Name: Helen Hall
Role: Managing director of Berkshire based managed security services provider AVR International
Context: Hall founded AVR in 2002 on her own at the age of 26. It provides cyber and UEM managed security services to over 200 UK customers. Before that she worked for Softcat and Axial Systems.
What are the key business benefits of having a diverse workforce?
Having a diverse workforce undoubtably adds value to us as a business. I find the diversity of working styles, points of view and ways of working allows us to challenge ourselves more, be more creative as a team and makes AVR a more fun place to be.
What's your top tip for tech providers that are serious about tackling their gender or diversity deficit?
I'd say it has to come from the top, it can't just be a policy rolled out by HR. AVR has nearly always had a 50/50 gender split, to be honest it's not something I think about too much, we just hire the best person for the job at the time.
If you have a gender deficit, I would say you need to take a good look at your business, your working culture, your selection and promotion process and look at why there is a deficit. What are the barriers to women being recruited into and progressing in your organisation? 80% of my management team is female, we are all working mothers including myself, we make sure our working practices support a good work life balance.
What is your advice to women and girls thinking about a career in the channel?
Just do it, it's an amazing place to work and as an industry it's thriving! You don't need to come from a technical academic background, don't let the very technical nature of the solutions involved scare you off! There's as much space in the channel for those that are non-technical to be successful, of which I class myself as one even after 23 years, as there is for very technical individuals. Good employers will train you in the technical side to the level required, it's your soft skills, analytical thinking ability, self-motivation and work ethic that we're all looking for.
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