How Opsview is working with partners to promote women in technology - a notoriously male dominated industry.
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International Women’s Day: An interview with Opsview’s female VPs
Happy International Women’s Day one and all!
To mark this occasion, we sat down with Opsview’s female VPs to hear their views and observations about being powerful females working in the IT industry. There seems to be a lot of discussions about female rights in the workplace, and we can only feel excited about what the next few years will bring (hopefully won’t involve burning bras again...)
What is your role at Opsview and how long have you worked here?
Vicki: VP People – just over 1 year.
Helen: I’m VP of Marketing – I joined Opsview in October 2018.
Lynda: VP Finance & Operations. I have been with Opsview for over 10 years.
What does your role entail?
Vicki: I help people be happier at work so they’re better at it!
Helen: I’m responsible for a great global team of marketers. Together, we’re charged with driving lead generation for sales pipeline via integrated marketing, brand awareness, PR, analyst relations and our Opsview website.
Lynda: I am responsible for the financial health of the company.
Can you tell me about a female role model who has inspired you over your career?
Vicki: Sheryl Sandberg – she seems to me to hit the sweet spot I aspire to; being human AND successful.
Helen: A wonderful lady called Monica Visconti-Patel impacted my career; she has to be one of the most driven individuals I’ve ever met. Her work ethic, vision and passion have stayed with me ever since.
Lynda: The lone female partner (out of twelve) in the first business I worked for, demonstrating that you can always be the first.
How have you found being a woman, working in IT?
Vicki: Ok for me. I think I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t experienced a lot of the sexism (blatant or subtle) that others have. Or maybe I come across as someone who simply wouldn’t take it – I’m not sure!
Helen: I’m kind of in IT but I’m not. By that I mean, I work in an IT organization but typically a marketing team has more female members than male. I’ve always been treated as an equal and wouldn’t want to be treated differently.
Lynda: A lonely place in the early years.
In your opinion, does the glass ceiling exist for women in the tech industry?
Vicki: It absolutely does. It’s so hard to balance having a family and a career – we’re overly grateful for small flexibilities that enable us to juggle, and don’t push for further promotion because we’re worried those flexibilities will go away...
Lynda: Not necessarily a glass ceiling, but I have first-hand stories of women who found the industry couldn’t provide them with the work life balance they needed, and so they left the industry.
Do you think enough is being done to promote women in the workplace?
Vicki: There is A LOT going on at the moment, but the results are not there yet. Oh to live and work in Iceland!!!
Helen: I think over the last couple of years, there’s definitely been more awareness around women in Tech and more effort on education for young female students on STEM. IT companies are also investing in this education by allowing employees to have volunteer days to go into schools and teach STEM lessons.
Lynda: There is always more to do – looking at how we work and challenging the stereotypes around that is important.
Do you think it's important to have an International Women's Day?
Vicki: Absolutely. We need to champion our female colleagues in the workplace to provide great examples to the next generations.
Helen: I’m on the fence with this; there’s so much media attention on the #MeToo movement that the International Women’s Day could be overshadowed and lose the meaning behind its intention. I do think it's right to celebrate great people that inspire and influence.
Lynda: Yes – to create debate and hear ideas on how we can improve our working practices to recruit, develop and retain these key members of our teams.
Why do you think diversity is so important in the workplace?
Vicki: Diverse teams benefit from added richness, texture and vibrancy that you simply don’t get from monolithic cultures.
Helen: Diversity for me is more than gender, race, etc. – it's about characters and personalities. A great team will be made up of different characters and as such have differences of opinions and different ways of working. All of this collectively allows you as a leader to take the best of the best.
Lynda: It’s key to getting the full spectrum of ideas, opinions and experiences.
What advice would you give a young woman looking to start working in your sector?
Vicki: Your time is now!
Helen: If that’s what you want to do then go for it! Remember when you join an organization for the first time, there will be lots of people that will tell you what to do (“this is how we’ve always done it”), but don’t be afraid to challenge it! Companies need new, fresh ideas and ways of working to evolve.
Lynda: For any sector, and for anyone aspiring to become a leader, align yourself with a mentor and an advocate (not necessarily a woman).
Lastly, which three attributes do you think are essential to be a great leader?
Vicki: Paying attention, authenticity and courage.
Helen: A leader is about delivering the vision for your team, taking everyone on that journey together and reaping the rewards as a team. It’s not about an individual or self-promotion.
Lynda: Driven, compassionate, and inspirational.