Women in Digital: Amy Newton

Amy Newton, co-founder of the Manchester Tech Festival on her biggest influences, being Bipolar and the importance of a Greggs.

Posted 23 May 2022 by Christine Horton

Did you enjoy school?

I enjoyed some classes, like English and Drama and History, but the main reason I enjoyed school is because of my friends, all of whom I am still close with 18 years later! 

What qualifications do you have?

Three A Levels in English Literature, English Language and Philosophy.

Has your career path been a smooth transition, a rocky road or a combination of both?

I think it’s been fairly smooth, I spent over a decade recruiting technical talent in Manchester so it was great to get immersed into the market!  

What is the best career advice you can give to others?

Don’t be afraid to fail, failure is where you learn the most. And if you’re hungover don’t underestimate the value of a Greggs on the way into work. 

If you had to pick one mentor that had the biggest influence on you, who would it be?

My dad, 100 percent. He has been my best friend, my inspiration, and my biggest supporter throughout my career. I have learned so much from him as he is an excellent business person and people manager and he taught me to always operate with integrity, honesty is the best policy, and that success is about sleeping well in your bed at night knowing that you are being ethical.  

From where do you draw inspiration?

I’m a bit of a history nerd so I love reading about the accomplishments of people in the past – particularly people who were the first to do things! In the words of Henry Ford, “If I’d have asked my customers what they want, they’d want a faster horse.”  

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced to date?

Honestly, my mental health. I was diagnosed with Bipolar II in 2018 and it took ten years to get my diagnosis on the NHS, so I was unmedicated for all of that time which meant I experienced very severe depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and struggled to form meaningful relationships. The world looked like a very dark place for a very long time and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised for my mental illness that I finally received my diagnosis and the medication and therapy that I desperately needed. I am thankful to be surrounded by amazing friends and an amazing team with Manchester Tech Festival who don’t judge or shame and simply offer love and support.  

What qualities do you feel makes a good leader?

Decisiveness, kindness, honesty, and an iron-clad commitment to the vision. Also, the ability to tell which advice you should take and when to trust in yourself for the good of the team. 

From a work viewpoint what has the last 24 months been like?

A Netflix comedy special where you aren’t sure whether it will be renewed or not because it is both edgy and tedious. 

What would you say are the biggest tech-based challenges we face today?

Oooof, this is a big one! You’ll have to come to the Festival to listen to our wonderful speakers explain this!