Allison Abraham Simpkins, Sr. Vice President, North America, Valtech
As a woman in technology for over two decades I have been to many conferences over the years and have been daunted, especially in my earlier years, by being one of the very few women in the room. Conferences, even only 5 years ago, were packed with a predominantly male audience and there was not a woman on stage to be seen.
Many companies have taken notice of this gender imbalance and have made a significant effort to change this. Salesforce is a wonderful example of a company putting equality at the forefront of their values. They understand that diverse companies are more innovative and better positioned to succeed. Diversity brings alternate, unique experiences and perspectives that enable better problem-solving, and contribute to stronger operational efficiency and organizational performance. If 82 percent of women hold the purchasing power but do not make up even 50 percent of the boardrooms how can companies build exceptional customer experience without these perspectives at the decision making table. Multiple studies indicate that companies who embrace gender diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business strategically outperform their peers.
Another company I have spent many years involved with is Sitecore, who has started their own ‘Women of Sitecore’ initiative. Sitecore kicked off this program at their 2018 Global Sales Kickoff in San Diego, where I had the honor of delivering the keynote. The program was introduced by CEO Mark Frost and fully supported by Marketing and HR to follow it through in branding and recruitment efforts.
Multiple studies indicate that companies who embrace gender diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business strategically outperform their peers
I commend Sitecore for carrying this to another level at their annual conference ‘Symposium’ where they hosted a Women in Digital Marketing and Technology luncheon focused on increasing awareness. The luncheon started with a keynote by an amazing woman named Jodi Kovitz, founder and CEO of ‘Move the Dial’. #MovetheDial is a phenomenal organization with a mission to increase the participation and leadership of women in technology. Statistically there are not enough women in tech as they only represent 6 percent of CEO’s; 13 percent on Executive teams and 8 percent on Tech Boards. #MovetheDial, led by Jodi Kovitz hopes to increase the awareness of this imbalance and change those numbers. Jodi’s passionate keynote was followed by a panel of women discussing our experiences as women in tech; why it is important and how we elevated our career in technology. The luncheon came with rave reviews and impacted many individuals and organizations in the audience to make a change in some way to bridge the gender gap.
Sitecore has continued to push for diversity and inclusion in their company through recent hiring’s on their Executive and Management teams. They continue to lead an effort to bring awareness to all on this not just being a female issue but a business imperative. Most importantly this is an issue for both men and women to tackle together in order to effect real change.
The state of women in technology is changing and we are slowly moving the dial. I believe we need to showcase more women role models so everyone can see the array of opportunity within tech across industries for women. Technology is everywhere these days - in the industries of tomorrow, every company will be a tech company in some way. We need to work now to ensure that we’re involving everyone in that progress and equipping each person, regardless of gender, race or orientation, to succeed as innovators and leaders in our communities.
It is all of our responsibility, as men and women, to show this generation and our next generation of female leaders the opportunities that are offered in tech.
My hope is that at some point we are no longer having this conversation about gender. We reach a day where a person gets the job because they really worked hard and earned it, not because they are a woman. A day where it won’t matter what the gender is of any founder, CEO, VC or board member; a world where both our daughters and our sons have an equal chance at significant leadership positions.