people every year, with 75,000 using TeenTech resources. TeenTech has been awardedÂ Best Engineering Event in Science Week , Best Communication and Outreach (WISE/UKRC) and Best Employer and Schools Initiative (Relocate). Since the outbreak of Covid 19, TeenTech have also delivered over 150 exciting live virtual events for young people every year.
Maggie delivered a ‘Mini-Reith” lecture on this subject on BBC Radio 4’sÂ Broadcasting HouseÂ saying, ‘ We talk endlessly about innovation but we have to do more to inspire teenagers with fresh, accurate images of the contemporary workplace. The vast majority of jobs, even in the near future will be applications of science, technology, engineering and Maths but at the moment, a generation sit in chains, shackled to the false hope of instant success and a magical belief that X Factor, the lottery or marrying a footballer will transform their lives’
Maggie is a popular conference host and keynote speaker on diversity and technology working with a broad range of organisations from the IET, to Lloyds Bank to the IPA.Â â€œWe need to improve diversity -itâ€™s not just a question of looking at the number of women on the board of a company but at the social and ethnic diversity of the whole organisation at every level . Itâ€™s not only morally right but it makes very sound economic sense. Companies waste a lot of talent by neglecting diversity.â€ Maggie provides practical advice on how businesses can harness modern technology not only to improve their profits but to develop their trust and credibility.
Maggie Â is Â patron of the Daphne Jackson Trust which helps scientists, engineers and technologists return to their careers. â€œGetting the right support and training is key, whether youâ€™re 16 or 60. It makes an enormous difference not only to the personal development and confidence of individuals but to the success and reputation of companies and institutions.â€
She is also patron of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing. “Today every job is a digital job and every company is a digital company. It’s never been more important to ensure young people have the skills to navigate and develop this fast changing world”
UK Digital Skills TaskForce
In November 2013 Maggie was asked to lead the UK Digital Skills Task Force which published a report ‘Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World’ in July 2014.
In 2015/6 Maggie joined the Haringey STEM Commission producing a report in July 2016.
Maggie joined the Digital Leaders board in 2017.
In 2012 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in Technology from De Montfort University recognising her “outstanding contributions to the intellectual and cultural life of the nation and region” and for “bringing about a greater understanding and interest in science and technology” . She was made a fellow of Queen Mary University, London (2014), Â awarded a doctorate of Science from the University of Bath (2015), presented with an honorary doctorate by the University of Huddersfield (2016), an honorary doctorate in Science from Solent University (2017) and a honorary fellowship from the University of Leicester (2018) Â .
In 2016 Maggie was named as the Most Influential Woman in UKIT by Computer Weekly Magazine and was also named as 2016 Digital Leader of the Year for her work with TeenTech.
She was awarded an OBE in Jan 2017 for promoting careers in STEM and the Creative Industries. Â In July 2017 she received the Tech4Good Special Award.
Maggie has one daughter, Rose, named after the woman who gambled on a young student being able to handle the BBCâ€™s first Saturday morning show.