It was incredibly humbling to have been awarded the Role Model of the Year award by Women in Tech Excellence in 2021, and the award truly means a great deal to me. It adds legitimacy to my background in tech and highlights the importance of having a range of skill sets - something I hope sets an example for other women in the industry.
Along with the skills I have gained on my journey, my passion and involvement in GfK’s diversity and inclusion initiatives have set me apart from other great female leaders in the space.
At GfK, I set the strategy around our tools, systems, and processes and ensure all relevant internal stakeholders are engaged. To align our teams, I make sure we all understand each other’s requirements and deliver compelling services to power future growth.
Interestingly, my background isn’t what you would consider typical for technology, as a drama graduate, I haven't taken the usual path into the tech industry - which I have found is often the case with women in tech. But, the different roles I have had throughout my career are crucial in bringing me where I am today.
I am proud of my background. With GfK I have been in various management roles in Operations before taking a leadership role within the global tech team. Working as a telephone interviewer at NOP - which was eventually bought by GfK - is one of the most valuable positions I have held. It gave me an understanding of the core processes and people we support now.
Female leadership with diversity at the core
I co-founded a DE&I group called Fast Forward, and now it is great to see how this has grown, encouraging more women in tech to have a voice. We have also set up a group for the CTO and CPO functions at GfK which is run by three fantastic women driving forward initiatives to bring people of more diverse backgrounds into the company.
Both in my role and in these groups, I know how important it is to be a role model for other women and female leaders in the industry. Like all leaders, it is it's important to take a step back and have confidence in your team; to lead and support them as they use their own expertise.
Strong listening skills, empathy, promoting people’s strengths and abilities, and being open-minded, are hallmarks of a great leader and essential for success.
Equally, it is crucial not to underplay one's own skills: for women wanting to work and lead in technology, often the biggest barrier can be our own confidence. It’s important to recognize, and be confident about, what we bring to the table.
Celebrating at the Women in Tech Excellence Awards 2021
Supporting GfK’s growth with women in tech
As a female leader, I have seen firsthand the value hiring from different backgrounds brings. It fosters different ideas and brings about growth in new and exciting ways - it is crucial to empower women in tech as they join our teams to be part of this growth. Genuinely valuing what matters to individuals is key to building resilient and innovative teams with a great mix of backgrounds.
Paired with this is the importance to understand people’s specific skills, alongside the personal values and priorities they have. Great employers appreciate that a work-life balance is important for everyone - not only women - especially since the pandemic so profoundly changed our lives, and ways of working.
Since this shift, GfK has made great strides in meeting the new priorities of all its employees, transforming the way we work, and encouraging women into the tech industry. It is also a very interesting time to be with the company as we are on such a great growth trajectory.
It’s going to be fascinating being at the center of our AI-powered, multi-layered intelligence services, as we augment the technology and work closely with panels of consumers to ensure they have an ever more relevant and engaging experience.
In this exciting period of growth, I am consistently supported by other great women and female leaders in tech and I am delighted to be going back to the Women in Tech Excellence awards this year to support two of my colleagues. Nights such as these are so important as we look to create a more diverse and equitable workplace, I am so proud to be part of a company with great women disrupting the technology space.
I'm excited to play my part to support GfK, lead my team on the same path and welcome more invigorated techies into the company.
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