CEO, Lima Networks
Name: Lisa Thornton
Role: CEO of Salford-based MSP and solution provider LIMA Networks
Context: Thornton co-founded LIMA in 1997. Having recently taken on private equity backing , it hit £16.3m revenues in 2019
How did you get into the IT sector?
In 1995 I was approached by a lady who had been my line manager at a previous company and took a new role selling IT solutions for a small reseller in Wilmslow …. she convinced me I'd have a fabulous career in tech!
Career highlight so far:
Securing private equity investment after 23 years of trading was hugely rewarding. It was the recognition that we'd developed a successful business and that made me incredibly proud, not just of myself but the whole LIMA team. It was also the impetus to kick start the next phase of growth for the business. Despite our success and strong year on year results, it was clear that we needed to strengthen the business. The due diligence process we carried out prior to engaging any potential investors was one of the most insightful pieces of work I've ever completed. We all learnt so much about the business and the marketplace through that process. When you combine this with the additional expertise we've recruited since, it makes me really excited about our future.
Do you think the IT industry's gender diversity deficit - and diversity deficit more widely - warrants highlighting?
Absolutely! The IT industry has a significant problem to address because technology matters to all of us. Every single one if us is more reliant on technology now than ever before and the tech sector is growing three times faster than the whole economy. I think that deserves everyone's attention.
What are the key business benefits of having a diverse workforce?
Once you've seen a diverse team in action, you'll never look back. If you take intelligence as a given, a diverse team brings a richness of experience and perspective to any situation. If we're specifically thinking about the male-dominated tech sector where demand for roles outstrips supply, if there were as many women in the sector as men we'd have double the talent pool to choose from.
What's your top tip for tech providers that are serious about tackling their gender or diversity deficit?
Simple. Lead by example and lead from the top. If you want to attract and maintain a diverse workforce, then your leadership team should reflect that diversity.
What is your advice to women and girls thinking about a career in the channel?
If your passionate about technology go for it. Our channel needs you!
How has Covid impacted the diversity debate?
It's well documented that diverse groups such as women, LGBTQ+, working parents and people of colour have been disproportionately impacted by Covid versus other employees. Where possible we've made sure that our office remains open to provide every employee access to a safe space where they can focus and be productive. Longer term every business needs to ensure that every employee, wherever they work, has the same voice and the same exposure to senior staff and career opportunities. Otherwise the value of having a diverse workforce will be lost.