On the run up to Women’s Day on the 8th March, we are paying homage to 7 women who have made a name for themselves in the world of technology. The names behind the women we are honoring might not be commonly known, but there is no denying that they are quietly making a difference in their field. In this series, the women personally share their experiences and challenges whilst also giving us a glimpse into the lessons that they have learnt along the way. In her own words, Rhian Granleese shares her story.
Some things you cannot plan, and my career in tech was one of those things. The role I hold today, was not something I planned. It was completely by chance. I actually wanted to be a researcher. It never entered my mind that I would end up as a European Patent Attorney with one of the oldest law firms in the UK.
I have now been in this industry for 21 years. As the only woman in this role for many years, it funnily enough, ended up being to my advantage because when I attended work events, people were quick to remember who I am. Now fast forward, two decades, and we have a woman chairman at our firm, so things are progressing.
Usually when I am asked how I went from wanting to be a researcher to becoming a patent attorney, the simple answer is that I met someone, at an event, who pointed me in this direction. He made it sound so interesting that I ended up training for a 3 years and qualifying as a chartered (UK) patent attorney. Although still quite a niche role, the great thing is that as technology continues to advance the number of people filing patents is increasing. This means that our work is in constant demand. I work with both multinationals and startups seeking someone with my knowledge to help them draft patents that will protect their ideas.
When it comes to being a woman in this role, I must admit that my sex has so far not been a major hurdle in the progression of my career. That being said I do believe that being a woman in any position can be both a curse and a blessing. As a woman with a background in electronics, I have in the last 21 years experienced the good and bad of being a woman in this field, but it is great to see that it has not stopped women making their mark in this space.
As the industry continues to grow, the one thing I have learnt is that you always need to stay ahead of the curve. It is important that you live and breathe technology. This is why I am currently getting up to speed on machine learning. It is important for me to keep my knowledge up to date. I have been doing this through online courses. I highly recommend them.
Another lesson that I always find myself passing on, especially to our trainees, is that you should not be afraid to ask questions. This is a sign of confidence. It shows clients that you are keen to learn more. As a patent attorney, you are constantly dealing with new technology so you are not going to get how it works straight away, that is why you should always ask questions.
Lastly, when it comes to people who inspire me, I find myself inspired by creatives
like Vivian Westwood. I love her because she is unafraid to challenge perceptions. I like people who step out of the norm. They are the kind of individuals that grab my attention and keep it.