Debby Clement is Vice President of Talent EMEA at Pax8. With more than 20 years’ experience building recruitment teams, processes and technology for start-ups and global technology enterprises across Europe and the USA and a subject matter expert on delivering a human approach to hiring, Debby leads the EMEA Talent team focussed on attracting, hiring and retaining the people that make Pax8’s business and culture one of the most exciting, vibrant and inclusive places to work in technology

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

Connecting the dots that most other people do not see is probably the one thing that has propelled my life and my career. It’s seen me standing on the roof-top bar of the United Nations looking across the Manhattan skyline after helping to deliver ground-breaking whale research at the COP 21 climate change event, finding myself at the helm of the fastest-growing recruitment franchise in Europe out of 1100 offices worldwide and weathering a one in a five-year storm while sailing across the Bay of Biscay. It’s also seen me be a part of Pax8, helping to build the world’s favourite place for IT professionals to buy, sell and manage cloud products and services while delighting in watching my team match people to a purpose.

As I look back on my career and life it feels surreal to think that it all began in a local Wiltshire staffing agency booking HGV drivers.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Yes. I originally wanted to be a vet, however, I ‘had’ to take secretarial studies at school because I couldn’t bet everything on my academics making the science grade, and no one in my family had ever made it to University. My first job was booking travel for engineers building bridges, railways, and drilling platforms.

When the limits of a small town in Wiltshire evaporated, I could see very little to hold me back from achieving anything I wanted. Ever since my career has been like a series of stepping stones where I have always strived to seize every opportunity to progress professionally.

I never wanted to box myself into a specific career path, as there are so many roads and paths you can follow in life. My mantra is “One life -live it”. It might seem a bit maverick, however, my curious nature always sees me following my values and passion.

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

Having two children and being a single mum at one point was probably the greatest mental and personal challenge I’ve faced. I had to balance my career and my family, spending time with the kids, putting in the work hours and keeping house was never easy. I’m very organised and I love ‘systems’ that give me control and a sense of safety, in the years before the children were old enough to look after themselves, being super organised was the key to managing stress and feeling successful. I launched my own company twice and went out on my own. It was lonely, frightening, stressful but terrifically rewarding. Having a bulletproof system kept me focused on what made the boat go faster and blocked out the background noise and distractions.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I love recruiting but I hate recruitment. The opportunity to connect dots, find the passion in people and bring companies and people together for a purpose is an amazing gift – that’s recruiting. Recruitment on the other hand is transactional and littered with career, business and culture-crushing pitfalls. I have been at odds with this conundrum most of my career. It’s therefore essential to design a hiring process that delivers the best possible outcome for both companies and people and follow my conviction until someone gives it a chance.

That “someone” was a NED and the founding team at Wirehive, where, with their genuine “people first” belief, I was able to help them build a team of passionate, dedicated, and driven people. However, this story did not end there, Wirehive was acquired by Pax8, and this is where my hiring system was really put to the test – growing from hiring twelve people a year to twenty people a month without compromising the quality of hire proved that everything I believed could be achieved, could be achieved!

I’ve been on the most amazing journey with the best people and now I’m part of an amazing EMEA leadership team (many of whom I’ve hired) looking after over eighteen hundred people worldwide – what we have collectively built at Pax8 is potentially the model for business communities of the future.  A Pax8 Board member recently described us as “a miracle”.

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

Following my values and my passion. Daniel Priestly author and CEO of Dent Global says, “you are standing on a mountain of value”. Believing that and pushing myself to feel uncomfortable has been instrumental as it takes courage and being willing to learn new things about myself every day.

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

There are a number of networking practices that can really benefit your career: put yourself out there for stretch projects; find a mentor; subscribe to the right podcasts; hang out with the start-up incubators, universities, clubs and hubs; create coffee moments with people and ask them about their careers. The opportunities are there – you just need to take them.

What barriers for women working in tech, are still to be overcome?

This is not a short-term problem. We’re currently at a 34% female-to-male ratio but it starts at primary school and until we can teach our young children that there are no “boys do this” and “girls do that” boundaries in play, we will continue to suffer the talent gap. It’s going to take a long time to fix this – until then we will continue to chase the shortages. At Pax8, we are running robotics workshops for local schoolchildren, all companies, CEOs and CTOs need to be augmenting our education system and investing in the future.

As Women in Tech, we should talk to our local enterprise partnership and volunteer to be a school’s careers advisor. There is a national shortage of inspirational role models and schools are crying out for this.

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

Of course, the usual flexible working and supporting after-school clubs are helpful – but most of all, companies need to educate all managers and people internally. Support and encouragement from all areas of the business will aid in shifting the needle and creating meaningful change. Diversity should be monitored closely, too. Provide department heads and management with an updated report that tells them how under-represented women are throughout their team, and help them find solutions to create balance.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

If we all made a conscious effort, the collective momentum would absolutely shift the needle. Finding an area to start from and working from there is essential to addressing and improving gender diversity in tech.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

I would highly recommend attending networking events, not just female-focused ones, but all events. Identify the opportunities where you can showcase your skills, competencies and experience and capitalise on them. You’ll be amazed at what doors will open for you when you attend networking events that explore areas that you are truly passionate about.

There are numerous resources available for women working in tech that can provide valuable support, networking opportunities, and professional development. Here are some recommendations across different mediums:


“Women in Tech Podcast” by Espree Devora: features inspiring stories and interviews with women who have made significant contributions to the tech industry.

“Ladybug Podcast” by Emma Wedekind, Kelly Vaughn, and Ali Spittel: discusses various topics related to software development and the experiences of women in the tech field.

Networking events

“Grace Hopper Celebration” (GHC): the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, offering networking opportunities, workshops, and inspiring keynote speakers.

“Women in Tech Summit” (WITS): a series of regional conferences that bring together women in technology for networking, career development, and skill-building sessions.


“Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley” by Emily Chang: explores the gender gap in the tech industry and offers insights into creating a more inclusive work environment.

“The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership” by Sally Helgesen: examines the unique strengths and leadership styles that women bring to the workplace.

These are just a few examples, and there are many more resources available tailored specifically to women in tech. It’s always beneficial to explore local meetups, online forums, and social media groups focused on women in technology to expand your network and access additional resources.

Read more from our inspirational women here.