This International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognise the contributions of women across all industries, but especially in the fields of technology and transformation where gender parity remains stunted. While progress is being made, there is still a long way to go. Women continue to face obstacles and challenges in male-dominated industries and so the theme of IWD this year is #EmbraceEquity.
It reminds us that we need to work together to create a world that is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world where everyone is given the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. By embracing equity, we can celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about discrimination, and take action to drive gender parity.
In celebration of diversity and inclusion, we had the privilege of interviewing some of our inspiring female associates who work in various disciplines in the technology and transformation field. We asked them a series of questions to gain insights into their experiences and challenges, and any advice for other women who aspire to pursue a career in the industry. We hope that these interviews will inspire you to embrace equity in your own life and take action towards a more inclusive workplace.
In the final instalment of our blog interview series, Codie James, Delivery Director – UK North, discusses how to build a career in transformation, and gives us the low-down on two of the women she really admires…
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in transformation, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
From the very beginning of my career, I’ve been drawn to leading transformational change programmes. There’s something incredibly exhilarating about crafting a vision for change and working with a diverse group of individuals to bring that vision to life. I feel privileged to work with clients across multiple industries, tackling their most complex challenges with a range of diverse experts. Every day is a new adventure, with fast-paced projects that bring new opportunities for learning and personal growth. It’s a constant journey of discovery, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
2. How have you overcome any obstacles or challenges in your career as a woman in a male-dominated industry?
As a transformational leader, I have faced and overcome numerous obstacles and challenges in my career, from navigating tight budgets to balancing speed against value. While these challenges can be daunting, I don’t believe they differ between genders. True leaders must always be prepared to overcome obstacles and challenges, regardless of gender. I am committed to leading by example and showing that gender does not define the ability to succeed in transformational change. With determination, accountability, and motivation, we (regardless of gender) can overcome any challenge that comes our way.
3. During your career, have you ever felt that you were treated differently because of your gender?
Although I have not personally experienced gender discrimination in the workplace (as far as I am aware), I acknowledge that it still exists in all walks of life. Recently, when my daughter started school, I noticed that one of the Mums had set up a ‘Mums’ WhatsApp group instead of a ‘Parents’ WhatsApp group. While I believe this was an innocent move, it illustrates how society still subconsciously expects women to be more hands-on with childcare. As women, we often put pressure on ourselves and each other to balance work and family responsibilities, leading to feelings of guilt and inadequacy. To overcome gender discrimination and societal expectations, we must support each other and challenge these biases whenever they arise. Only then can we create a workplace and world where everyone has equal opportunities to succeed.
4. What advice would you give to other women wanting to start a career in transformation?
My advice would be to anybody wanting to start a career in transformation, not just women:
- Be a lifelong learner: Transformation is a rapidly evolving field, and to be successful, you must be willing to continuously learn and adapt. Stay up to date with the latest trends, technologies, and methodologies, and be open to new ideas and perspectives.
- Build relationships: Transformation often involves working with cross-functional teams and stakeholders. Developing strong relationships with colleagues, partners, and customers is critical to success. Be a good listener, collaborate effectively, and communicate clearly.
- Be agile: Transformation projects can be complex and unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible and adaptable. Embrace an agile mindset and methodology, and be prepared to pivot quickly when necessary.
- Focus on outcomes: Transformation is about delivering real business value and outcomes. Understand the goals and objectives of the transformation project, and stay focused on delivering measurable results.
- Take ownership: Successful transformation requires leadership and ownership. Take initiative, be accountable for your work, and take responsibility for driving the project forward.
Remember, transformation is a journey, not a destination. Stay focused, stay committed, and always strive for continuous improvement. With hard work, dedication, and a passion for innovation, you can build a successful career in transformation
5. How have you benefited from working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds?
Early in my career, I surrounded myself with people who shared my interests and background, providing limited challenge and a comfortable environment. However, now I value working with people from diverse backgrounds as they bring unique perspectives and challenges that enrich my work. I encourage everyone to seek a diverse range of co-workers who can challenge their ideas before implementation. It’s always better to stress-test ideas internally than allowing customers to do the job. I firmly believe organisations must embrace diversity and inclusivity to become the very best version of themselves.
6. Finally, who are some women that you admire and look up to, either within the industry or beyond?
Jo Goff, the CFO of Morrisons: Jo is an exceptional leader who holds a very senior position within one of the UK’s leading supermarkets. Despite her prominent position, she remains approachable, personable, and has a unique ability to balance a people-centred approach with getting the job done to a high standard. She is an absolute role model for any woman seeking to make it to the top and serves as a shining example of what is possible with hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence.
Charlotte Dewhurst, Senior Director of Group Marketing at RS Group PLC: Charlotte is a remarkable leader and an inspiration to all. Her passion for supporting women in business is truly admirable, and she takes great joy in coaching and mentoring others to achieve their full potential. What sets Charlotte apart is her unwavering commitment to promoting a healthy work-life balance. As a devoted mother, wife, daughter, friend, and avid fitness enthusiast, she demonstrates that having clear priorities and boundaries can lead to both a successful career and a fulfilling life.