So how do we move forward in this complex world? We need to create culturally competent and globally inclusive workplaces. We should all be able to work in environments where everyone can thrive, but to do that we need to lead the way and create them.
Despite the consistent efforts of many enlightened leaders in the tech sector, including the members and supporters of the GTWN, it has become clear that the lack of diversity in the industry is a multi-faceted challenge that will not be easily fixed. We all have a part to play in the new strategies and approaches that are needed. I have always sought out, supported and created new ways to implement programmes that not only increase awareness but also aim to accelerate the female digital economy.
My driving force and commitment to improving diversity and inclusion stem from my own experiences in learning how to thrive as a female leader both within the corporate arena and since setting up my own consultancy business. I have found that one of the greatest supports for my career and ambitions has been found with both the women and the men who have sponsored and mentored me. These are the ones who believed in me, helped me to understand my own strengths and to build upon them. They have also helped me recognise that the feeling of being an imposter is part of a phenomenon that many people struggle with every day and is a barrier that can be addressed.
These sponsors extended and showed their faith in me and introduced me to industry leaders. They helped provide the platform to not only advance my career but to do it with impact. I will be forever grateful to each one and this has been my driver to #payitforward -to celebrate the leaders who have shaped my past to my present, and an opportunity to spotlight and sponsor new pioneers who are building an even better future. These are actions I am proud of. I love to see a diverse range of young, inspirational future leaders, being happy and successful.
Whilst we still have our work cut out to improve diversity and inclusion in our industry, there are many good initiatives that are being undertaken in many areas that, taken together, will make progress happen. one perfect example is the Connected Women initiative of Cisco. I was fortunate to be part of a very inspiring discussion forum organised by Cisco at Mobile World Congress in 2016, at which the brilliant women leaders at Cisco proposed an initiative on how we could all, as individuals and leaders, move the needle on diversity in tech. Imagine the impact if every single one of us, sponsored an inspirational, diverse pioneer and helped them to advance their career? The ‘Multiplier Effect’ was born and launched at MWC in 2017 by Cisco CEO, Chuck Robbins. I am proud to support this initiative and to promote it as something that we should all want to take industry wide. It aims to create and build a full pipeline of diverse talent that continues to grow and multiply.
Every single one of us can participate and take an action. To sponsor someone means to take an active part in their career advancement. To provide advice, guidance and feedback, introduce them to the right leaders and share best practices. This isn’t mere mentoring, it’s a focus on helping someone achieve their goals and career ambitions more quickly than would otherwise be possible. What is amazing is that this movement it is already multiplying. So many leaders are taking a stand and signing the Multiplier Effect Pledge. I would encourage you to join us at http:// multiplydiversity.com.
To demonstrate our commitment to this initiative, at Perfect Ltd we will be continuing with this approach and incorporating the Multiplier Effect Pledge into our programme to support diversifying talent. I am very proud that In the UK on 15th March with the support of Ricoh UK we are launching a global leadership development programme to Lead Braver, Stronger Smarter with Perfect and Mischief Business Engineering. The aim of the programme is to overcome inherent barriers to leadership and personal success caused by the Imposter Phenomenon.
The Imposter Phenomenon has recently been highlighted by Melinda Gates as a major challenge to achievement of full potential in the tech sector. It is something that affects many of us – both women and men – and has been the subject of academic research for more than 40 years. Many of us, I am sure, know that illogical but very real feeling that sometimes overcomes us of somehow being an ‘imposter’ who will be found out sooner or later. It is a condition that is preventing the advancement of highly skilled leaders and diverse leadership teams. Our targeted new programme will couple lessons and approaches learned from research into the imposter phenomenon, with the revolutionary framework of The GC Index® to help participants radically rethink how they can nurture their own key talents for greater career impact. Never before has empirical research into the impostor phenomenon been melded with such a powerful leadership framework and applied with a commercial lens.
In my opinion, the key to long-term success in achieving diversity targets in the tech sector is to transform individual action into collective power. We all need to contribute and understand how you can make an impact as a leader and as part of a diverse team in a complex world. Always remember to #payitforward – Whose success will you make your business starting from today?
Vicky Sleight is Chief Perfect Officer, Perfect Ltd, Chief Play Maker, The GC Index® and Co-Creator, of the Lead Braver, Stronger Smarter Programme
A proven thought leader and expert in diversity and inclusion within Tech through her development of successful initiatives such as GSMA Connected Women, Vicky has formed her own consulting company – Perfect Ltd. Through this she is continuing her work within the industry to further clients’ business development and diversity and inclusion strategy’s. Also part of the network of GCOlogists www.theGCindex.com. The GC Index® is a radical re-think of how organisations should identify and nurture key talent in the future; identifying leaders – game changers – at all levels in organisations who have the power to make the greatest difference.