Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

From aviation to digital: businesswoman is in line for business award

Lara Barnes


A businesswoman who enjoyed one high flying career in aviation before embarking on a second in technology is in the running for an award.

Lara Barnes, business development manager with leading website and Highworth-based software development company Digital Trading, has been nominated for a Women’s STEM award at the Women’s Business Conference 2019.

The conference is run by Women’s Business Club and the STEM award recognises the outstanding contributions of woman in STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The winner will be announced at the conference in Cheltenham on December 4.

Lara, 34, from Highworth, said she was thrilled to have been nominated, and proud that her two careers showed what women could achieve in traditionally male-dominated industries.

“I was surprised but honoured to have been nominated,” said Lara, who is a lone parent, juggling her career with looking after her two boys, Thomas, aged six, and Joseph, three.

“As a single mum I think it’s really important to show what can be achieved and to have a career that I and my children can be proud of.”

Lara embarked on her first career at 17 when she fulfilled her long-held ambition to join the RAF. After her basic training, she moved into flight operations and became an air traffic controller at Brize Norton.

In 2007, Lara left the RAF and her upward career trajectory continued. She moved into operations in private aviation at Oxford Airport, becoming responsible for a fleet of aircraft and a large workforce.

It was only when Joseph was born that she took a mini career break, but even then threw herself into a new enterprise. Before joining Digital Trading in 2018, Lara had been running a successful crafting-based enterprise.

Now Lara is loving getting to grips with a second career in technology and immersing herself in the digital world. At Digital Trading, the team focus on software solutions that can save time and effort within a company, as well as lead to increased business growth and sales – something that greatly appeals to Lara’s entrepreneurial spirit and business brain.

“I joined as office manager originally, but I could see what great work the team here at Digital Trading do, and I knew I could help develop their client base,” she said.

“I really enjoy learning all about the technology world alongside understanding how an App can change the way you work – before I joined, I barely knew what coding meant! It just shows what doors can be opened if you knock on them.”

Women’s Business Club is a national network of businesswomen who are either business owners or working at a senior level within an organisation. WBC’s mission is to help women succeed in their professional lives through empowerment, support and the collective experience of the membership.

Anyone wanting to vote for Lara can do so at https://www.womensbusiness.club/stem-award/