Last week, Lorien sponsored Reframe Women In Tech (Reframe WIT), paying for childcare to give more women the flexibility to attend the event. Led by Beckie Taylor, Co-Founder of Tech Returners, the event focused on bringing together a community of tech experts to reframe the narrative around women in technology through positive action, all based in the North West’s thriving tech community.
Below, we’ve captured our key takeaways from the three streams across the event.
Claire Reckless kicked off this stream with a talk on the Imposter Syndrome – a phenomenon which makes highly successful women doubt their own ability, fearing that both success and failure will lead to discovery. So, if you’ve ever felt that your success is undeserved, or your knowledge overestimated – you aren’t alone!
Yet, for Reckless, it was important to recognise that nobody’s knowledge is all-encompassing. To overcome imposter syndrome, Reckless suggested giving back to the community by teaching; making yourself intentionally uncomfortable to help you realise your potential and to stop comparing yourself to others.
The panel discussion focused on how to be a leader. Building a culture of trust where people could bounce positive ideas off each other was considered important. As was empowering teams to realise their full potential by relinquishing control, while having regular affirmative conversations and providing support.
From being an ally and giving back to the community to acting as a role model for the next generation, the panel emphasised the value of mutual collaboration. Meanwhile, the afternoon sessions focused on empowerment and confidence in your potential.
An energetic presentation by Penny Haslam saw the introduction of PIE – the key to powering your profile. According to Haslam, to raise your profile, 25% of your energy should go to performance (P), 25% to your image (I) - both self-image and external image - and 50% on your exposure (E).
Often, we focus so much on performance perfection that we forget the importance of self-confidence. Haslam recommends thinking about promotion not as showing off but almost as running an election campaign by focusing on identifying needs, offering solutions, and addressing it to the people that need to know.
By having confidence in your expertise, there is no reason to think you shouldn’t be invited on panels, asked to write guest articles, or be interviewed on TV or radio, she reasoned. In the panel, speakers addressed careers in technology.
While barriers to entry - confidence crises, being put in ‘soft skills’ boxes within technology (e.g. project management), lack of flexibility, and being singled out as different - still existed, the consensus was that it was all worthwhile to be successful in a role and an industry you enjoyed.
Panellists recommended the route to getting ahead was gaining confidence by talking at events, upskilling, learning from the community, and clearly evidencing your ability for every promotion.
There were also some harsh truths. Salary dips could be a reality. And, if all else fails, when you hit the glass ceiling, be prepared to start on your own. Throughout the afternoon, talks focused on the experiences of women who had forged their way in the technology industry – and their personal success stories.
Technology Today and Tomorrow
While Anubhi Khandewal talked the audience through the industry trends of past, present, and future, the panel discussion turned to technology in education. The panel largely agreed that there was a disconnect between the education system and the commercial need for technology.
It was felt that skills for an ever-changing world of tech - like curiosity or creativity - were not nurtured by the existing standardised curriculum. According to one panellist, technology is an enabler and we are only held back by our inability to rip up the rule book.
By creating a culture where no idea is a bad idea and where creative learning is encouraged, groups will be able to build new, diverse ideas by bouncing off each other from different vantage points.
In the afternoon, guests were able to explore the emerging tech trends of augmented reality and blockchain, as well as listening to Sarah Martin’s call to action for greater tech purpose in business. According to Martin, as technology is so intrinsically tied to success - from external customer satisfaction to internal communication - knowing how to optimise tech should be an operational imperative; regardless of role, status, or department.
Yet, how many businesses consider tech core to their business strategy? And how many companies are confident that their people are tech and cyber-savvy? Interestingly, this point is echoed in our recent whitepaper ‘A Brighter Future’, which you can download for free.
Martin concluded that in business today everyone is a technologist and, as a result, HR should be assessing comfort and agility with tech in future hires. Leaving tech application to IT or procurement alone won’t cut it anymore. Wondering how to assess? Lorien can help you – see our range of solutions.
The day wrapped up with a talk from Stacey Copeland, a professional boxer and footballer and founder of the Pave the Way project which challenges gender stereotypes to spark social change. With a light-hearted delivery on a serious subject, it was the perfect call to action of the day – a reminder that every attendee could improve things for the next generation. And importantly, we should.
Wondering about our future events? Check out our ‘News and Events’ to find out what we’ll be hosting next. Or see our ‘Industry Insights’ for more takeaways from recent events we’ve attended or hosted.