Women in Technology & Data - What role does confidence play?
Last Thursday on the week of International Women’s Day we were pleased to host our 1st Women in Technology & Data meetup for 2020 in partnership with Safety Culture.
This event built upon the previous events we hosted last year and was focused around the highly requested topic of “Confidence”.
This has kept coming up in a number of different formats including having the confidence to get your ideas across, to have a voice in a meeting, to position yourself for that next promotion or simply to just bring your best self to work.
Following a similar structure to previous events, we began the night mingling with some drinks and nibbles before gathering to listen to a panel of senior female leaders give advice and learnings from their careers thus far. We were privileged to be able to invite May Lam (CIO, Assembly Payments) back for another event. An early sponsor of our series, her ongoing support is much appreciated.
We were also joined by Beenish Sami (Head of Engineering, Practera) with our very own Helen Lovering (Head of Transformation and Technology, Morgan McKinley) as MC.
Both spoke in detail of the beginnings of their careers and how in the process of going outside their comfort zones found confidence and the opportunities to push forward in their careers.
Questions discussed included:
- Would you describe yourself as a naturally confident person?
- Can you think of a time where a lack of confidence has been a challenge in your career?
- What have you done to help you overcome these situations?
Advice from female leaders in Technology
Clear themes emerged from the panel discussions amongst the speakers including that diversity of background can also bring diversity in thought and to see this as a positive not a negative. Both May and Beenish agreed that understanding yourself and the true value you can bring to both your team and whole organisation is a key tool to increasing your confidence.
In the second half of the event we moved into a workshop with Gill McLaren, an international business leader who draws on her 30 years of corporate experience in c-suite level roles at Coca Cola to help people create their best life.
Following her “Think. Plan. Live” method the workshop allowed everyone to gather with a group of like minded women to discuss what was most important to their central being - values and key personal strengths. It was interesting that across the room, most females easily identified their personal values but struggled to confidently assert their personal strengths.
As a female working in Tech recruitment this is definitely something I see consistently when speaking with both female and male candidates. The female candidate will mostly down play her experience and can at times struggle to identify her key individuals achievements within a role.
I think this piece is key for females whether in the early stages or high up of their careers to take time to identify your strengths and play to that. As Gill discussed there is consistent research that confirms individuals perform better when focusing on their strengths rather than their weakness’.
Thank you to everyone who both participated and came along to the event, with a very special thank you to Rachael McVean (CFO, Safety Culture) who sponsored the event and to speakers May Lam (CIO, Assembly Payments) and Beenish Sami (Head of Engineering, Practera). We hope to see you all at the next event in June (venue to be confirmed).