Digital leaders at the Everywoman in Tech forum gave their advice for career progression in the tech industry
Digital leaders in the UK and Europe joined forces at the Everywoman in Tech forum this week to offer their advice to women in business.
With credits including Facebook, Microsoft, EMC and Silicon Valley Bank, as a group they have accrued several years of experience in the world's leading tech firms in the UK and internationally.
Here is what they had to say.
1. 1. Think of yourself as a bumble-bee
Scottish-born Elaine Brechin-Montgomery moved to Silicon Valley in 1996 to develop several internet startups. After the dotcom bubble burst in 2000 she worked at WebEx and Google. Moving back to the British Isles in 2008 she had a stint in finance and last year moved to London’s Facebook HQ. Her advice: “Think of yourself as a bumble-bee. It shouldn’t physically be able to fly, but no-one told it that.”
Images: Steve Dunlop
2. 2. Be a nice person
Co-founder of one of the original UK dotcom businesses, Lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox divides her time between her responsibilities as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, a non-executive director for Marks and Spencer and patron of Just for Kids Law, to name a few.
Her advice: “Life’s too short and too important to not be a nice person. Always err on the side of generosity. I think it’s important that businesses hold that in the core.”
3. 3. Follow your passion
Trudy Norris-Grey manages public sector accounts for Microsoft’s European division. She previously held roles at BP, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and BT amongst others. She also chairs the CBI’s committee on innovation, science and technology and advises the government on sustainability and carbon emissions.
Her advice: “Follow your passion, not your pension”
4. 4. High emotional intelligence is key
Jackie Glenn leads the diversity and inclusion strategy for EMC’s 62,000 employees. Her career in human resources spans 20 years, winning numerous awards for her diversity and inclusion achievements within EMC.
Her advice: “High emotional intelligence is key to move on in your career.”
5. 5. Sometimes you just have to adapt
Bindi Karia leads Silicon Valley Bank’s early-stage presence in Europe. Her career has mostly focused on startups, but also held a role as venture capital lead at Microsoft UK running what is now known as Microsoft Ventures. During the Everywoman in Tech forum in London she revealed how she had struggles when out of work following the economic downturn, and times where she doubted herself.
Her advice: “Sometimes things are bigger than you that you can't control so you have to adapt.”
6. 6. Be prepared in your mentor meetings
Melissa Di Donato mentors young women keen to make their way in the industry, as well as chairing a European ISV advisory innovation board and advises technology companies in the UK and Silicon Valley as well as her role at Salesforce.
Di Donato advises anyone meeting a mentor to come prepared with notes so you "make the most of your meeting" with your mentor, that way they know what specifically you want to get from your time together.
7. 7. Network face-to-face
Former European IBM chairman Larry Hirst now runs several mentor programs and was part of the renowned ‘HeForShe campaign’ fronted by Harry Potter star Emma Watson this year. His CBE was awarded in 2006, in recognition for services to the IT industry.
His advice: “Don’t rely on a Linkedin click after an event. Network face to face.”