TubbTalk 109: How to Break Down Barriers so Women in IT Succeed

Women in IT

An Interview With Chloe CameronWomen in IT

Chloe Cameron is the Chief People Officer EMEA at Pax8. She describes her current role at Pax8 as ‘nothing short of enabling people to do the best work of their lives at the business’. She strongly supports women in IT.

The purpose of her role really to drive the strategy behind people and culture and create an environment where the team can use their skills to best serve their partners.

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How to Encourage the Right Culture in Your MSP

Firstly, define your core values as a business. However, Chloe says as a business owner it’s easy to think your personal values are business values. Instead, involve your team to make it a collaborative process. Aim for three to five values.

And it’s really helpful to bring the values to life by defining the behaviours that go with them. Give people concrete guidance and examples of what types of behaviour you’re looking for.

Finally, hire against them. Every person you interview for a role needs to align with your values. This also means fire against them – if an employee doesn’t embody them, there is a cultural cost and they’re potentially damaging to your business. 

The One Skill Chloe uses Every Day

Chloe says empathy is the key skill she uses every day. That might be from a marketing perspective, where you understand your target customer and their problems.

If you’re a small company, you may push yourself hard to innovate. So how can you support your people to manage change? From an operational perspective, you need to connect with your staff, help things flow smoothly and be consistent. Empathise with what people need and how they work. 

What it’s Like for Women in IT

Chloe acknowledges that she is in a position of power, and that’s important. “When you’re a woman or a representative of any minority group, don’t take your success for granted. I love this industry, but it does have problems in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Why is that the case? Firstly, I think there is a misconception that you need to be technical. But IT isn’t all about tech; it’s about people, service and solving problems. Technology just happens to be the tool we use in this industry to do that.

Secondly, the problems of the tech industry are actually much more universal. When we look at women in tech and diversity and equity, I always start from the point of view that the patriarchy hurts men too. Stereotypes are harmful, whether they’re in your favour or not.” 

Chloe’s Advice for Women Joining the IT Industry

If you want to work in IT, go for it. There are lots of opportunities for women because the industry is growing rapidly. It’s a great place to be if you want to be successful.

Therefore, Chloe says her big piece of advice is “Say yes now and figure out the how later.” Women hesitate to put themselves forward if they feel they don’t know how to do something. But failure is not a bad thing. “It’s how we figure things out, innovate and break barriers.”

How can we support women in IT and break down barriers? Chloe Cameron of @pax8 shares her thoughts with Richard Tubb. Click to Tweet

How Businesses can Encourage More Women into IT

Chloe says: “It’s really hard to attract women or any group that is underrepresented if you don’t have some representation already.” When people visit your office, they ask themselves ‘Am I safe? Are there people like me here?’

If they can’t see anyone who looks like them, it’s hard to encourage them to work for you. So, Chloe says showcase your female talent. Involve them in the interview process. Demonstrate your commitment to inclusion and think about the language you use and how you present yourself to potential hires.

How to Manage a Hybrid Workforce

Many businesses are having to offer hybrid working in the post-pandemic world. Chloe explains how they’ve handled this at Pax8. “We clearly define social events and meetings. For operational or information-sharing, we say remote first, even if you’re in the office.

“Next, we looked at key events in our calendar that we feel are important to have in person. So, with those, we put more effort into organising them and give people plenty of notice. We involve our ‘culture club’, which includes people from right across the business.”

How to Connect With Chloe Cameron

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Mentioned in This Episode

Book: Jim Dethmer: The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success 

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