How do you go about creating a culture where women can thrive?
The first thing you have to do is hold up the mirror to yourself and cast the shadow you want to see. I’ve been fortunate to have had a lot of great mentors over the years and I try to replicate that with the people who sit within, not only my own organisation, but more broadly as well. I advocate for the female talent I mentor and encourage other leaders to do the same.
What other best practices do you believe promote workplace diversity and inclusion?
Diversity clearly has so many more dimensions than just the female lens. In a broader context, it has to start with education and making sure we’re advocating and being a true ally for all underrepresented groups. We need to make sure we’re tamping out all these unconscious biases, whether that’s through our recruitment processes or through day-to-day interactions. That means things like having diverse recruitment panels when you’re hiring for roles and making sure you’re getting a really diverse talent pool.
How does GSK excel in that regard?
Here at GSK, we’re very good at assessing performance and reward. We work hard to make sure we are calibrating and having those conversations as a leadership team at the end of the year, that we’re making sure we aren’t applying our own biases to people, whether it’s based on proximity, location, gender, or any other factor. We’re looking at the data and challenging ourselves to say, ‘have we given the right people the right rewards and recognition for the work they’ve done?’
What are your top tips for young women and others considering entering tech?
Invest time into building a network – not just with people you work with, but with people in roles to which you aspire. Be curious and reach out to people and try to understand what else is out there. I think most people would be surprised at the diverse types of roles that exist within tech – they aren’t just all coding roles or technical configuration roles. I spend more time dealing with people than I do with systems as a technology leader. And probably the last piece of advice would be: find a good mentor.
Read more about diversity and equity, overcoming prejudice and building inclusive organisational cultures as well as inspirational stories from women in IT in Vol. 7 of SmarterCIO.