After my last blog on how I received the Global Talent Visa endorsement in Digital Technology #TechNationVisa, I was ecstatic that my visa application has now been approved by the Home Office only 3 weeks after submitting my application. I am now the recipient of the Global Talent Visa!

The good news seemed surreal because after 3 stressful months of working so hard to get this little card that says I can stay in the UK for 5 years, all I felt was relief. Relief that I can, for the next 5 years, focus on growing my wearable technology start up, Made With Glove, from Manchester UK. It was also a bittersweet feeling because my friends and family will have to wait a little longer before I will return to Australia to live. One day.

For those who have never been in a situation where a Government department holds the power that determines where you can live and work, my story may seem trivial.

But for those who have been in my situation, have reached out to share their own stories, offered support and for those who want to start a new life in the UK, asked questions on how they can apply for the Global Talent Visa #TechNationVisa. This is despite Brexit, despite the uncertainty that the UK faces in the wake of the results of the referendum to leave the EU.

I am hopeful that Brexit is an opportunity for reform but for now I want to share the stories of other amazing women in tech who are also recipients of the Global Talent Visa. Even though I believe all women in tech have an exceptional talent, these women chose to leave their countries too, to start a new life, a company, a new job and new adventures while these historical changes are taking place in the UK.

Brenda Della Cassa
Photo credit: Lauren Cosenza

Brenda Della Casa is from New York, a digital media strategist, the founder of BDC Digital Media, LLC and Badass + Living, the author of Cinderella Was a Liar and writer for The Huffington Post, YourTango and other publications. Brenda is the former Editor-In-Chief and Digital Media/Branding Strategist for Preston Bailey Designs and regularly mentors women in digital.

For Brenda, it was dream-come-true to receive the TechNation Exceptional Talent Visa.

“I had a bit of a self-esteem issue, I guess. I work hard, but I truly worried that I would not be qualified enough. The application standards are intimidating and most people are on their journey and only see how far they need to go, not as “a world class talent”. Still, I had so much support from Antonia Anni and women I met through Ada’s list (especially Natalie Lloyd) that I felt I had to try”.

Brenda not only tried but she succeeded.

She loves London and the UK, and is determined to do something worthwhile in the tech community in the UK alongside some of the most talented and inspiring women in the world.

“The women in tech community in the UK is so collaborative and welcoming, so diverse and international. I am deeply honoured and grateful to be a part of it and am determined to make TechCity UK glad they allowed me this chance”.

On providing advice to other applicants, Brenda recommends, and I completely agree, that you need to:

Do your research and speak to other applicants.

Know that we are all intimidated and worried and refreshing our emails 20-200 times a day.

Prepare your packet thoughtfully and expect the process to take some time. The secondary part of the application, the visa itself, is normally administrative, so if you get the endorsement, the hard part is over.

Ultimately, I believe you have to go for what you want most in life and believe that, if it is truly right for you, it will work. Go for it. Your status quo won’t change if you don’t get it, but if you do…

Incredibly inspiring, smart, determined and a brave woman to pack her bags and home to move from New York to London, we welcome Brenda to the UK and wish her every success on her new adventures in digital tech. I am looking forward to catching up with Brenda when I’m next in London to celebrate with her and reflect on the stressful journey and immigration process we endured to get to this point!

If you would like guidance and help on the Stage 1 Global Talent Visa Endorsement process or appeals, I help highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and talent increase their chances for a successful application for endorsement for exceptional promise or exceptional talent.  For all my packages of support for the Stage 1 UK Global Talent Visa, click here.

This blog was written by Michelle Hua, Consultant, Speaker, CEO & Founder of Made With Glove. In 2016, Michelle was the recipient of the Exceptional Talent Visa (now called Global Talent Visa) and is the former #TechNationVisa Ambassador.  Michelle consults for highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and people working in digital technologies on how they can receive the endorsement for exceptional talent or exceptional promise. Read Michelle’s other blogs on the #TechNationVisa here and Michelle’s own journey here.