CloudTrade Podcast - Episode 3 - Women in tech

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

The third episode in CloudTrade's CTTV podcast, as part of the celebrations here at CloudTrade for IWD, Amee Patel, Head of Operations, talks with Steve Britton, Director of Sales, on women in tech. Watch the podcast here, if you’d prefer to read about what was discussed, please read on.

Steve: Good morning, Amee, lovely to see you this morning and thanks for being the third candidate in our series of CloudTrade TV blog posts. So delighted to have you today. Amee, just tell the listeners what your role is in CloudTrade, your position and what you do for the company.

Amee: Of course. So I am the head of Operations here at CloudTrade. I started off five and a half years ago now as a technical analyst in the Operations team and since then I’ve sort of worked my way up to the Head of Operations. My main responsibility is to look after all our customers, through all stages of the life cycle. My team support the Sales team in demos and proof of concepts, all the way through to project kickoffs and the project process itself, and then to sending those customers into our BAU team and looking after them on a day-to-day basis. I take overall responsibility for that.

Steve: Well, a huge level of responsibility and many congrats to you for working your way all the way through the ranks. And that brings me nicely to the subject for today which is women in tech as this is International Women's Week. Back in the early days when you originally joined CloudTrade you were the only lady that we had in the company, so tell us a little bit what it was like back in those early days, coming into the den of a completely male-orientated environment and being the only lady. How did you survive?

Amee: It was interesting. I remember in my interview the Operations Manager saying, “You will be the only woman in this team in the business, are you okay with that?” And for me it was a funny question because I studied physics at university, so I was actually quite used to being in that environment, in a very heavily male-dominated environment. Sadly, STEM subjects are still not really taken up heavily by women, or at least they weren't in 2010 which I appreciate was 11 years ago. But it was an environment that I was used to being in.

 “…a lot of the battle that I had was about proving my technical capability.”

Professionally, it was different from when I was at university, when I was studying. I think a lot of the battle that I had was about proving my technical capability. And what I find is that that isn't just a female thing. I think that that is something, especially in technical roles, that everyone has to prove. I’m not quite sure why it is specifically in this industry, but I think a lot of it is about proving your technical capability and your soft skills, alongside that.

Steve: Well certainly from personal experience you don't need to prove your technical capability to me, it goes without question. I often come running to you, as you know, with this and that. “A customer’s got this demand, how do we resolve it?” And nine times out of ten you've got the answer, so that's great. Now, I agree with you.

 “…women are getting much more involved in disciplines that historically they weren't invited to…

Looking at STEM subjects and looking at a basic education, there is a change and women are getting much more involved in disciplines that historically they weren't invited to, or there was no desire from their point of view get involved in. It'd be interesting for me and our listeners just to hear about when we put job adverts out and we're recruiting people, are you finding there's a change in the applicants you get? Are there more ladies who are applying for programming jobs, which historically have been preserved for men really to get involved in? I personally think that's changed and I would be interested to get your view.

Amee: I think you're right. We definitely do see more applicants from women in the roles that we advertise. It's been an uphill struggle. We used to not see as many obviously.

 “…we've definitely seen an uptick in the number of women that we have applying to the technical roles…”

I've been recruiting for five and a half years here now and we've definitely seen an uptick in the number of women that we have applying to the technical roles within the Operations team certainly, and I know that's true for the Development team as well. They've grown their female staff base over the last few years as well. I think there are changing attitudes generally. If you go back 50-60 years, women were taught to sew and cook at school, and iron things. Nobody taught me to iron anything which I'm grateful for to an extent. I'm sure my other half is not as happy when I refuse to iron his shirts. I think that attitude has slowly changed over the years. I went to an all-girls school so there was never really a separation between subjects that would be more male-oriented and subjects that would be more female-oriented. Because it was an all-girls school, we weren't discouraged from taking subjects or anything like that. I think that has for me pushed me into not being afraid to to enter that male-dominated world.

Steve: Excellent. If you look at industry and if you look at politics, the inclusion of women, at all levels, being CEOs of business is commonplace today. I think that generally the market welcomes that. Bringing that diversity into a business, into politics, is very healthy. We welcome the ladies who are employed in CloudTrade. They provide a very valuable contribution. Just interested in your views in terms of the future.

 “We've got how many ladies working for the company now?”

We've got how many ladies working for the company now? And perhaps can you give a bit of background about the roles that you're looking to fill. What are women doing in the company today and what contribution do you feel they're delivering over and above their male counterparts?

Amee: It's interesting. We are currently at 16 of 50 employees are women and I think we've got four in the Development team, one in Sales, three in Marketing and we've got one in Finance, and then there's quite a lot in the Operations team. It's interesting. Obviously, as you know, I've been doing my blog series this week, chatting to all of our women in our team, and one of the things that Rebecca in our Sales team actually mentioned was that women have a certain sense of empathy that men don't necessarily have. Sometimes it's not that it's not there but I think perhaps it's not always expressed in the same way.

 “I think that our strength as women is our empathy…”

I think that our strength as women is our empathy, and I think it helps us to have a different perspective on problems. I think it gives us a fresh set of eyes, a different way of looking at things. So I think that it helps us to see things from a customer perspective when we're dealing with things, and I think that what that also does is it helps us with our communication skills and our organization skills, all that sort of thing. I think that that empathy, that kind of understanding of what is required from other people, how other people may feel about what we're doing, pushes us to be the best we can.

 “…a lot of women in technical roles often become what's known as ‘the glue’…”

I watched a really interesting video on YouTube about how a lot of women in technical roles often become what's known as ‘the glue’, where they are the ones that are liaising between various teams, they are the ones that talk to the customers to gather the requirements, and how that can affect their progression in an actual technical role because are they doing technical work or are they doing the work that sits around the technical work in order to facilitate it? And that was something that really resonated with me because obviously, especially in my role, a lot of what I do is the ‘glue’ work - facilitating things happening.

But particularly at CloudTrade it makes my heart sing that we have so many fantastic successful women here. And that we've grown this, because I do think that we would be a different company if we didn't have that.

Steve: Absolutely, and, as I said before, all credit to you for starting that journey, being the first lady in the company, and long may our recruitment program and the inclusion of women in business continue without a shadow of a doubt. Men are always accused of not being able to multitask properly.

 “…we learn a lot from our female counterparts in the business.”

I agree with you that maybe they lack a little bit in the area of empathy, so we learn a lot from our female counterparts in the business. Amee, it’s been lovely speaking to you today. Thank you for your time and I hope the listeners enjoy what we've had to talk about and that we'll see them all on the next podcast. Thanks again.

Amee: Thank you very much, Steve, speak to you later.

Steve: Bye for now.

Amee: Bye.


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