Lead business optimisation partner, Tech Data and co-chair of Tech Data's Elevate business resource group, which is dedicated to the empowerment of women within the organisation
What's the most pressing issue preventing progress with diversity today that no one's talking about?
I think some business leaders still believe diversity is a ‘nice to have' rather than an important issue to work on.
What do you believe are the most effective policies and initiatives that companies can implement to promote diversity in their workforce?
Business resource groups (such as those we have at Tech Data) are an effective initiative to promote diversity that can educate employees and management, give a voice to the affinity group and help hold the company accountable for decisions made.
How much progress do you believe the industry has made in diversity since you started working in IT?
Some, but there is still a long way to go. It's on the agenda but still needs more focus. Change is happening, but slowly.
What should senior management teams be doing more of to help create a more inclusive industry for everyone?
Senior management teams need to be leading by example - making conscious decisions, educating themselves and talking about diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) and the benefits of a diverse team.
How did you first get into the IT industry?
I joined Tech Data's graduate training scheme 12 years ago and liked the company's culture so much I've chosen to progress my career here.
What have been some of your experiences (both good and bad) with how the IT industry has historically approached diversity?
Historically, diversity wasn't considered. This wasn't a conscious decision to ignore it, but a lack of understanding and education on the topic.
Who have been your biggest role models in your professional life, and how have they helped you to succeed?
Male allies persuading me to apply for promotions when I wouldn't have considered it myself or would have discounted myself before even applying. Almost every promotion I have received has been in these circumstances.
Do you believe Covid has hampered or helped gender diversity efforts in the IT industry?
During Covid lockdowns we saw a greater strain on women who were main caregivers. It therefore had a negative impact on gender diversity as more women left the workforce or didn't progress due to long furlough periods. Since things have returned close to normality, flexible working policies help manage work-life balance for both men and women and will help gender diversity, as long as companies continue these ways of working.