Name: Alexa Greaves
Role: CEO of Chesterfield-based MSP AAG IT Services
Context: Greaves founded AAG 11 years ago
How did you get into the IT sector, and what led you to occupy your current role?
I never made a conscious decision to enter the IT Industry. As a mother of two children, I had decided to leave my career in London and move to Sheffield. However I have always been an individual who has been open to opportunity, enjoyed a challenge, worked hard and been prepared to take a risk. Starting AAG was that risk. Not only was I not from a technical background, I was in another male-dominated industry which initially I found hard. But today, 11 years on I am the CEO of a thriving MSP in what is a fairly saturated market. However, it is a growing industry and I am lucky to work with a fantastic and dedicated team who allow me the freedom to focus on growing the business and not get heavily involved in the day-to-day operation.
Career highlight so far:
There is not one significant moment. This is my personal journey, developing a business from the ground up and the transition that both I and the business have been through during this time. There have been many ups and downs and steep learning curves but I can look back and be proud of what we have achieved as a team. I really am grateful for the exceptional team I work with.
Who is your role model?
I don't have a famous role model but I definitely look back at my mother with a huge amount of admiration and respect. I wish I had developed her passion for reading earlier in life. I now get so much out of books that have been recommended to me.
I have also met so many people along the way who have given me their words of wisdom and experience.
Do you think the IT industry's gender diversity deficit - and diversity deficit more widely - warrants highlighting?
Absolutely. If we do not continue to highlight this and keep it at the top of the agenda we will lose focus on addressing this very important issue.
What are the key business benefits of having a diverse workforce?
A business with a diverse team will have diverse thought processes and creative problem-solving techniques that assist in overall performance. It is well documented that men and women approach tasks very differently and having a balanced work force allows for a varied and considered approach.
What's your top tip for tech providers that are serious about tackling their gender or diversity deficit?
Having good intentions is not enough. If there is to be a sizeable longer-term positive shift then tech companies need to come together and deal with the route cause of why there is a gender or diversity deficit. Apart from tackling the issue of why women do not stay in the industry they must also tackle the issue of the reluctance for women to enter the industry in the first place. There needs to be a network of female role models who can positively influence those considering tech as a career working with educational establishments to drive change and demonstrate the opportunity that this industry offers.
What is your advice to women and girls thinking about a career in the channel?
Technology is a broad sector with a wide variety of career paths and a huge amount of opportunity. Understand the options available to you. In the connected world that we live in, make sure that you research and connect with thought leaders who inspire you. Be confident in your ability and don't hesitate to ask questions. If you are able to get experience take the opportunity.
How has Covid impacted the diversity debate?
The focus on diversity has inevitably taken a step backwards as a result of the economic and structural challenges that many organisations have faced through the last year as a result of COVID-19. I don't believe that this is a conscious decision but more driven by the need to focus on other strategic priorities and the changes required to meet the demand of new working practices.
Who is your career mentor?
Like a role model, I do not have one mentor. Over the years I have developed a network of individuals with varying credentials and capabilities, whose advice and guidance I truly respect. Attending peer groups with like-minded individuals has been invaluable to my own development.
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