With International Women’s Day just behind us, it’s a good time to reflect on an important question it raises for our industry – why are there so few women working in technology? According to the stats, only 17% of the people working in technology are women, and we believe it’s time things changed.
Our Head of Sales and Marketing Helen Attia took part in Shine Magazine’s Tech Goddess Series, that highlights some inspiring female role models in the technology space (from page 66).
What is your specific role?
I’m responsible for business development across the company. One part of my roles I’m enjoying a lot at the moment is building out our partner program – getting the right teams aligned with what we’re doing.
What’s your background and journey to the role that you have today, focusing on the challenges and the decisions you’ve made to get where you are?
Over the last twelve years of my career thus far, I’ve been lucky enough to gain a variety of experience – living and working outside of the UK, taking on roles right across an organisation and this was very much a conscious decision, to get as diverse a range of experience as possible to determine what I enjoy, what I’m good at; where I can bring the most benefit to an organisation.
I’ve had HR responsibilities, spent time in client success and account management roles and more recently have been most focused on marketing and sales.
“There’s certainly a shortage of women coders, and it’s not only the development part of a technology organisation that suffers without greater diversity, I’d like to see more senior women in technology companies generally, working across the functions that tech and non-tech organisations require, including sales and marketing.”
What are you passionate about, is there one thing that drives you?
It’s all about the team. This is one of the key things I enjoy in growing the companies I work with, when you get to work with great people and you’re all driving in the same direction, working towards a common goal that excites everyone.
I have really appreciated the opportunity to work with such a variety of people. For me it’s about relationships and communication and that’s actually what I love about sales.
Where do you look to for a leadership and success structure?
Understanding though, that there isn’t just one way to do all of this has been an important lesson for me – realising that you can be more successful by being yourself, doing things your way, rather than trying to be someone else, or do it the way others do. I know in the early days of my career, I did think that there was a certain way of doing things and it probably slowed me down because I was forcing myself to operate in a way that wasn’t natural to me.
Women in senior roles, what’s your view point on that?
It’s a big, big subject. In the technology industry in particular there are very few female role models. Finding the freedom to be yourself can sometimes be difficult. This can be true for men too of course, not just women. It can be particularly hard for women because in general there are less women in senior positions in the corporate world and then when it comes to the technology industry, the numbers are just embarrassing, which ultimately means there are fewer examples of successful female role models.
I’ve had a fantastic ride so far working in the technology space. It suits me very well even though I’ve never worked on the development side. At Chargifi we are passionate about the future that we’re creating – what we’re doing for consumers and businesses. Our company is a great one to work for, for women and men. I think sometimes when people think of technology they think of coding. There’s certainly a shortage of women coders, and but it’s not only the development part of a technology organisation that suffers without greater diversity, I’d like to see more senior women in technology companies generally, working across the functions that tech and non-tech organisations require, including sales and marketing. When the lack of women in technology is talked about, it’s somewhat detrimental to be only talking just about those very technical roles.
So what can we do to improve that situation, what do you suggest the tech industry does to make it more attractive for women?
The start-up scene is doing quite a bit and thinking out loud, that’s possibly why I have spent a fair bit of my career so far in this space. Organisations that are built from the ground up with younger, entrepreneurial minds tend to be looking for diverse teams. Although I’d liked to believe that the vast majority of us recognise that diversity drives performance in organisations. I’d suggest that the tech industry places more emphasis on the opportunity it has to bring about real change – it’s what this space is all about and its attractive to most of us, working towards lasting change – rather than simply focusing on the detail of the technology itself.
What is success to you?
I’d say to me, success is being able to consistently achieve, hit targets, drive things forward. I’ve been able to adapt to change over the last twelve years and – because technology evolves so quickly – I have loved operating in this space and continue to be motivated by it. I would advise those at the start of their career or embarking on a new one, to try not to be anybody else, because you’re unlikely to be successful unless you’re being true to you. I’d like to give a shout out to the fab women working on the Chargifi team and our extended team – Kaja, Natalie, Juli, Sian, Shannon, Annabel and Emma!