At License Dashboard we are, and always have been passionate about creating and maintaining a diverse place of work. One of our employees has been working with the Women in Technology Community by building a space where women can support each other, share advice and work to narrow the gender gap.
We asked some esteemed women within the IT industry to tell us a bit about their experiences within the workplace. Here’s what Rebecca Horton of Ceridian said:
When did you first start in the IT industry and what drew you to it?
It was 2008 and after living in the USA, I moved back to Canada and found a job at a reseller (Acrodex). I was hired into an Inside Sales AM role, and quickly discovered that my background in Insurance and Law gave me the ability to be able to understand and disseminate licensing contracts. I loved learning about how organizations were using technology and it made me feel like I was an extension of their team – helping customers, and people is something I’ve always been passionate about.
As a woman, have you faced any challenges within working environments?
There’s been a few times where there was some awkwardness, and I found it hard to connect inside the ‘boy’s club’s’ of IT. Thankfully, only one or two really bad experiences where I was feeling ‘ignored’ in a situation and my male counterparts were clearly included above myself. However, I’ve always found that the best way to counter these kinds of situations is to 1) listen 2) speak confidently about subjects where you know your stuff and 3) never be afraid to defer to someone who knows more. In this way, I’ve always been able to gain respect of my peers, regardless of their sex.
It’s now well known that a lot of industries have been highlighted due to pay gaps between men and women, do you think this is the same within the IT industry?
I think that in general yes, but in my area of IT, which is ITAM – it’s not as significant. I actually have worked with a lot of women in ITAM specifically. And myself, I’ve always done everything I can to make sure that the teams that I work with, and who report to me, have fair and equitable pay. Additionally, I think a big part of it comes down to the organization and not just the industry. You have to make a conscious decision to work for companies, and work with people, who share your passion, and your values. In many cases, when interviewing for a new role, I’m interviewing them, just as much as they are interviewing me.
In recent years there has been an influx of women in all workplaces, but it’s not equal to men, I read somewhere that men are 30% more likely to be promoted to a managerial position than women. Why do you think this is and what can organizations do to prevent discrimination and maintain equality when looking at hiring, salaries and promotions?
I think that as women, we don’t do enough self promotion. We sit back and wait to be noticed – it’s from being taught to be demure, humble, and in the worst cases, passive. However, what makes us great leaders is that we are carers first. We put the needs of our teams ahead of our self.
In order to avoid it, or fix it, organizations must look at the data. Do reviews, and swallow the hard pills. If you’ve had bad practices in the past, do something about it. Making fairness, equality, and meritocracy be part of your culture makes you a better company – no matter what industry you’re in.
What makes us great leaders is that we are carers first.
What resources and support are available for women in IT?
15 years ago, and since then, I’ve had the benefit of being surrounded by peers and leaders who were incredibly supportive and generous with their knowledge and time. Now, I think that finding a group of people that you connect with, on any forum, is very important. And find a mentor – throughout your career you’ll have different needs. Mentors can help you navigate this. And you may need different mentors, at different times.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt as a women in the IT industry?
I’ve learned so much – but probably the best is to consider yourself as a brand. It’s up to each and every one of us to self promote, own your journey, and be responsible for the direction your career takes. If you don’t find the opportunity you want; create your own!
What is your favourite part of working in the IT industry?
The people – and the travel! I’ve visited 13 countries, lived in 3 countries, and met hundreds of amazing, intelligent, insightful, and inspiring people.
What’s the biggest professional challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?
Juggling family and work. Being there for my kids, my family, and my partner, while still making the time to build my brand, take training, attend conferences, as well as projects and day to day work. Thankfully, as the industry has matured, it’s become easier to work any time, any where – and I’ve been able to find ways to bring my family with me and blend work and personal – making business trips into vacations!
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to women starting out in the IT industry?
Where ever you start in this crazy big world of IT, you are going to have a million opportunities to find your calling and your true passion. Don’t be afraid to follow new paths, circle back, forge new ones – just have a great time doing it!
Don’t be afraid to follow new paths
Keep an eye out for the next blog in the Women in Technology series and if you would like to take part, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.