Jo Lawrence, HR director at Exertis, on why the distributor is supporting CRN's 2020 Women in Channel campaign
Why are women in channel/tech an important issue for your firm?
At Exertis, we care about diversity and inclusion. From a business perspective, the benefits of having a diverse workforce with equal female representation are great. Everyone uses technology, so the workforce must reflect the diversity of the customer base. But also, everyone deserves to feel valued and celebrated. We have 40% female staff in our workforce and over 33% in our logistics centres. We hope that by championing diversity and inclusion and playing our part at Exertis, we can influence and encourage positive change throughout the industry.
How do you think we can get more women into technology?
Technology is reshaping business and society in ways that were previously unimaginable, and innovation is taking place at such an accelerated rate that it's an exciting time to be in the tech world. We've got a responsibility to share our excitement about our industry and the vision we have for our sector. We need to change perceptions by providing female role models. That's why the Women in Channel Awards are great because it provides greater visibility for women and gives other women role models to look up to. Raising awareness and championing career opportunities within tech by working more closely with schools and careers services is a great way to influence the next generation.
What do you think should be done to enable more women to rise through to more senior roles in the IT sector?
One way we can enable women and improve representation at senior levels is to seek to understand the lived experiences of women currently working in Technology. That helps with identifying and removing any perceived barriers that prevent women from entering these roles. Involving senior executives in reverse mentoring is a great way to do this, and we need to involve men in this too. We also need to help women see what's possible through celebrating our fantastic role models. Most importantly, we need to tackle micro inequalities and challenge and remove unconscious bias.
What's your one piece of advice for young people looking for a career in the tech sector?
I would encourage young people to be curious and open to change. Ensure that you understand your customer and their needs. Technology is continually evolving, so those that can keep pace, collaborate well and commit to the pursuit of lifelong learning will outperform the competition and be an asset to any business.