Women in tech need more ‘visibility’ and lack sponsorship

Ellie Duncan
08 Mar 2023

Visibility is one of the hurdles faced by women in the technology industry, but finding a mentor or sponsor can help overcome this, according to speakers on a Women in Technology webinar hosted by Babel PR.

The webinar, titled ‘Assessing the tech industry’s efforts to empower women’, heard from Zoe Grist, head of Secure Operations Centre (SOC) at Orange Cyberdefense.

She said that when it comes to visibility “maybe we’re not shouting as much as we should be”.

“Something I recently recognised is showcasing – when I’m recruiting – what my team currently looks like, who’s in my team. Because people will resonate with gender, diversity, ages,” Grist said.

Ellison Anne Williams, founder and chief executive officer of data security company Enveil, said that she first encountered “gender issues” when she started her own company.

“Persevering past the noise and showing up with substance is what I’ve found to be very effective across my career,” she told the panellists, adding that it is also about finding “great mentors and great sponsors”.

Pamela Napier, senior manager of cloud for the UK and Ireland at Veeam, spoke about her experience of being both a mentee and mentor as having been “really valuable throughout my whole career”.

She added that all the mentors she’s had have been male and helped her in “framing some of my experiences and helping me to become a really good mentor”.

“I learnt a lot more mentoring someone else. One of the biggest pieces of advice I gave her is, ‘ask for what you want’. You have to be very vocal about what you want to achieve,” Napier said.

The panel, which was moderated by Holly Abbott, senior campaign manager at Babel PR, heard from Eugina Jordan, chief marketing officer of Telecom Infra Project, who referred to data showing that, in telecoms, only 12% of those at C-suite level are women.

“The executive table is mostly male dominated, so you need to have a champion that will say your name, that will propel you to the next level,” said Jordan.

She added that the lack of women at C-suite level in telecoms is “not the lack of pipeline or desire”, but that “it’s the lack of sponsorship”.

However, the panel also agreed that there are more women coming into the technology industry.

Williams said she has been in “predominantly supportive environments all through my career”, while Grist noted that she has “seen more and more women come into the organisation and the wider industry” since she joined a few years ago.