International Women's Day | Pracedo 2021

Posted on 2021-03-08 13:31:32

8th March 2021 was International Women’s Day! We decided to celebrate the amazingly powerful women we have at Pracedo all week long. We started our week by celebrating our approach to diversity and gender inequality with our Parity at Pracedo report which highlights the work we’ve been doing to create a gender-balanced workforce.

We then spoke to four of our women in tech about the challenges and highlights they’ve encountered as well as dreams for equality in the industry.

Read below about how we approach gender inequality at Pracedo.

Penny Townsend's Headshot

On Tuesday we celebrated our Chief Operations Officer, Penny Townsend! Penny is a true Salesforce veteran with over 10 years of experience within the ecosystem who spends most of her time leading the team by prioritising diversity, innovation and teamwork.

Q: What is it like working in tech as a female?

A: ‘I’m older than most of our other Pracedo women so for me, the significance is not so much the sector or the vertical, but time. When I was first at work over 25 years ago there was no or little maternity leave, still typing pools in the office and no remote working – all of which made it harder for women to succeed and encouraged misogyny. The consequence of that was far fewer women in the workplace and those who were there often fulfilled a range of negative stereotypes. Thankfully, things have changed a lot and it is now easier to be a woman at work everywhere. While it’s true that the image of an IT person is a geek living in his mother’s basement does still persist, the move from IT as moving around and wiring up heavy boxes to digital transformation enables women to shine. In my experience, contrary to popular belief, I think the IT world has changed faster than most and I put that down to the fact that in IT everything is constantly changing so there is a continuous shift of attitudes and beliefs.’

Q: If there were two things you could share with women starting their journey in tech, what would they be?

A: ‘Know your worth. Don’t be afraid of your femininity (or feel you have to put on an act). Being a tough woman in business doesn’t mean compromising your femininity in any way. That’s old fashioned and unnecessary. Don’t fall into that trap but equally, try not to put too much pressure on yourself. I rarely wear makeup and try to be as down to earth as possible as I remember being young at work and being really intimidated by women who always seemed perfect.’

Wednesday was dedicated to Yasemin Karakurt who has long been a teacher and a mentor to everyone at Pracedo. After returning from maternity leave in 2020 she was soon promoted to one of our new lead consultant roles where she continues to encourage her team to achieve their goals.

Q: What is it like working in tech as a female?

A: ‘I absolutely love being a woman in tech! However, it can be isolating at times as there aren’t enough females in the tech industry, especially BAME females. Luckily this isn’t the case at Pracedo. I also find it liberating because working in an industry that is predominantly occupied by men, I feel that I am in a leading position to support other females to achieve their goals.’

Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman in tech?

A: ‘I have been lucky enough to be working in an environment that is diverse and supportive towards everyone. Despite this, I have faced my own challenges juggling life as a mother, manager and wife, which I think a lot of women face!’

Q: If you could change one thing for future women in tech what would it be?

A: ‘I would love to see more females, especially working mothers in leading positions in Tech – so I would love to be able to change the misconceptions people have about working mothers not being able to also be strong leaders in the tech space.’

Zoe Nicholson's headshot

On Thursday we celebrated current apprentice Zoe Nicholson. Zoe joined Pracedo last year as one of our Level 4 apprentices and has shown great progress by earning new certs and becoming an expert in Marketing Automation.

Q: What is it like working in tech as a female?

A: ‘I’ve only been working in the tech industry for five months and was always been under the impression it was a very male-heavy industry, however, at Pracedo we are lucky enough to have a very gender-balanced workforce with three of our six Senior Consultants being females. We also have a great working environment at Pracedo where everyone really supports each other and it is so motivating and inspiring. I’m lucky that so far, in my experience, it feels fair and equal regardless of gender. It definitely fills me with confidence that I can go on to be a female lead consultant one day!’

Q: If you could change one thing for future women in tech what would it be?

‘I am lucky that I work for a company that is very equal in gender but, in general, I would love to see more women my age getting into the tech industry. I don’t have any friends, prior to working for Pracedo, that work in tech and it’s such a great industry to get into, as demand will only increase. I would love to see more young women moving into the industry and thinking actively about tech roles’

Ellie Copp was the final powerful woman we celebrated! Ellie is the seasoned Sales and Marketing Director at Pracedo who is constantly building the team up and pushing Pracedo to new heights.

Q: What challenges have you faced as a woman in tech?

A: ‘Always believe in yourself to be strong and confident in your own abilities. I remember going into a room full of men at an old-school insurance firm to scope out a project with a (male) Salesforce Account Exec that I worked with regularly. The Director of this company asked me how old I was, and when my boss was going to arrive so that the men could talk. It was a slap in the face. It’s a tough balance working with Salesforce because you don’t ever want to jeopardise a deal for the AEs you work with, but luckily this AE was supportive and messaged me on hangouts and told me I could go for it, so I told the Director that my age was irrelevant, that my boss knew less about his industry than I did, and if he wanted the project done properly he would let me do my job. It was empowering to know that I could still perform my job to a high level despite the fact people in the room had obvious prejudices.’

Q: If you could change one thing for future women in tech what would it be?

‘Inequality, which has been hugely magnified by COVID-19, the fallout of which will no doubt have knock-on effects on career stability, pay and progression for working women. I don’t have children, but I am angered by the fact that the burden of unpaid care has fallen disproportionately onto women over the last 12 months. An IFS report showed that mothers are 1.5x more likely to have quit or lost their job, or to have been furloughed since the start of lockdown. Stats also show that women are interrupted more frequently during paid work than fathers, which in turn has a measurable impact on performance and stress levels which can ultimately lead to burnout. I feel burnt out without this added pressure – I think working mothers are superheroes.’

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