Daljit Bamford -Tenth Revolution Group - 2

Daljit Bamford is Chief Customer Officer of Tenth Revolution Group, the global leader in cloud talent solutions.

Daljit Bamford  joined the company in July 2020 having worked in the technology sector for 19 years. Her previous role as Chief Customer Officer (UKI) at Salesforce saw the Oxford graduate work with senior leaders across the business spectrum to help them transform their companies.

Prior to her time with Salesforce, Daljit spent 13 years with digital foundation specialists Alternative Networks, and more recently volunteered as a Social Media Advocate with The Trussell Trust – an organization that aims to tackle poverty and hunger in the United Kingdom.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I grew up in Leicester, life as a first-generation Indian was not always smooth sailing. However I was a nerd, yes I was that kid who wandered around with her nose in a book, but it paid off. With the encouragement of my amazing A-Level English teacher, I applied to Oxford University and got a place to study. My three years at St Catherine’s college flew by and I emerged knowing that I really enjoyed meeting people. My older brother worked in IT and with that influence in my life, I entered the world of technology sales and have never really looked back.

I would describe my current role as the perfect amalgamation of all I am passionate about – technology, customers and talent. I have over the past few years keynoted on the topic of innovation, about what this means for companies and how they can harness the best-in-class technology to deliver and exceed customer expectation. The implementation of these technologies requires talent, from certified developers, admins, architects and so much more. The talent eco-system, more than ever before needs to grow.

Tenth Revolution Group is perfectly positioned to help our customers thrive — by supplying skilled talent (via Frank Recruitment Group) and reskilling talent (via Revolent). Now is the time for us to get closer with our customers, our partners and the wider cloud ecosystem we are part of. They are a phenomenal leadership team and I’m delighted to be on board and working with them on this.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I always feel that the correct (and expected) answer to this is a firm ‘yes’. The truthful answer, however, is not always. But there are a few things I have always consistently done and they have been my guiding principles in building my career path.

  • I built a career around what I was interested and passionate about — which for me has been in technology. The constant learning that comes from working in such a fast-paced and evolving world energises me.
  • I have always strived to surround myself with people who are super smart and yet humble with their intelligence. With humility comes openness and constant learning. It’s why that unique mix of qualities results in some of the best thinking and unique perspectives.
  • I will explore opportunities — even if they didn’t come at the right time and even if they didn’t fit with a plan at that point in time. Curiosity and having an open mind whilst having a plan, is important.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

The biggest career challenge I have faced is when I had my first baby and I very quickly had to figure out how to juggle a young family and a career. At the time I remember feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of working and juggling childcare. There have been huge strides made in this area in recent years — better maternity packages, shared parental leave programs and flexible working to name a few.

But back then, how did I overcome it? In truth, I was honest with my boss (yes, in hindsight it was a huge risk), but for me that honesty paid off.  We worked together and came to an agreement on what my new flexible work life looked like. I was very lucky as that was at a time when flexible working and keeping women in tech was not even on any boardroom agendas.

Honesty and vulnerability does and should have a place in work.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Without doubt, it is securing my current position of Chief Customer Officer and Board Director at Tenth Revolution Group. For me, there is no better place to be right now. As a society, we find ourselves in unprecedented times. We are in a period where technology is evolving at an exponential rate. Covid 19 has accelerated digital transformation initiatives as companies pivot to thrive in our new normal. At the heart of this change? Cloud technology, the customer and certified talent. These three pillars are at the heart of Tenth Revolution Group and we are perfectly positioned to partner with and help our customers.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

The one defining factor to my achieving success has been the fact that (in the past 6 years especially), I have had sponsors, mentors and coaches. For some reason, this is a lesson that I have learned slightly later than I would have liked, but now I know one fact. Building a valuable and trusted network is integral to success and it’s never too soon to start.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Pick something you want to get really good at and work at it. Again and again. Make it your thing.

I remember when I first joined Salesforce, I saw a gentleman called Peter Coffee on stage at Dreamforce. He had presence, he was passionate about customers and he was presenting the pre-keynote show (a very complicated part of the day) with the finesse and dexterity of a world-class conductor. I watched him and was in complete awe. ‘Wow, I want to be able to present and articulate the amazing impact of technology with the same passion and conviction he does. Our customers need to hear more of this storytelling.’ So, what did I do with that thought? I asked him to mentor me, on presenting. Fully expecting a no, I got quite the opposite. Then I took every opportunity to present. I presented in front of peers, in front of customers, in front of my giggling children. I asked for feedback and adapted based on feedback, then practised again. My colleagues became very used to seeing me talking to an empty room! Some two years later when I was given the incredible opportunity to be part of the keynote team in London, Mr Coffee was front and centre in the audience, supporting me all the way.

For me, picking that one thing and working hard at it was a game changer in my career. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always comfortable, but being able to articulate the value and importance of technology to our customers was my number one priority. Want to excel in the fast-paced world of tech? Focus and deliver.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think that the biggest barriers continue to be the representation of women in senior leadership roles, as Marian Edelman famously said ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ These are tricky conversations to navigate as roles should absolutely be given to the most-qualified candidates. However I think it should always be asked, who gets to decide what most qualified looks like? Because the risk we have is that if the people making that decision all look and think the same, then how does the status quo change?

Do I think these barriers can be overcome? Absolutely. The Board I am now part of is without doubt the most diverse leadership team I have been part of and as I look across leadership in tech, I can see the balance changing. In the UK, initiatives such as the Tech Talent Charter are working to help companies move the needle. Companies reporting their gender pay gap is also a huge step forward — a part of the survey indicates whether higher salaries are being awarded to men. Therefore indicating whether senior leadership teams are gender diverse. So increased education, hand in hand with scrutiny, will help overcome these barriers.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

I think there are a few things all companies can do to support not only women, but other minority groups. Implement a Diversity and Inclusion policy. Look at hiring practises and promotion criteria. We know that simple changes to language in CVs increases diverse applicants. We also know that minorities are less likely to put themselves forward for a promotion, so a simple talent management framework can ensure that diverse talent is supported in putting themselves forward. Ensure that all interview panels and indeed candidates are diverse. These are small and easy changes for companies of any size.

Some larger companies are more bold and have simply implemented leadership tracks for the top female talent within their organisations — recognising that the only way they can move the needle is with very focussed and targeted investments to accelerate diversity.

So whatever size of organisation, all companies can start looking at this.

There is currently on 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I would quite simply, make money follow the diversity. Which is starting to happen in pockets. But if funding, at all levels became linked to diverse teams, I think we would see the needle move dramatically.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

My key recommendation? Educate yourself on your market, your company and its ecosystem (including competitors). Understand the finances. When I moved to Salesforce I very quickly learned about the difference between a traditional P&L accounting model vs a SAAS accounting model.

Follow technologists and thought leaders on Twitter/ Linkedin. Lists are published annually on the most influential people in tech.

Don’t be afraid to invest in training for yourself, or pivoting and reskilling. Our newer arm of Tenth Revolution Group is a company called Revolent. Revolent’s focus is to reskill and create certified cloud professionals. As technology evolves, so will the skillsets required. Companies like Revolent are here to accelerate tech talent.

In terms of websites/ podcasts, I am a huge fan of TED Talks. There is something for everyone and it is consumable via small pockets (18 minutes) at a time. The Amy Cuddy talk on presence and imposter syndrome is a must watch. You can find your way after that.

Without doubt, I think anyone who works in tech must read Ray Kurzweil’s essay published in 2001, The Law of Accelerating Returns. It is so deeply complex and so brilliant. I have read it many times and yet still, I return time and again to try to understand it.

Books — there are so many, too many to list and I would recommend staying abreast of what you’re interested in. Whether it is artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, emerging technologies, the role of technology in society or even the insights from some very high-profile tech CEOs who have published books (Apple, Tesla, Microsoft, Salesforce to name a few). On my list but not yet read is The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly and Invent and Wander by Jeff Bezos (to be released in Nov 2020).

In summary — the tech world is moving so incredibly quickly and is so vast, focus on what piques your interest and enjoy the journey! It is without doubt such an incredible time to work in technology.

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