Alice Hendy MBE Named Among UK's Top 100 Most Influential IT Leaders

Alice Hendy MBE Part of the IT Leaders 100 - a list of the most influential IT leaders in the UK in 2024.

Alice's journey has been marked by a personal tragedy and the will to bring hope to millions around the world. With millions of downloads worldwide, Alice's tech intervention, R;pple, is intercepting thousands of harmful online searches, continually saving lives from suicide. Alice's story resonates with anyone who has faced mental health challenges, has been affected by suicide, or cares for the safety of others.

How did you get into IT?

I applied for a job in cybersecurity without any prior knowledge or experience. The hiring manager contacted me and questioned my application. After much discussion, I persuaded him to give me a chance in the interview and then to make his decision. He agreed. At the interview, I demonstrated how I had upskilled myself in IT in the two weeks prior to our conversation, and provided him with all of my pre-work. Despite being up against more experienced candidates, I was offered the job based upon my 'dedication', 'commitment' and 'outright nerve'! I ended up learning the trade on the job, and over a decade later, I'm still in IT.

What do you consider your greatest IT achievement of the last 12 months?

I have created my own piece of technology, R;pple which has interrupted over 25,000 harmful online searches, and saved over 27 people from suicide. I lost my only sibling, my brother Josh, to suicide. After examining Josh's phone, I found that he had been researching techniques to take his own life via harmful internet searches. To ensure more help and support is given to individuals searching for harmful content online, I set up R;pple: a digital tool (available as a browser extension or via Wi-Fi integration) that can provide immediate support to people searching for harmful content relating to the topic of suicide and self-harm.  I couldn't ask for a more meaningful achievement than saving lives, and preventing other families from feeling the grief my family feels on a daily basis.

How do you ensure diversity is taken into account in your IT recruitment?

As a woman in technology, I am keen to ensure we are spearheading females in the IT industry. Despite only being a small charity, we are also proud to have team members that represent: LGBTQ+ community, females, males, under 30s, over 60s, UK nationals and international employees.

We ensure diversity is taken into account by opening up our job opportunities to everyone, globally, and by ensuring we are following the due diligence in terms of publicising our roles in the right way, using the correct language and terminology to be inclusive.

Which technology are you currently most excited by, and why?

I am both excited and concerned by artificial intelligence. For me, personally, I love how AI can do work to make me more productive. I work for my charity, R;pple, in my spare time, and I work for Deloitte as a Global Cybersecurity Manager full time, so anything that makes my life easier and saves me time is a huge win.

What would an outsider find the most surprising part of your job?

Probably the hours I put in! A typical day for me looks like this: 07:00 - 09:30 - R;pple charity work. 09:30 - 13:00 - Deloitte work. 13:00 - 14:00 - R;pple charity work + Lunch. 14:00 - 18:00 - Deloitte work. 18:00 - 19:30 - R;pple charity work. 19:30 - 21:00 - Make dinner and take my dogs out. 21:00 - 23:00 - TV and bed! REPEAT!

What's your secret talent?

My secret talent is probably that I am a self-proclaimed artist. I love drawing, painting and I can create caricatures of celebrities and my friends!

What makes you laugh?

I absolutely love Lord Sugar's quips in the boardroom on The Apprentice TV series. Whoever writes them for him deserves a raise!