Lessons in leadership from three women in technology

Lessons in leadership

Is it just me or is the subject of women in tech everywhere right now? When you look at the statistics, let’s face it, it’s time we talked. A recent study published by IT recruitment company, Spring Technology, discovered that only 16.4% of roles in the IT & Telecoms sector were held by women, and within this minority group, only 3.6% worked at a Director level.

The global statistics for Salesforce are marginally better – but still only 15% of the leadership team are women.

So given these stats, finding three impressive women speakers for our ‘Leading Women in Tech’ event could be considered something of coup. The real coup however was getting such a great level of leadership expertise in one room, which went far beyond the remit of ‘diversity in tech’  – our speakers were role models by any measure.

We heard first from Damilola Erinle, Senior Regional VP of commercial industries at Salesforce.com. Dami referenced Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean-in, as a significant influence on her career. Her advice was to learn to trust your abilities, and drive your own career forward based on the knowledge you have of your own strengths. She also spoke about the importance of adopting career mentors.

Next up was Simone Barratt, the CEO of dotDigital Group Plc. Simone success formula was this: always take on a career challenge that daunts you, then surround yourself with the people you need to deliver. On the note of hiring the best people, hire for attitude above skill, as skills can be learnt along the way.

Finally, we heard from Jaya Chakrabarti MBE, CEO of digital agency, Nameless, whose passionate advocacy of digital projects has led her to a range of leadership roles in commercial and community projects in this city and beyond. Her message was that encouraging women to take on career challenges begins early – in fact it starts in childhood. If we are to improve diversity, we need to start now, by talking to the next generation before they start to self eliminate from certain career choices (typically scientific or technical).

It was a very valuable opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and insight of these three leading women, gathered on their route to top. You can read a little more about what Salesforce are doing specifically to get more women into the boardroom, in Jenny’s recent blog post on this subject.

If you’d like to explore the research on the gender imbalance in tech, we have some copies of the research findings, conducted by one of our event sponsors, Spring Technology. If you would like to email me at [email protected] I will make sure that you get a copy.

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of our event sponsors, IT recruitment company Spring Technology, email marketing specialists dotmailer, and Salesforce for their support of this event, and of course to our three speakers for sharing their inspirational leadership insight.

Lessons in leadership
By Amy Grenham
22 April 2015
ForcewestThe Good Systems Blog

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