Musidora JorgensenMusidora is Area Vice President and Head of UK Energy & Utilities at Salesforce.

This sees her working with customers to digitally transform their businesses to gain greater insights into their own customers. She has been selling and leading teams within the IT industry for over 20 years, both within the UK Enterprise Private and Public sectors. Musidora is passionate about supporting more women in the STEM industries and is an active mentor, coach and sponsor for women in sales. She won the Best Sales Mentor category at the EMEA Women in Sales Awards 2018, as well as being recognised as one of the Yahoo Finance HERoes top 100 Female Future Leaders 2020 and one of the 50 Kindness & Leadership Leading Lights 2020.

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

I had great advice when thinking about a career and what to study at university, which was to choose something I was interested in rather than something I thought I should be doing. I have always had a real interest in people and what make us who we are, so I studied psychology. I learnt about the science of people and a serendipitous meeting introduced me to sales where I get to work with people every day and use my degree in a different way.

Today, I am Area Vice President and Head of UK Energy & Utilities at Salesforce. I work with customers to digitally transform their businesses to gain greater insights into their customers. I have worked in the IT industry for over 20 years.

I am passionate about promoting gender diversity and encouraging women into STEM. I am an ally and speaker for the Salesforce Women’s Network and part of our internal group focused on more inclusive hiring. I am regularly involved in initiatives to support women in their careers and I’m proud to have spoken at the House of Commons as part of the Gamechangers Women’s Network.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I would love to say I have a grand master plan but that hasn’t ever been the case. In my experience, planning too far ahead means you can miss out on unforeseen opportunities. I sit down and look at what I want to achieve from my current role; the impact I want to make, what I can learn and how I can help others and then think about how that can lead to the next step.

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

I’ve certainly experienced sexism, unfair pay and bullying in my past but this hasn’t swayed me. Sometimes challenging experiences encourage you to find alternative pathways and help you become stronger in the long-run. Working in a male-dominated environment has made me passionate about addressing the imbalance within STEM.

If you feel like something is off, you are probably right. I always encourage people to seek help and council from others.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Structuring big transformational deals with customers has always been exciting but I have also found it rewarding moving into a leadership role and being able to help others to be successful. It makes me incredibly proud to see my team come together with a common purpose to deliver customer success. One enjoyable aspect of being a leader is unlocking the potential in others, building their confidence and watching them thrive.

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

I have had great mentors throughout my career, and it’s encouraged me to mentor and support others externally and internally. One of the big elements of diversity and inclusion is ensuring that there are visible role models people can aspire to be like. That’s a big lever — you can’t be what you can’t see.

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

Three big things have helped me handle career challenges and succeed:

  1. Having a growth mindset; being curious, asking questions and learning. We never know everything and learning is a continuous journey we should be driving on a daily basis.
  2. Working hard and getting involved; there is no place for ego; equality and trust are core values and everyone must contribute.
  3. Staying positive; this can be tough in sales when you are not selling or hitting targets but without having a positive attitude you’ll fail fast.

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

We still have a long way to go before technology companies become truly diverse and inclusive in terms of gender. Many women think they are barred from technology because they have no formal digital education but that is not true.

Business leaders can do more to support that challenge by promoting female careers in tech as a platform for progression, for learning, for enjoyment, and by executing programmes that tackle institutional barriers.

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

Equality is one of Salesforce’s core values at Salesforce. We regularly assess our representation to close the gap in female hires and leadership, and are committed to equal pay and introducing gender equality programmes to support women develop their careers.

Post-pandemic many companies are at risk of creating a two-speed work environment — with men at the office and women at home, juggling work and childcare. Salesforce provides financial support to primary caregivers to ensure equal opportunities. Trailhead, our online learning tool, revolutionises the path to female digital employment and can take someone from a low level of technical knowledge into Salesforce roles in as little as six months.

Increasing the participation of women in the tech workforce is one of the biggest opportunities we have to solve the skills problem. Research has shown that companies that invest in equality — such as diversity programs and equal pay — and lead with values have a competitive advantage.

There are currently only 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?

Unconscious bias is holding the industry back. It needs to be addressed if we are going to solve this issue. Last year, we launched an all-manager training that includes bias awareness and a new process to ensure our promotions process is fair, consistent and accessible. These principles are also key during the hiring process.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

The best thing you can do is talk to people, be curious, listen to podcasts, join organisations and attend events. There are great resources on LinkedIn and some inspiring women you can learn from like Dame Stephanie Shirley, one of my role models, who started the first software company and was a trailblazer in tapping into the female job market and creating opportunities for women of all ages and backgrounds.

Be brave and ask questions because, in my experience, people are happy to help.