How to empower progressive women to thrive in technology
Hello and welcome. It's wonderful to have so many people join us for our fourth webcast in the Women in Technology series. The reaction to the first three have been incredible and created huge amounts of engagement, so it delighted to follow them with this fourth webcast. Just a quick intro. My name is Richard Parker. I'm a partner. E.y.
Leading on leadership and culture across financial services and had a previous career working in elite sports across nine Olympics and Paralympics. But probably more importantly for this, I've been led by and hopefully an ally for many fantastic women leaders throughout my career. And today we're going to explore the topic of championing and empowering progressive women to help them thrive in the technology field. We'll hear about real experiences of women in technology and discuss how we can improve representation of females in technology across all levels.
It's a huge privilege to be hosting what's lined up to be a huge, insightful, an eye opening set of questions with a fantastic panel and a guest. We'll discuss. Women in technology driving their own career, breaking down barriers to make women in technology successful, championing women in technology and enabling successful women in technology. And it was interesting to learn in recent studies that the big tech companies itself, women make up barely over a third of the workforce.
And another issue is around visibility. Women are often tasked with invisible work, such as day to day tasks that maintain the status quo and get credit for being diligent but not strategic. What's more, in a McKinsey study, we noted that gender disparity can emerge as early as the first promotion opportunity. So women account for 48% of entry level hires, but only 38% of first level managers. Another report that women of color only make up 4% of the competing workforce and almost no senior leadership roles, despite making up 16% of the general population. Numerous studies have shown that diversity at the workplace not only improves the work culture, but has a direct impact on the profitability and productivity of a company.
So it made me think, how is it possible that there are millions of women around the world that are on the fringe of the workforce, even if their contributions and capabilities are vital? What can be done to close the gender gap as soon as possible? As with previous sessions, our intention is not to drive a policy debate here, but rather share a range of real world experiences and personal views from a range of talented leaders in their fields. Progressive women in technology workplace need to be empowered, thanks to a wider industry awareness and to concrete action to address gender inequality. Businesses need to embed diversity and inclusion into company culture from day one.
One way businesses can do this is by hiring female leaders early in their reception. It's important that women see other women in senior roles because it shows that an organization values diversity. So let's set up today's discussion and introduce our fabulous panel for incredible leaders.
I want to introduce you to. So firstly, introduce Lyn von Westin, housing managing director, leading operations and technology function in Continental Europe in March. Then has accountability for a team of more than 1500 colleagues, leading development and implementation of strategies critical to achieving operational excellence and driving profitable revenue growth.
She brings more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry and variety of tech sectors. Lynn is a passionate and inclusive leader who understands how every colleague can contribute to company wide transformation. She combines strong technical skills and knowledge with a deep understanding of change management and organizational behavior. Then we have Kanika Seth EMEA, FSO Consulting, cybersecurity leader with more than 20 years experience in delivering cyber security engagements and working closely with regulators to provide thought, leadership and market insights to the industry.
She has significant experience in working with boards and executive committees, bringing deep expertise in evolving cybersecurity. Regulatory expectations can make it also accountable for a number of iwi diversity, inclusion and inclusiveness initiatives, including several women in technology initiatives. She's very passionate about and I and works with multiple local charities and nonprofit organizations which target the causes of inequality and help people from diverse backgrounds develop their skills and confidence to enhance employability. Our third panelist is Riccardo Hough, the program director, Roma Transformation and the CEO management team at General Insurance Responsible for the program Roma for the transformation of the life and non-life business. With over 25 years experience either provider of insurance, software or insurance companies. She has a rich experience in development, rollout and integration of insurance software and maintenance related packages.
During her career, Riccardo has extensively led teams in multicultural environments and a proven track record in people transformation programs. And finally, Sarah Schmidt, Sales Director, Insurance SAP. Leaving a transformation to cloud and digitization with insurance customers in Germany. Managing Change in Employee behavior, Mindset and skill. Sarah started her professional career in the technology industry in 2007, with IBM focusing on sales. Lastly, leading the IBM AI sales business for mere.
Sarah is a passionate, pragmatic and empathetic leader with advanced experience in building market resonating strategies in pragmatic and in value built based selling to clients and in building, transforming and leading large diverse into cultural sales teams. That's quite a panel. So what we're going to do is focus on personal experience and insights into how to empower progressive women in technology and then move on to the organizational questions.
But we'd love you as the audience to help me drive this. So if you do have any questions, please pose them in the chat box and I'll try and pick up as many as we possibly can. But that's enough show for me. Let's get onto the really important people, and that's the panel. So, Lynne, you're consistently being recognized for the great work and change that you lead across the globe.
I'm really interested in what helped you develop your brand in the IT world. Thanks, Richard. And thank you for including me in this great panel today. I'm very honored to be here and to share my experiences. So I have to be honest with you, building a brand I think is a lifetime worth of work.
So I'm I'm happy to share with you how I'm continuing to build it. So one of the first things I think I started to do when I started my career is right away I started to build credibility by real life experiences. And I was pretty lucky when I started my career.
I started at Chubb Insurance Company of Canada. They got me involved right away. And I'm going to show my age here in a second in a voicemail initiative. They had never had voicemail in the company. And they gave me this project and I was nervous and I thought, But what a great experience. You know, I don't know anything about doing this, but I get to work with a vendor, I get to learn all of this, and off I went.
And I got coaching along the way and I was able to deliver it on time and I got to meet a vendor and had all these great experiences. So I really had to start building credibility. And then as I started getting more confidence and showing that I could deliver, the company started to give me more and more projects. So then I ended up having an end to end fiduciary implementation and a claims implementation. And then that really started to get me going. And then one final story.
We had an internal audit and it came back quite, you know, not very good. We had a very big disaster recovery gap. And the company asked me to get involved. And instead of saying no, I don't know anything about disaster recovery.
I said yes. And then I went and bought a book. It was the most boring book I had ever read in my life. And I put helped the company put together a disaster recovery plan. And so from all of those stories I just told you, what it helped me do is start to know the environment, learn trends of my industry, really gain firsthand experience.
And then as I was gaining all this firsthand experience, I was building a network, I was collaborating, I was building peers, I was meeting vendors. I was getting to know new partners to work with. And once you start to do that, you really create and you start to create a brand for yourself and in your industry that you work on. And then I started to realize and create goals for myself to say, Now I want to join conferences and I want to be part of learning what's going on outside, even outside of my industry. And then as I got to meet more people and develop more of a network, they actually started to ask me to speak at events.
And, you know, honestly, it was a little bit nerve wracking. And sometimes I thought, you know, I have enough work as it is, but you have to say yes to these opportunities so that you can continue to build your brand and develop your reputation as a leader. I love those stories and it was very interesting. As you said, you're nervous twice in that story. And so what is it that enabled you to say, okay, I'm going to do it, I'm going to move forward now, I think to build a career, you have to be a little bit of a risk taker and actually get out of your comfort zone. If you're always in your comfort zone, you won't grow as an individual and be very start feeling confident that you can do more, you can do these other things.
And and I think the most exciting times in my career is when I get that pit in my stomach and I start to think, Oh, this is this is a little scary. And then I think, yes, I must do this. Yeah. And and were there people that maybe along the way they helped? You talked about getting some coaching, reading books? Yeah.
So, you know, I had a great mentor for many years, and in my career it was the boss I had. And then I also had a great CEO that I worked with that that really gave me a platform to stand on and continue to believe in my ability to deliver. And, you know, every year I was taking, you know, whether it was, you know, standardizing processes or something in not learning something that of the up and coming new technologies or how to the people.
It was always in my personal development that I took quite seriously. And then some years when the company wasn't investing and then I bought books, you know, and read them, too, to keep up on the trends. Wonderful.
Thank you. Let me bring Kanika into the conversation. So I know you're a real driving force on this particular topic, so I'm interested in how you're driving the necessary change in technology for women to succeed and maybe what's helped you through this. I thank you very much. And it's it's absolutely great to be here. So firstly, thank you for having me on as well.
And I mean, driving change is the big words on there. And in terms of what we're looking to do in technology and I mean, there's a lot that we do as an industry, there's a lot we do across the market. But of course there's also a recognition of how much more we should be doing in this space. You know, the numbers speak for themselves as well. And we would we don't see enough women in leadership positions in technology.
And fundamentally, we don't see enough women even joining and at the sort of graduate level. And that's the one thing you know, I struggle with a little bit, which is how do we actually showcase that? How do we actually build a brand where the next generation is excited by technology And I mean the war for technology, the talent war specifically in the technology is it's opening up huge opportunities here for for women. And across every single market, every single industry. I'm not even just talking about financial services. I'm traditionally, you know, it is technology is seen as a male dominated field. So there are a variety different reasons behind it.
Lots of studies being done and but then but then that meaningful change for the next generation, for them to understand that technology can be a way to not only get into the industry you want to, but absolutely any other industry, you know, even outside, as I said, of advanced manufacturing law, absolutely anywhere. And and, you know, that's one point that I think the sort of bringing women in. But there's also the second point around, you know, when people do apply for jobs, you don't have to know everything. And I think there's a general feeling that you're either in technology or you're not, you know, you've either done a degree in technology or you're not a capable or or ready to do that sort of a technology job.
I mean, quite frankly, for me as well, I learned most of the job actually doing my job. You know, and I think there is there's got to be a recognition of that as well. And we and we need to reinforce that brand with the opportunity that technology brings and really move the dial on recruitment. So I think you do see that across the board. And I think that is something that we as an industry are doing a lot in, but obviously need to do more. I mean, the second point around changes is the point that Lynn touched on and she she brought to life and the story is beautifully so I won't repeat what she said there.
But but women do want to be 100% sure that they can execute on a role before they even apply. And I think having the confidence and, you know, ignoring the imposter syndrome and there's so much, you know, study being done on that, it is real. Yeah, but that's important that having that confidence, really knowing what's your value out then is a very competitive market. And I mean, we offer some programs, amazing programs actually around personal resilience, confidence branding for women in the technology space.
But I have to say, that's one of the things I have to personally understand myself, You know, the ability to say yes to opportunities that seem to be beyond my own self-imposed barriers. But the flipside of it is a confidence to say no, you know, and it's a really tough thing to do. So how do you actually, you know, make that happen and that change in women's and, you know, having that ability, having that confidence to do so. And and the last point is, you know, we as women in technology, we're not on this on we know we're not in this on our own.
This isn't something that, you know, just this panel and some people beyond that need to. So the need for cultural change, you know, education, advocation amplification, it's as important as ever in all organizations. And that's the change we really need to drive. Yeah, I think I really want to come back on to that education bit and how we bring that in. But I'm just really quickly that you talked about the getting enough people, women joining and the graduates in there.
Any thoughts, the things that you've done to make it appear more attractive to get more people applying? And yeah, I mean, look, we've done a lot of work on our branding and, you know, the brand of technology, not just for ourselves, but as I said, for the industry. And I think there's also, you know, we do a lot of stuff around the the, you know, the different universities and colleges and other schools to make sure that people understand what does a day in the life of a technologist actually look like? You know, it's it might not be what you actually see in in the movies or what you might perceive. And I think I think really it is about us having those conversations. So so people do have a better understanding of, you know, technology isn't just about one bit. You know, it's not just about coding. There's a much broader spectrum of activities that go into technology.
So you know, what's stopping us from having that conversation? And until we do, we're not going to move the dial. Yeah, wonderful. Thank you. So let's bring recharger in because, I mean, you've had a fantastic career, Ricardo, and showed actually how progressive women can thrive in technology.
So I suppose I'm interested in how you see that landscape has changed when you first started in technology and what more can be done though. Thank you for inviting me. I'm so happy to be here. So when when I started and it's more than 30 years ago, I started to study i.t in Germany and we were 20%, you know, 20% women, 80% men, which was a lot because if you looked at more other things in it, we had most women in my engineering areas, we had even less. And I was a member of the storage and engineering and then the Association for Engineers and we went out to the universities, we went out to the schools to really encourage more good women to join technology.
This was so years ago, a very exciting phase where we all try to push and move or get more women in. And I think we succeeded somehow, but only in some areas. So why now? 30 years ago, I was quite often the only woman working in the area in the project. It was just me, two days better running and generally a huge transformation program here in Switzerland. But we have similar projects in Spain and in Portugal and all program managers are women.
So we are three women working together and now as a form from the supply of have amazing women. But if I look at my team, I don't have 50% women in leading positions. I have one woman and nine men. So we are still all desperately looking for more women to join us to take opportunities.
The doors are wide. You only have to come and take the opportunity. I think everyone loves to have women in the position in in management position going are doing something. So there are a lot of opportunities and we do not get enough women in. And I'm sometimes really asking myself, why is that? So this, this technology thing, it's not coding. Most of the time I deal with people.
Technology is also people management. It's not that we do a lot of software things. We deal with people that should be attractive for women.
And I thought, what would we have to change? Yes. Yeah, I was going to say, do you think that's one of the reasons? Do you think they see it as the coding side of it rather than the Yes side of technology? It's not working in technology for me, 80% people and 20% say no, especially if you come to a more management position. It's it's all about moving people doing things.
And of course you move with the technology, but you deal with people. Yeah. Yeah. That's a wonderful insight. Thank you. Go on. Sorry. You want to get it finished? No, just to finish. So I say those all go with who and what we can do is, I think, make it more attractive, make each of us more attractive by giving chops with 60%. 80%.
We don't need this 100% working from 8 to 6 five days in the office anymore. So that is something we can do. Make it more flexible to perform 1 to 2, be more attractive to the jobs. Yeah, I love that. Great, great couple of tips already.
So thank you, Ricardo. All right, let's bring our last speaker in. Sarah. Yeah, I'm really interested in your sort of personal insights and experience as a leader in the technology industry.
So I suppose what's what changed the game for you in your career? Thank you, Richard. Yeah, and also it's an honor for me to be here on the panel. So thanks first of all for that. But yeah, it's an interesting question. And when I thought about it, Richard, looking back at when I started, it may be very simple now with the answer and then you may say, okay, well, if that was the game changer, then it may be easy for for all of the women, but it was all about visibility to me. So I like the story that Lynn and the others talked about, about getting credibility.
You gain credibility with experiences you make on the field, on the ground, with your clients, with your with your peers. But you may do the best of the work and it may not be seen by others. Right.
So it's really I had certainly you do have the headquarters. You may be located somewhere else. And that was the case for me when I started with IBM at that time.
So I was not located in the headquarters. And when I moved to the headquarters, I that was a game changer for me because all of a sudden I had visibility that I did not have before where I was located before. So just due to the fact that you get into conversations while going for coffee or entering the building or waiting for an elevator, I gained visibility that I didn't have before and was able to present the the good work that I'm doing, the great work I'm doing, and really get in the heads of the people when they think about organizational changes, when they think about successors for different roles. It's really interesting because certainly you aren't you may not be present, although you may be the best employee and fit for the role that they are looking for.
So I think that's one of the major things that I learned and notice. And when I look back and giving advice now to to employees in my team and also mentees, for instance, it's the advice that I always give to them. Certainly now with Karen, at times it's maybe even much more easy or much easier when you are not located in the headquarters to still try to get visibility by asking for one or one, get to know with the your boss's boss with some management level that you tend to be interested in or that you may want to develop in, that you just reach out to the different people.
And I'm sure if they are great leaders, they will take the time to have the one on one for 5 minutes to get to know you, to get the chance to pitch yourself and your story and what what work you are doing. So I think that's the advice that I give today, because I didn't I needed to learn that when I was going to the headquarters and that certainly not everybody has the possibility to go to a headquarter where your company is located. So it's really the the chance to reach out to people, ask your management to get to know other managers, to network, to to dare to introduce yourself to others, although you may not know what their positions are and really believe in yourself and have confidence of the work you are doing and shout it out to everybody that that wants to hear it. So I think that's that's a very easy thing.
But I guess that still and I see it myself in our company and with friends, even though it's still a problem of women, that they, that they work for themselves, they do great work, but they they don't let people know about it. Yeah, a lovely point again, and maybe connect to the point that Ricardo made in the last question. So as we work more remotely and there are less people potentially going into headquarters or whatever it is, maybe how not necessarily women, how they will network, but how can we all as leaders help create greater visibility for them to be able to show what great things they're doing? Yeah, I think it's there are different techniques, right, that I also established for my team. So first of all, as a manager, even it's my I see.
Does my responsible party as my kind of obligation to make women visible to upper management, to peers. So I will always share their successes, always share their development successes, whatever it may be in their career. I will make sure that they are seen. And I think that's the most important thing that you can do for your female employees, too, right? So that you give them the the platform to show themselves.
And they work, but they are certainly other techniques, too, that I've learned at IBM. And then I also establish here with SAP. So just about shadowing, about mentoring and coaching, so giving them the opportunity to get into an authentic and real discussion with coaches that are in line of businesses and at certain levels. That said, they they can benefit from one another, can benefit from benefit from. Right. So I think shadowing is very good because certainly and we talked about this before here too, that we may not be as confident in in believing in our self that we can grow into a role.
And I think that's why shadowing someone that isn't a position that you would that you may be interested in is something very good because you will see that the day may look different as you think that those people are just human beings too. They grow into their roles too. So you will have a much more profound way to to see.
Okay, that's something that I actually can do and can do in a couple of years time doing this in this development plan. So I think shadowing, mentoring, coaching, giving platform for women to network, I think that's all that you can do if it's established programs in your company or if you do it on your own for your teams and peer groups. Yeah, wonderful. Thank you. And some great role modeling by you there across trying to help other people.
And actually we've got another question which I'm going to sort of lead that on to come back to Lynne. So had a question come in about actually taking from Sarah's point, so how do we actually drive better engagement from the top to drive the right change that Sarah been talking about then do you want to come in on that one? Yeah, sure. So I'll I'll talk about a few things that I've seen other companies do, and it really depends on how large your company is. I think for really large companies, what I've seen anyways is that you could start a women's colleague network and ask your company or ask one of the senior leaders or work with h.R. And say, you know, could we do something like this to get the word out and create a network? And we did this in the company that i worked in. And they actually did a survey asking women what they felt were some of the barriers and the results.
I remember hearing this and getting the result, and at that time it was mostly male leaders that sat on the executive board. I think I was one of two women on the executive board. They were in shock. So it really created awareness and I thought that was pretty super cool. And then another thing that they did is they actually had a DNI expert come from outside of the company to talk about some of the stats.
Richard, you were even just showing earlier and what a difference it could make if we had a more balanced workforce. And then every year when we finish our total compensation rewards season, they show the promotions between male and female and how we're doing. So it's important to show progress. So having h.r. And encouraging these types of practices in an organization i think are really key to start to listen to the voice of women.
Brilliant. Thank you. And so that's starting to come into actually the next section, which is so great personal experiences are now really interested in well, what can organizations do and so you start to the couple of examples on empowering progressive women to thrive in technology. So I suppose I'll stick with Elan wisely here. So maybe interested in what are the most important skills of the future that women in technology should focus on to be successful? Okay.
Thank you so. So I feel strongly that a lot of the same skills that we need, men need to have it all have as well. Okay. So let and let me explain. Let me explain what that means.
So one of the few top skills that I feel really strongly someone needs to be successful is confidence and credibility. Okay. The first one I talked about earlier, so as I mentioned before, to be successful, you really need to build a track record of success.
If you say you're going to do something, do it. Then this way it it kind of continues to repeat themselves and you build a strong network of belief in yourself that you can deliver. And then by having the confidence really to say yes and you know, when you're being asked to take something new on or do something that, you know, you feel that you may not know how to do that well, yeah, just say yes and give it a go. Sometimes I think men feel more comfortable doing this just naturally.
And as a woman and one of the other panelists said that we want to be able to do the entire job before we can say yes. And a lot of times people have said to me, but Lynne, I don't know how well people will learn. You can learn. We need to learn how to do these things.
So have the confidence, take the risk. Say, yeah. And another big skill that we need to have is communication. We need to feel confident to speak up. Okay, How to sell your ideas, sell your accomplishments.
So I now give you a little bit of a story. So about five years into my career, I had mentioned I was given this really big project. The first big one I had in the fiduciary and claims space and I was in it was in a turnaround company and the senior leaders from Chicago were coming in.
They were all emails coming in from the top and they and I was asked to do a presentation and the night before, oh my God, I was so nervous. I thought, I don't know. I'm just, you know, I didn't want to do that shaking thing that you do when you're when you're speaking. And I wanted to come across very confident.
And then finally I told myself, I thought, I'm not going to sleep at all tonight. I told myself, Lynn, why are you thinking these people that are coming just because they're all older men, are any different than you? They have a life outside of work, they have children, they have a spouse that they probably get into fights with all the time. So, you know, it's it's the same thing. I went in there the next day with this mindset that they're no different than I am. They might look different than me, but they're no different than me. And I'm telling you, I rocked it.
I made that presentation happen. And that's when I realized you need to feel comfortable to be yourself in in and this is how you will be authentic and show your show your best self. So the last area, I would say is a strong focus on people leadership. You cannot be successful without surrounding yourself with amazing, an amazing team.
You need to learn how to win the hearts and minds and souls of the people and bring them along the journey with you. Because obviously having a team around you is super important. Yeah. Now some great points there and I think fascinating for me as a man sitting here to listen and go, okay, how do I help support people in those kind of situations and make sure that you feel confident, as you said, to say yes and you feel confident to be able to take things forward and move forward.
I've just got a question actually just come through. So why are you here? Just to carry on one question about males not wanting to report into females. Have you encountered the same challenges and have you coaching them? Okay. It's so funny you say this because when I got to Europe to two years ago, all of my direct reports were male. So I hope they feel comfortable and they're okay working for me.
So again, I think I should add that I have started to diversify and started to bring more women leaders on. I think at first when I started leading a lot of men, it was even me who had to feel confident that they were going to listen to what I had to say, you know, So so some of it goes both ways. You know, I haven't overtly felt that anyone had an issue that I can remember.
Maybe when I was really young, someone did, but I thought it was more of an age thing, not maybe not a woman thing, but, you know, maybe, maybe at times people have. But again, I would tell a woman, and that's not your issue, you know, like you need to feel confident that it doesn't matter. Woman or male. We need to work together.
Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you. Thanks again. Well, let's bring Kanika in and maybe start with that question. So I don't know if you've had a similar scenario.
So equally, the other part of the question was the person that just asked that she feels she has to work twice as hard as male colleagues to prove herself. Have you seen that or come across that? And yeah, the short answer to both questions is yes, right? I'm in a very, very similar situation with what what Lynn described, you know, initially as you're coming up through the ranks, there is a bit of hesitation when when people and you know, when men report in to you, I guess and I some of it might be cultural, some is, you know, bias, unconscious. You know, I don't think it's a it's a conscious bias in any way, shape or form. But, you know, you do of course you do have that. And I mean, women working twice as hard is an interesting concept.
And, you know, if you start looking at the barriers within any organization or structure that women would face, I think and, you know, it's sad but true. I mean, the barriers do exist. Yeah. And if if it wasn't the case, then, you know, we wouldn't be here. Right.
And and the the numbers speak for themselves. The studies speak for themselves that there are obvious things that, you know, we need to do as an industry to lift some of those barriers which result in, you know, women working twice as hard or having that cultural sort of, you know, shift where being male or female just becomes irrelevant to any conversation. And I'm, you know, hugely passionate about it. It reaching to that point. So, you know, I think that let's talk about those barriers, right? Let's not shy away from it. They they are there and and, you know, and based on my experience in the financial services industry, we do a lot of work through our women in technology networks as well.
And and one of the things I see all the time is, is know the tone from the top is there. Yeah, the words the words are there. The initiative is is extremely strong.
But sadly, the reality is on the ground the barriers do exist. So something's disconnected over there, right? We need to have open and honest conversations about that because I think I think, you know, to answer your question specifically, that the point is that because of these barriers, these things happen. Yeah. And they manifest themselves into these sorts of actions. So, you know what? You know, I'll give you examples of these these barriers. So one example is sponsorships and networking. I mean, networking is seen as a bad word, you know, insertion with certain people.
And it's not seen as a positive thing to do. But my question around the sponsorship networks and all these, etc., is do we really have equal access? Yeah, and, and typically and I don't want to stereotype you, you know, as always, but the studies again, speak for themselves. Women don't like to advocate about themselves.
They don't like to shout about what we do. You know, we sort of shy away from the branding and the networking, etc.. So how do you move the dial on that? On how do you how do you actually bring and sponsorship and networking, etc., equal, you know, and equal and beyond? What are the tools that we can use as an industry to help improve that? And similarly, what about the lived experience? You know, do we have the same lived experiences as men do? And of course, we don't, you know, we're not in the working in our working lives. So what are we doing to to advocate on to make sure that people understand the lived experiences are different and they don't have to be the same? Yeah, I mean, there's no reason for us to conform into a mode of some sort. So how do we actually make that people aware and that lived experiences are different and, and then things like unconscious bias, microaggressions, I mean, they exist. Of course they exist.
And you know, what are we as an industry to address this around, you know, knowledge comes and commitment, etc.. And it's when we actually address the fundamental barrier as is when we will actually get to the bottom of moving away those those types of issues coming up repeatedly. And again, that's my personal view based on my experience.
But there's still a lot to do in this space. Yeah, Yeah. And I think both you and Leanne have just shared some incredible stories that hopefully help with that process, that people hear the stories and go, okay, so there's some some great examples and not only helping people feel okay, also raising awareness to males as well, making us think right.
We need to be aware of these points, right? So the bias is that potentially unconscious. So you just talked about we need to make them very conscious and therefore we are more likely to do something about it. I mean, people always talk about unconscious bias. And the bottom line is, you know, people ask me, does it exist? I mean, of course it exists, right? We all have unconscious biases. The important thing around that is to understand what they are, you know, be open to it, be aware of what and by definition itself.
Right. Is unconscious. You know, you're not going to know about it. So how do you how do you actually figure out, you know, what they all what they might be? And then and then, of course, people want to address it. And, you know, having the right mechanisms to allow people to to address it is important. But as I said at the start, it's all about having those open, honest conversations. And this is a great initiative to to start these conversations.
Thank you. Let's bring Ricardo in, then again, thinking about sort of organizational, but also maybe cultural. So I'm interested in sort of cultural differences that have impacted your views on progression for women in technology. Yes. But when I worked, of course, Germany, Switzerland and all these countries, which for me is easy.
But then I moved to Asia, worked in China, I had to lead the Chinese team of developers. I worked in Japan doing software development here and I worked in someone's. It was a malaysia. It is in some context more difficult.
Yeah, especially for example, in Japan, for women in technology it is extremely difficult. But in all of these cultures, you, you, you can drive forward, you can do something, but most important that you actually do it and find male support. As we women, normally we like to network with other women. This is good. But what is working very well if you have a male support or your male peers.
So when I was reading this, I have to work twice as hard as my male peers. No, you shouldn't do that. You have made it. Peer should be on the same level and say you you are, you are in our team. You're one of us.
And every time they go out and talk to someone, they must show that you all on the equal level. So it's it's a special in these cultures, very important to find peers who support you, to find on the same level, in the same culture with demonstrate that you can do that and from from outside the city either especially if you are working in international teams, you can be role models, you can promote that, you can come and talk to the male leaders to talk to do this more, this that's looking for my experience quite. And so if you find those peers, role models, allies, what do you want them to do? What are we asking them to do that's going to help women progress in technology? So first of all. Yeah. And make that we so this is my colleague because she's on the same level. How great Carla she's doing that I am doing no difference.
Yeah. Make women we serve it as normal people not know who this is. Our special women. Now we have also one of them exotic and emotional. So, no, it's normal. It's good. Yeah.
And make that visible. And we want to have more likely because it's good to have different people in the teams and and make that we support this strong connection also know we are not women alone we are one team. Yeah I always heard great great piece male support the great male forces who are supporting work always and that helped me tremendously. Fantastic. Thank you. Yeah, I love the openness as well. Brilliant.
Sarah, I'm just going to come to you. I'm just your suggestions. And how do how do better support women in technology to be successful? Yeah I think I touched on a few is right with with programs like mentoring or shadowing and also said right if you and I know that there are still many companies that offer don't offer mentorship or mentoring, so mentoring programs, but there is nobody that holds you back to ask for a mentoring. Right. And I think that's you said it perfectly just now that there can be role models and they are role models too. And as you just said, I had male mentors that are still my mentors from IBM Times that are leading IBM globally now by now, and we still are in contact.
They're still kind of coaching me on different advices. And also when I read the questions here on that that male employees are not listening to you or are even rejecting to take any order or whatever, I think that's something that will always help you to have the right vendors that you can talk to in a very trustful environment, right? So as soon as you want to start a career look, or as soon as you enter a company, look for a mentor, look for a coach and really establish that relation and make use of it. Because always when you come up with with challenges like this and I've luckily never experienced any challenges like this, and I had teams that also were starting with just male employees and I had to make them more diverse. But I've never experienced it. But I'm sure there are so many women out there that experience that that they don't have the right support with a direct management to maybe even so, therefore, the mentor is even more important because you can, in a trust for environment, talk about those different things with them and about those challenges and how he or she would have coped with it.
And I always had male mentors that helped me a lot. Does not always need to be a woman, right? I mean, we are living in our private life with men too. We have great conversations with them, so we should do that in our professional life too, and not be shy about it because they have similar challenges. They may have different challenges, but they certainly want to make more use of diverse teams.
As you've presented Richard, in the beginning, because there is more powerful impact to an organization, and certainly I've experienced that. IBM certainly also too, that we've got female role models even, and I say even women that have families that have children. They presented themselves.
They talked about their their career paths, about their like decisions that they've made throughout their career and that have helped them to to cope with different things. So that was certainly always very good to see and helped that there is a chance to to do both, to have a family one day and to to do the career. And I think that helped a lot of women around where we had this network. That's why I always say we should establish more networking in between women. So just the women network, because it may be a more trustful environment for women to speak up in the first place. But I also like one comment from one of the panelists, too, that we should also have the discussion with our male colleagues and we should have more networking events, networking possibilities with male with talented males and talented females, putting them together, because also that will kind of erase any stereotypes that we still may have in our heads that will erase or minimize any barriers that we may feel because we more closely work together and get into this exchange and learn, Hey, we that there's so many things that different people can bring to the table and that we can be more powerful all together, that there are no barriers anymore.
And that's certainly that I experienced that, luckily, and that's something I would hope that every organization thinks about those roundtable networking events, about those opportunities for people to exchange on their challenges overall and give them training opportunities. Able men sessions with external partners how to handle difficult conversations with employees that may struggle to to follow your vision and guidance. So yeah, I think there are so many things that can be done. So could could go on for an hour from now. One of the things I picked up on from from a couple of you actually that actually the fact that we're having more of a conversation about it. Yeah. You mentioned there actually that we need to have great conversations, great discussions that we know it's a challenge, we know it's an issue and we're actually trying to be more aware and do something about it.
That sounds as though that's a good progressive movement. Okay, let's before we finish, I'm really interested because we've actually had a a question asking about what would be your tips, women starting their career in technology and not necessarily having those role models that exist. So I'm sort of asking answering that question, But also just to finish with what would be your top tip to empower progressive women to thrive in technology. So I'll come back to you, Lynn, first.
So firstly, if there's anything specific about role models, but also what will be your top tip? So the first thing I would say around role models is, is if there's no role model in the company that you work for, like a woman role model, be a trailblazer, find another role model, even if it's a male one, but someone who's progressive in their thinking, someone that you feel that that could give you the coaching and mentoring that you think you can, that you need or a platform to stand on so that you can be more recognized. Don't wait. If there's no there's no woman to take that, take that on to onto your own self. And then the top tip I would give is clearly have the confidence and the courage to say yes and to learn as much as you can and get involved. Wonderful.
Thank you. Can you can I come to you? What's your what would be your top tip? How do we empower creator empowering culture to support progressive women and actresses? You know, just to pick up on a couple of things that Lynn talked about, the role models. Yeah. And so, you know, I remember when I started my career and I had voiced my concern that there weren't any role models around, and I mentioned that to actually somebody very senior in the organization I was with. And she turned around to me and said, Why? Why would you actually put all your requirements your entire career behind one person? Yeah, you're much bigger and better than that. You need to be you need to be looking at lots of different types of role models.
You can have role models that you you learn from. You can have role models who you look at and you think, you know what? I would deal with that situation in that way and that are also role models. You learn from that. You think, I never want to be that person as well. You know, they're all role models in in fact, because you do you know, you can take lots of different lessons. You can learn from different people.
And it's when we stop learning is when is when, you know, your career typically doesn't tend to go very far very quickly. So It is just constantly having that curiosity, I think, is more important than having one person who you actually put all your your eggs into, that one basket and think, I want to be that exactly that person. So, you know, just be mindful of that. I found that really helpful in my career. The the other point, you know, got Lindsay say yes to opportunities absolutely have the confidence to but as I said at the start please learn how to say no as well. Yeah. I mean we typically you know women again to want to be careful with stereotypes but we tend to want to help people.
You know, we tend to say yes to things across the board and you know, the art of saying no is also something we should actually spend some time thinking about. You know, how do you do it? How do you how do you say it? How do you not carry that guilt around after you actually say no? But you need to prioritize yourself? You know, it's got to be the opportunities that come your way, have got to be aligned with your own agenda as well. Right? So it's learned to say yes, but learn to say no. And I personally found learning to say no a lot harder than learning to say yes. Sorry, that was two tips.
As opposed to one. Oh, thanks for that, Kanika. I think we've got a bit of a technical issue. So Richard, so let me pick up for him while hopefully he can rejoin. So appreciate both those insights. Can you go? And so can I come to you next, we will talk to.
Yeah, sure, Nina. So it's quite easy. Jump in at the deep end, Right.
So that's the the the the brace statement I want to give. So similar have the confidence that you can grow on the job. And the second, maybe even as I said in the beginning, as I felt the obligation to to help other women beyond my own team. It's not a one way street.
So I would really call for help women to help other women to help your female peers and colleagues. And it's a two way street, right? So we get stronger when we help one another. And yeah, always gives the right feedback to them. And the advice that you feel is will help them in their career.
Really. And thank you Sarah Really insightful and I there's a few points I've heard so far during the whole of the webcast, but I'm thinking about what I should be doing, especially around that role model. Please, as well. I appreciate that. And last but not least, partner, can I come to you? Feel it for the audience? Yeah.
I can repeat what everyone said. Just try it. Just do it. But also ask for things you want to have.
So if you say this job would be good for me, but hundred percent, I cannot work with the children and ask for 60% say I can do it. 60% may propose this, try to shape it to your needs and then give it a try. And if it's not working, what can you lose? You don't lose anything.
Make the next choice. So don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Don't be afraid of failures.
Just do it. Go ahead. Try it out in most of the time you will have success and sometimes you fail and then you learn from it. Stand up and start again. It's not it's not an issue to do that. The issue is if you don't lose, if you don't do anything, and if you don't ask for your rights, I see for it. And before but before it comes out.
I just wanted to to to tell you to the panel all the way down to please that you feel that you haven't had the opportunity to share on today's call that you would like to. So I'll just pause a moment if there is anything anyone would like to add. So I take silences that you have all shared all of your knowledge on today's call.
And from looking at some of the comments coming in, people have found this very valuable. They have resonated with a number of the comments as well. So I appreciate that. So only a big thank you to our panel, Lynn, Lisa Ricardo and Kanishka for a fantastic discussion at the replay will also be shared out to individuals over the next couple of days. So if you are on today's call and you think that there's some interesting points that some of your colleagues or friends or even children would benefit for, then please do share. And we will also be producing an illustration from today's conversation that pulls out some of the key topics shared by the team that will be on the LinkedIn. So please watch out for our speakers and myself and in school and Richard Park so that that can also be you feel your conversations.
We are really keen to keep this dialog going and will be looking to run our next webcast in September. We will have a short feedback form that comes up at the end and I guess keen to get feedback on the discussion. But importantly, what are some of the topics you would like us to address in the future? So I think we're going to end there. Richard sends a big apology.
He got kicked out and couldn't get back in. So sorry for those slight differences on wrap up. But again, thank you to all of those attended and our panel member.