Published: 03 January 2019
Just before the festive season, I visited an Immersion Programme from EY in collaboration with Henley Business School after being championed by our Head of HR for this programme.
This was a 4 day programme with a packed curriculum and an impressive line up of speakers as well as participants. Within those 4 days, we immersed ourselves in topics such as Data Analytics, Robotics and RPA, Blockchain as well as AI; however, the underlying mission of this programme was to empower women either who are already in leadership roles within tech or who are aspiring with an opportunity to network and ultimately become each other’s support network.
Throughout the 4 days, we discussed some problematic topics, such as the ever so slim pipeline of young women in technology. Within the UK tech industry, we currently have only 17% women and an ever so embarrassing pipeline of 7% of young women aspiring to pursue a career in technology. There’s a gender pay gap of women being paid 25% less than their male counterparts, even though the equal pay laws were past 50 years ago, it is estimated that it will take us another 38 years to reach true equality in this matter.
Fundamentally, one of the key takeaways was the need for women in technologies to support one another, to champion one another, similar to what my Head of HR did by championing me to attend this course, and be proactive rather than reactive with career plans and ambitions, as well as vocalisation of such career expectations; all this to ensure our personal career trajectory is not lagging behind our fellow male counterparts.
When reflecting on the programme, I realised my need to approach a champion for myself and my career aspirations. This person does not necessarily have to be in the same organisation, but should be someone that you aspire to, can learn from, that can leverage for you and on your behalf.
I am innately very private and not the type of person to make a lot of noise about myself and my achievements, but hearing and seeing women, who are leaders in the industry and are role models talk about the importance of grooming your own brand and making your voice heard made me realise the importance of this.
Throughout my career, I have always been aware that the biggest growth moments are these that push us to our limits and make us uncomfortable because we have to reach outside of our comfort zone and stretch ourselves.
For myself, I feel this last hurdle is making myself known better, and heard more. I think we as women think that if we work hard enough someone will take note of our efforts and reward us but the reality of it is, that we have to be our own advocates at times and know when to reach out and ask for help to leverage our careers to the next level by reaching out to the people that want to champion for us.
Thank you to EY and Henley Business School for a fantastic 4 days of learning, reflecting and growing, and thank you to Claire (Head of HR) for nominating me for this programme.