Kelly Simkiss

Doug Woodburn
clock • 4 min read
Kelly Simkiss

Role: CEO, Pixel Group

What does Pixel Group specialise in?

Pixel Group is the holding company for Perfect Image, Technique and Cyphra. Perfect Image and Technique are soon to be joined through a rebrand that we're working on and will create a national IT MSP covering end-to-end IT solutions with specialisms in data & analytics and cloud migration. Cyphra will remain as a sister company and is a specialist cyber security MSSP.

Name one thing most people won't know about the company

We're one of only seven AWS partners in the UK with the Microsoft workloads competency

How would you summarise your leadership style?

The Lee Locacca quote about hiring people smarter than you and getting out of their way is broadly my approach

I'd say that overall, my leadership style is collaborative; however, as is true of all leaders, different styles are required in different situations and therefore my style flexes to suit the people and the situation so can be quite different from one day to the next. The Lee Locacca quote about hiring people smarter than you and getting out of their way is broadly my approach to leadership but coupled with being there to coach and support as and when the individual or team need it whilst holding them to account.

Does the industry have a diversity problem and, if so, why does this matter?

I've worked in lots of industries and organisations throughout my career (utilities, aviation, retail, tech); they have all have had areas for improvement from a diversity perspective and the tech industry is no different. However, I think of diversity in its broadest sense being any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another and in this sense in certain areas (for example neuro diversity) I think the tech industry does quite well, whereas in others there are still areas for improvement.

There's loads of evidence and research available now to show that the reason diversity matters is because it brings different ways of thinking and approaching problems into organisations, and ensures your organisation is more reflective of your customer base; and I've certainly experienced this throughout my career. Having a diverse team, who think and approach things differently from me, has always led to much better working environments, solutions for customers and business outcomes.

Do you feel the outlook for women in the industry has changed at all in the last four years?

I think the outlook for everyone has changed in the last few years; tech is central to the modern workplace and therefore the pandemic and ‘work from anywhere/anytime' mentality that was significantly accelerated as a result of Covid has completely changed the outlook. This is great for women, who have traditionally taken a more leading role in the balance of work and home/family life; however, this is also shifting as there are many couples where both work full time, or where the woman is the main ‘bread winner' and therefore men now have to, and want to, strike more of a balance too. With tech being so central to the modern workplace; most tech companies understand that they have to lead by example in terms of a more flexible approach to work and therefore I think the tech industry has a great opportunity to become more diverse in its greatest sense through creating a working environment that can be flexible to individuals' needs.

Name one thing companies in our sector should do differently to ensure they are attracting, retaining and promoting more female staff?

Creating environments where people can work in the way that best suits them and enables them to perform at their highest is the most important things for companies in our sector to focus on right now

Role models are a great source of inspiration; and therefore, having someone who looks like you, or who comes from a similar background to you leading the type of organisation you'd like to work in can only be a good thing in my opinion; and therefore I think three-quarters of top four global IT solutions providers being female led will be a very positive thing in terms of attracting females into the industry. Attracting females into the industry is the single biggest challenge that I've seen since working in tech. Once they're in retaining and promoting them has not been the challenge, so I think creating environments where people can work in the way that best suits them and enables them to perform at their highest is the most important things for companies in our sector to focus on right now; and it isn't easy as there is no one size that fits all, but that's the challenge.

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