Despite studies that prove a clear correlation between gender diversity and corporate performance, we still see a lack of women in executive roles in the IT industry. Nida Siddiqui, FDM’s Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator of North America, looks into why there aren’t more women at the top and what can be done to change that.
FDM’s Toronto centre hosted a panel event entitled Women in Leadership: Elevating the Voices of Young Talent. We spoke with panellists who are breaking barriers in the world of tech. These established professionals provided some insight on practical ways that women can advance their careers and make their voices heard in the workplace.
Thank you to our panelist contributors for this post:
- Wendy Murphy– VP, Channels Technology Solutions at TD
- Jennifer Stott– SVP, Investor & Treasury Services IT at RBC
- Eva Wong– Co-Founder and COO of Borrowell
Be confident in sharing your ideas
Women are sometimes hesitant to use their voices, especially when providing a perspective that others may not agree with. Eva Wong from Borrowell stresses that you should continue to share your opinion. Remember that your thoughts and ideas are important and that organisations benefit from a diversity of viewpoints.
Support what you say with statistics
A reminder that Eva made was that, whenever possible, you should share data and research that supports the point you are making. You will prove that you are knowledgeable on the topic and you will be more confident in sharing your viewpoint, especially if it goes against the majority.
Jennifer Stott from RBC says to “own your life and don’t apologise for it.” We all have many responsibilities outside of work – picking up children from school, caring for sick family members, taking a pet to the vet. Work to break the habit of apologising for carrying out these important life tasks.
Body language is just as important as spoken words
“Enter tall and with purpose, take space at the meeting table with neutral posture, sit forward and make eye contact, and project an open and friendly demeanour,” says Wendy Murphy from TD. Do not underestimate the impact you can make by being aware of your body language and how you present yourself.
Have a strong online brand
Your online profile can help elevate your voice in the industry. Participate in conversations on social media with awareness and to make sure your LinkedIn profile is accurate and up to date.
Build a network of professional and personal supporters
“Find local babysitters, family members and friends who you can call on in an emergency, friends to help you maintain balance, coaches/mentors to be a sounding board, and create a list of where to get healthy meals fast for when you just can’t or don’t want to cook,” says Jennifer. “We all need help. Everybody’s needs for support will be different, but anticipate them and know where you are going to turn before you need it.”
It’s on all of us
Eva Wong says, “It’s not just on women to make their voices heard; it’s a two-way street.” It’s everybody’s responsibility, regardless of gender, to be willing to listen respectfully and take time to acknowledge and understand the diverse ideas and opinions around them.
FDM is proud to be leading by example in our efforts to create a more gender-balanced workforce. Apply to one of our worldwide academies today