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September 30, 2022
This week marks the 10th Annual National Inclusion Week, an initiative established for businesses and colleagues alike to reflect upon and celebrate diversity and inclusion within workplaces around the country.
The theme of this year’s event, “Time to Act – The Power of Now”, challenges businesses to reinvigorate conversations around workplace culture, identifying and implementing immediate changes that help embed inclusivity into an organisation, establishing the foundations for an environment in which individuals of all identities can thrive. This remains critical for workplaces to not only ensure colleagues feel valued but to develop conditions that inspire unique perspectives and contributions, accelerating innovation.
To celebrate at Bidstack, we sat down with members of our leadership team, including Lisa Hau – COO at Bidstack, Britany Scott – VP of US Sales (East and Central) and Sheeva Banton – VP of US Sales (West), to reflect on their own career experiences, with a lens towards the historical and ongoing barriers to entry for female talent looking to establish careers in technology.
Careers and Leadership
Opening the discussion, each leader reflected on their initial career journeys, and whether they ever imagined pursuing a leadership position within a technology organisation.
Lisa Hau, now COO at Bidstack, began her career in Sydney, Australia, on the KPMG graduate scheme prior to relocating across the world to London to pursue opportunities across a range of roles in finance, media and technology. Crediting her original graduate role, she stated, “the program set the foundations for a journey that has taken me to London where I have been able to seize a range of opportunities”. Discussing her motivations, she added, “I’ve always desired to learn and challenge myself”.
Britany Scott, who leads the US East and Central Coast sales teams at Bidstack, has grown her career working across a range of leading global mobile and agency businesses. Sharing her perspectives on pursuing leadership positions, she stated that whilst she had “absolutely hoped to expand her work up to a leadership role” she remained aware throughout that she would have to “master a variety of skills and work diligently in order to deserve a leadership position”.
Sheeva Banton, who joined Bidstack as Vice President of US West Coast Sales, explained that she had always been “fortunate enough throughout life and career to have strong women leaders who have helped pave the path to success”. Adding “Being a woman leader in the tech industry was never not an option, nor something unachievable”.
The Importance of Inclusivity
Highlighting the importance of inclusion, Sheeva kicked off the discussion by acknowledging the progress of opportunities for women in technology, achieving leadership and executive-level positions. “Women want to see other women that look like them be successful; at least for me, it’s what motivates me to strive for more and better every day”.
Exploring the direct benefits of greater female representation in technology, Britany stated, “whilst skills are more individualised than generalised by gender, I think that women tend to be amazing communicators, which is crucial for leading a team”. She further added that she feels that “women are often outstanding multi-taskers, finding ways to excel in a variety of areas at once”.
Reflecting on the importance of inclusivity in a business environment, Lisa added, “Diversity of thought and approach is fundamental across all layers of the organisational structure to drive commercial success for a business”. Referring to Bidstack, she added, “At the intersection of advertising and gaming, it is vital that customer needs are represented and addressed”.
The Barriers to Entry
A recent study by Deloitte found that in 2022 only 32.9% of job positions within a technology-related company were filled by women, with roughly only 1 in 4 leadership positions being held by women. This marks a continued steady improvement within the industry; however, it indicates the ongoing presence of barriers to entry that isolate female talent.
Exploring the obstacles of careers in technology, Britany expressed that “technology and leadership roles are complex and demanding, which provides obstacles and complexities, particularly for working parents and caregivers”. She also added that for “many women, the lack of representation and sense of the industry being male-dominated meant that technology wasn’t necessarily something included in girl’s career path options”.
Sheeva furthered this point by exploring the misconceptions of women not being as ‘tech savvy’ as their male counterparts, expressing that this may cause “women to doubt themselves”. Speaking on the progress of the industry, however, she added, “more and more companies are investing in women and providing fair opportunities, including a focus on developing education about gender biases and holding those who exclude women more accountable”.
Highlighting her experiences at Bidstack, Lisa stated, “We are extremely proactive about attracting and retaining talent by implementing an inclusive culture, leading by example with senior positions held by women and active mentoring”. She added that it was important to advocate further for the opportunities in tech across commercial, marketing, product, software engineering, finance and human capital roles, to enable better access to an industry that “provides a catalyst for career development”.
Future Female Leaders
Closing the discussion, our leadership team explored the future of representation in technology, providing insights from their own career journeys to inspire the next generation of female leaders.
Sheeva highlighted the importance of “being focused and organised”, adding that individuals should be “open to learning and look for solutions, not problems, stay motivated and surround themselves with like-minded goal-oriented individuals”.
Reinforcing the importance of support networks, Lisa added, “a common theme throughout my career to date is the power of networking and making the effort to build a trusted circle of support. The connections on a professional and personal level have helped me excel during times where the path did not seem obvious or when I simply needed encouragement”.
Reflecting on her own career journey, Britany underlined the importance of divergent thinking, stating, “just because something has been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean that is the right way. Hold strong to your skills, ethics and morals. Expand your knowledge, be flexible in your approaches and lead by example”.
We don’t need leaders who teach us how to lead, we need those who show us through experience and help guide us to new solutions, finding ways to adapt and grow every day”.