Emily Miller

Inspirational Woman: Emily Miller | VP of Sales, EMEA, Workhuman

Meet Emily Miller, VP of sales, EMEA, Workhuman 

Emily Miller

In this piece, we talk to Emily Miller, VP of sales, EMEA at Workhuman.

Based in the UK, Emily is responsible for overseeing and expanding Workhuman’s sales team in the EMEA region. Emily is an experienced leader with a track record of overachieving revenue targets and leading high-performing teams within the tech and professional services industry. She has built and directed teams to success across a wide range of products, channels and regions, launching, integrating and scaling businesses to achieve healthy growth.

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

I have had a long and successful sales career in the tech and professional services industry. Before Workhuman, I spent ten years at CEB, Inc. (Corporate Executive Board) and later joined Gartner as Managing Vice President for its sales and marketing practice across Europe and APAC.

Now, as Vice President of Sales EMEA at Workhuman, I help companies to build a more human workforce through gratitude and recognition. There is a growing awareness of the strength of a diverse, human workforce, and embracing the differences that make us unique individuals – that make us human – is what Workhuman is trying to encourage in organisations all around the world.

We help organisations build inclusive cultures of connection, increase employee engagement and retention, and celebrate the human workplace, primarily through tailored recognition and reward programmes. Recognition that is shared amongst peers and across a whole company can be a powerful tool in bringing people together, especially important in today’s digitally-dispersed working world. In our latest survey with Gallup, for example, we found that organisations with a culture of recognition can increase employee engagement by four times, as well as save up to $16.1M (£13M) annually in employee turnover.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I never had a formal plan, but early on in my sales career I naturally gravitated towards coaching, and this led to me focus on people-leader positions. I also knew that I wanted to try out lots of different roles. I’ve had a number of roles across a variety of regions and products which have given me diverse opportunities for growth.  This variety has enabled me to build up a wide range of both transferable and specific skills.

Just before joining Workhuman, I was looking for a values-led organisation that had a strong sense of purpose – and this is what I found! Throughout my career I have focused on a skills-led evolution, and I’m delighted that this has now led me to a role and a company that I’m really passionate about.

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

One of the biggest challenges I faced was when there was a huge go-to-market redesign while I was pregnant. There was a huge amount of uncertainty and questions around how I would handle a bigger role with a baby. In the end, I didn’t do anything special to overcome this challenge – I continued to show my ambition and capabilities to do the job and deliver results as before. Key to this was learning to re-prioritise to ensure that high-impact tasks got done. I found that prioritising in this way on a daily basis worked best. This also meant learning to be ok with letting things slide that were not important in the long term. That would be my main piece of advice to women struggling with the balance of work and personal life – you need to have a laser-like focus and be okay with making trade-offs.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of prejudices when it comes to working mothers and pregnant women.

I think the best way to overcome this is to normalise working mothers, parents, and pregnant women in the workplace. Allowing open and honest conversations whilst at the same time recognising the work individuals contribute and the part they play in the organisation, no matter their circumstance, will create a more human workplace where everyone feels included, supported and welcome.

Luckily, more and more organisations are supporting women in this way. Workhuman, for example, has brought at least seven pregnant applicants on board since 2019, including our Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Amy Rice, who has since strived to pay it forward by making sure not to overlook qualified expectant applicants.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Throughout my career I have built and led teams to success across a wide range of products, channels and regions – using data to anticipate and respond to trends and market needs and successfully launching, integrating and scaling businesses to achieve healthy growth. It is difficult to pinpoint one specific moment to date, but what I am most proud of is my ability to build teams from scratch and enable them to over-achieve on goals. I am deeply proud of my role at Workhuman – a mission-led company – and adding value every day. Finally, I am truly proud and grateful to have been able to inspire other women and help them to see that they can ‘do both’.

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

Early on in my career I had some professional mentors, but these relationships were not necessarily so fruitful. What I’ve found more valuable are the allies I have found along the way – the people who mention your name when you’re not in the room. I’ve had a number of such people during my career, and this was particularly impactful during my time in one company when there were huge strategic shifts, including layoffs and job changes. My journey to success benefitted hugely from these allies – these valuable relationships with people who have championed me in current roles and advocated for me in new ones.

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

First of all, I firmly believe that female leaders have to speak up. Women ought to be confident in their abilities and promote their skills with conviction and belief. Alongside this, I’d say the best thing to do is to network – to gather a group of supportive peers who can act as your advocates when needed, whether that’s an Employee Resource Group (ERG), your team members, or a mentor. In addition, a company-wide peer-to-peer recognition programme really helps in this scenario, as it encourages employees to regularly give thanks to one another, and speak up about each other’s achievements. As well as creating a great company culture of positivity and gratitude, this also provides individuals, teams and managers with concrete evidence of everyone’s achievements, engagement and productivity which can be key to making decisions about career progression.

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

I would say there are still a lot of minefields for women working in tech. Traditionally, women have had to find the right balance between being feminine and letting go of femininity in the workplace. For example, many women say that if you wear heels and a fitted dress, you’re looked at one way, if you wear flats you’re viewed another. Women are also often viewed as aggressive if they speak up, yet meek if they don’t. There are so many double standards like this.

One thing that really helps is having a male supporter or female leader to help you grow and show your talents. Once again, it’s these positive, supportive relationships that can really help women overcome challenges in the workplace.

I’m also a big believer in having formalised groups to actively combat bias and support individuals within an organisation. At Workhuman we have several such groups, like our [email protected] ERG. Through ongoing opportunities for connection, support, and networking, [email protected] provides our people with resources and opportunities to excel in both their parenting and career journeys.

Another way to overcome barriers for women working in tech is to actively celebrate the women within your own organisation. This can be on a public level, such as through events for International Women’s Day, or at a company level. The latter is where peer-to-peer recognition programmes come in handy, as they provide a framework and platform through which employees can celebrate, recognise, and reward each other on a regular basis. This is a great way to show the positive impact women are having in tech organisations and roles, and so will help overcome bias. What’s more, per our Gallup survey, employees who consistently experience authentic recognition at work are five times as likely to see a path to grow in their organisation and 44% more likely to be “thriving” in their life overall.

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

There are several key steps organisations can take to support women. The first is to simply understand the challenges they are facing.

As an example, Workhuman iQ research estimates that unconscious – or implicit – bias in the workplace is found in 20%-30% of written communications, even in a positive setting. In this environment, it can be hard for women to feel psychologically safe. Indeed, our survey into psychological safety revealed that men experience higher psychological safety than women, and moreover that working parents have lower psychological safety compared to non-working parents.

In this light, it’s vital that employers take the time to listen to their female employees to find out what would help them. This could be through regular check-ins, frequent pulse surveys or using AI-powered data analysis to identify and mitigate unconscious bias in recognition programmes.

Organisations should then take action accordingly wherever possible, by making sure women feel welcome and included. This can be done, for example, by creating programmes to develop future female leaders and promote female role models. Identify aspiring female leaders – through regular check-ins or peer-to-peer recognition – and match them with coaches and mentors, providing women throughout an organisation with development opportunities and a chance to build connections of trust across all levels, promoting change for all.

Another great way to support women is through specific ERGs. At Workhuman, we have a Women & Allies ERG as well as a Women in Technology group to support women across the organisation, identifying opportunities for allyship, mentorship and sponsorship. Today’s employees want to connect, share and learn from others at all stages of their careers. Relationships with mentors, sponsors or allies can help them achieve that. The Women & Allies @ Workhuman ERG ran some really impactful events in 2021, including a virtual speed networking event to reconnect women and allies, and a series of International Women’s Day events under the banner of #ChooseToChallenge.

Organisations can also look externally, partnering with and supporting existing groups that support women in tech. Workhuman, for example, is a member of STEM associations such as Women in Technology and Science Ireland, and supports organisations like Women ReBoot, which helps women with tech sector skills and experience to return to work after a career break.

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?

I think one thing that would make a big difference would be to have more, and more visible, female role models in the tech industry. Female representation matters – without it, what does that say to young girls? Female leaders bring different attributes to the workplace, particularly industries like tech that are still heavily male-dominated. They have been shown to be more empathetic, collaborative, and have more soft skills overall. Over the last 10 years, these skills have been mentioned more and more, and there is now greater awareness of the impact of soft skills and how to bring out those traits in the workplace. So, I’d say we’re at a turning point in that regard.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

You’ll get advice from all sorts of people throughout your life – what I have learnt is to actively choose to listen to people who give you energy and inspire you. This can be different for every individual. Personally, I love listening to people like Brené Brown.

Ritu Mohanku featured

Inspirational Woman: Ritu Mohanka | Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, EMEA, Glint

Ritu MohankaRitu is the leader of Glint’s business development and strategic growth in EMEA. She joined Glint from IBM Kenexa after fifteen years in senior leadership positions.

At IBM, she worked with some of the world’s most recognizable organizations to drive rapid revenue growth across the EMEA region. Throughout her career, she has been widely recognized for having peerless CXO relationship skills and an ability to source, partner, win and flawlessly execute complex technology solutions mandates from the largest global organizations. She’s personally led many key projects across a wide range of sectors from Financial Services to Pharma, Industrials and Retail, linking results to overall strategic business goals to drive performance.

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

I work at employee engagement leader Glint, where I head up business development across EMEA. Now based in London, I’m originally from Kolkata, India, though I've worked and lived all over Europe, including in Paris, Munich and Vienna.

Most of my career has been in senior leadership positions, leading teams in companies such as Kenexa (now part of IBM) and now Glint, sourcing and executing enterprise level technology solutions in a myriad of sectors for the largest global organisations. Glint’s solutions successfully connect employee engagement results to overall strategic business goals to unleash performance improvements.

The world of employee engagement is an exciting one, especially right now: it’s such a critical time for organisations to be reaching out to their people, both in the midst of lockdown and on the road to recovery. In the midst of such instability, it’s absolutely key that people feel heard and involved. Listening to your employees gives leaders insight into what people need most during times of stress and rapid change, to help them be happier and more successful.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?  

The honest answer would have to be ‘no’. I originally wanted to work in advertising or executive recruitment. I hadn’t even thought about the technology sector in my early days because the world and the sector was so very different and much lower profile than the highly visible complex and dynamic ecosystems that thrive today. But when I took the career opportunity offered, I discovered how much I actually enjoyed working at the juncture of business, People Science and technology. Fortunately, I discovered that I was actually quite good at it and became fascinated by both the technology and behavioural science aspects. So it proved a very happy accident.

Actually, there was one part of my career that I did plan carefully—when to have my family. I didn’t want to start having children until I had reached a certain career level, and where my value to the organisation was proven. It would have been great if I hadn’t felt I needed to do that, but personally, I think it was the right choice for me. Joining Glint was also a very intentional decision. I researched the firm carefully, but ultimately, the decision came down to the leadership team and what a mission- and values-driven organisation it is. The fact that Glint’s values aligned to my own values, in putting people at the heart of what we do, was very important to me.

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

As an Indian woman raised in a hyper-traditional setting, I’ve experienced many barriers to entry over the course of my working career, particularly in my early years building a professional pathway. Earlier on in my career my biggest challenge was not really knowing what I was actually skilled at and what I was best leaving to others with different talents. For example, I was never going to be the Advertising Creative Director I once dreamed of becoming!

I also struggled with recognising that asking for other people’s help could be a huge benefit in helping me understand my strengths, where my career should be headed and how to get there. Mentorship is often talked about but not always sought out. It’s incredibly important, however, especially at the early stages of a career, particularly for young women, and even more for young women of colour, who face specific challenges. I was lucky to be helped at many points by some amazing people who knew what great leadership was.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Recognition is a powerful motivator and makes all your hard work worthwhile. I know it does for me. I think of when I was recognised by peers and the leadership team at Kenexa (now IBM) and winning its ‘Most Valuable Person’ (MVP) award. Also being recognised several times in the FT and other leadership awards/Lists has been rewarding to me, too.

I was delighted to recently make it on to the EMpower Executive Role Model 2020 list (it’s actually the second time I have been included, I am honoured to say). It acknowledges professional achievements of the workplace BAME community, and it’s something I am very proud of being part of. EMpower is seeking to break down barriers for minorities, and I believe our work at Glint is also contributing to that mission.

In terms of work accomplishments, there are quite a few that I am proud of. A standout for me, rather than a single global deal as such, is probably taking on the acquisition of a German business, and in 18 months leading it to become a fully-fledged Central and Eastern European organisation, growing revenue by 400%.

I do have to say that for me, career and personal achievements are intertwined. In my personal life I am pleased and proud that I got lucky in marrying the right guy, that I have brought up two wonderful boys, and that I am always there when my parents and family have needed me.

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

There is no single thing that makes you successful, sorry! Some of it is down to luck, and a lot of it is down to hard work; but without help it’s really hard to succeed. I was lucky that my parents inculcated in me a massive drive to achieve from an early age and were hugely supportive of me. Despite coming from a very traditional Indian family setting where girls were not expected to work, my parents pushed against the cultural norms to give me those career opportunities and a great education.

And relatedly, having a really good support system in place is hugely important. I was always supported by an unbelievable set of parents.

And once I got married, my husband and my children have been my rock. My family believes in me and having such a great support system means that I can do what I do and why I am where I am today.

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

1) work hard but also work smart — nobody needs a burnout 2) if you are unsure, seek advice, weigh it up and use it well 3) ask for help when you need it, and 4) keep adding to your skills; you can’t be a one trick pony in leadership positions, especially in the fast-moving world of technology.

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

The reality is that in some organisations there are barriers, whether subconscious or not. However, thankfully there are now many open-minded people in leadership positions who believe in equality and understand that long-term business performance is founded on diversity in every form. We are increasingly acknowledging that differences in experience, background, and thought are the wellspring of new ideas and innovation and the bedrock of good decision making. So let’s all say goodbye to tunnel vision and groupthink!

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

Raising awareness is an important step, but it is just a first one. Training existing managers will only go so far as it’s changing behaviours and taking actions that will ultimately make the difference. Organisations have to recognise that most women are not ‘alphas’ and don’t necessarily operate in that way – but they can still perform and outperform their male counterparts. So existing processes and systems of support and evaluation have to evolve to start taking that more into account, so that women feel more comfortable being themselves at work. It’s only when people feel fully accepted for being their unique selves at work that they can be happy, highly productive and perform their best work.

By providing frontline managers with insightful data, tailored guidance, and curated learning resources, you can actually equip more leaders to build inclusive practices into their team’s day-to-day experiences and create a nurturing workplace. In particular, that means creating a space for conversations that might be uncomfortable but are needed, as they will promote active listening, shared understanding and connection.

There is currently only 17% 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 am deeply committed to removing barriers to women in technology. I am however not in favour of encouraging positive bias or discrimination in hiring and promoting decisions. It’s far easier for management to create new jobs or promote individuals than to actually overhaul a culture, but that’s what’s required to help cement real changes in the workplace, and indeed more broadly across all our lives.

I would use my magic wand to make a fair and inclusive meritocracy a reality, adopting a strategy that supports valuing people on ability and potential.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Knowledge builds self-confidence in your own abilities and increases your chances of succeeding. So it’s important that we keep learning and that we find the best learning medium for ourselves. Especially as now we have so many more options available, which are so easy to access. LinkedIn Learning has some brilliant resources to help here.

For managers, creating a nurturing and inclusive workplace culture remains your priority. LinkedIn Learning has some resources to help there, too.

WeAreTechWomen has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Professor Sue Black OBE, Debbie Forster MBE, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

Inspirational Woman: Nancy Rowe | Inclusion & Diversity Lead, EMEA, Publicis Sapient

Nancy RoweNancy Rowe is Co-Chair of our Inclusion & Diversity Council and is a passionate and committed Inclusion and Diversity champion within a region of 4,000 employees with extensive strategy, leadership and change management experience.

Her experience spans a period of 20 years working in digitally-led organisatons in client facing, strategy, research and insight and people roles.

Her inclusion journey began through her involvement with the Publicis Groupe wide women’s network VivaWomen!, which she Co-Chaired for four years, before transitioning to lead Inclusion and Diversity across the Publicis Sapient International business full time. She has been a member of the BIMA Diversity Council since 2017 and has led a number of events and initiatives designed to shine a light on the benefits of diverse teams and creating inclusive workplace cultures. Working for a leader among Digital Business Transformation Accelerators (Forrester, 2019) Nancy’s interest lies at the heart of unlocking minority representation in technology enabled businesses.

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

I’ve worked in the UK digital industry for over twenty years. My interest in technology began when I won my local council’s Most Promising Pupil in Technology award when I was 12 or 13 years of age. I’ve always been fascinated by the possibilities of technology; to create an exciting future that is only limited by our imaginations. Despite not studying to become a developer, it’s through roles in interactive creative agencies in both sales and strategy that I have been able to explore how technology can impact our lives and be a force for good. My interest in Inclusion & Diversity began with my involvement in Publicis Groupe’s women’s network, which began on a volunteer basis. After five years of leading our women’s network across our UK business, an opportunity arose to combine my strategy skills with my growing interest in I&D and I took up my current role as the European lead of I&D at Publicis Sapient, the groupe’s Digital Business Transformation Consulting arm. Around the same time I became a member of BIMA’s Inclusion & Diversity Council, which is a cross industry initiative designed to create real and sustainable impact on the inclusivity and diversity of the digital industry in the UK. I’m also a member of the Women’s Forum Daring Circle for Women in AI. A global, cross-industry forum dedicated to ensuring women are not disproportionally affected by the development of AI and that women play a key role in the development of AI.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve never had 3, 5 or 10 year plans but I’ve definitely known at every stage of my career exactly the area I wanted to be working in at that moment and within the next couple of years. In my 20s, life in a digital agency was fast-paced and the opportunity to work alongside talented individuals from both creative and technology fields was exciting and enjoyable. As I progressed in my career it become clear that I wanted to fulfil a greater purpose and combine my research and strategy skills in a role that could demonstrably change the experience of working in tech for marginalised groups.

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

I started a family when I hit my 30s and on my return to work I was struck by how difficult it was for working mothers to be seen to be committed to their careers as well as being good mothers. It was definitely either/or and there are many people in business who unfortunately still think this is the case. My response however, was to think just because it’s always been this way (for working mothers) it doesn’t have to always be this way, so I decided to bring women together to discuss what we were going to do about it! I’ve been on a 10 year mission to reinvent the world of work to be more responsive to the needs of working mothers (and fathers) and honestly do feel that in some areas we are making progress.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Probably lobbying to have a regional I&D role within my current organisation created to effectively manage the diversity of our talent and drive us towards a culture of inclusion.

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

Leveraging all the skills I had as a strategist and researcher, anticipating the seismic shifts that were coming in the digital age - an era of globalisation during which those organisations who are able to harness the sum of all their parts are truly the ones who gain competitive advantage.

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

Firstly, know that technology as an industry is a very broad space. Not everyone who works in tech is a developer – there are marketers, designers, finance teams etc. However, if you do wish to become a developer or a data scientist for example, know that the number of women moving into this space is increasing, many organisations are keen to support women in technology roles and you absolutely will have the right skills, knowledge and aptitude to succeed. The more we all normalise technology careers for women, the faster we’ll get to equal representation of women and men in tech.

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

Let’s be honest, yes there are still barriers. We’ve already spoken about educational norms being slightly stacked against women in STEM, but there are also societal ones around women in work in general, and especially working mothers. Then within organisations there are also systemic barriers, invisible performance evaluation biases and talent selection criteria which can also be a barrier.

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

Understand where you are now (in terms of your female representation) from a data perspective. How well does that stack up against women in the total population (generally 50%)? How happy are you with that? If you decide you want to be a force for good, set a target for your gender representation publicly and commit to achieving it by a given date. Hold your leadership team accountable for achieving it.

Use data to evaluate the number of women who apply for roles, get interviewed and successfully appointed.

Once you do employ women, pay them the same as men, regardless of their previous salary. Do not inherit and maintain inequity. Do the right thing.

There is currently on 17% 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?

Legislate that all technology roles have to be filled 50% by women.

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

HBR’s Women at Work Podcast

Book: Invisible Women by Caroline Craido Perez,

Meet up: London Tech Ladies

Danielle Ramsbottom

Inspirational Woman: Danielle Ramsbottom | Director of Client Management, Frank Recruitment Group

Danielle RamsbottomDanielle Ramsbottom is Director for Client Management across EMEA. She began her career in recruitment 19 years ago after graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a degree in European Business, Spanish, and French.

Always maintaining a keen focus on corporate client engagement and specialising in technology recruitment across all industry sectors, Danielle is also passionate about all matters relating to diversity, and takes the lead on Frank Recruitment Group’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy, both internally and across the company’s client network.

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

Apart from a very brief stint in fashion, I’ve worked in the technology recruitment industry since I graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2000. I started at a Big Top 3 Recruitment leader as a trainee, and progressed quickly through the ranks, leading permanent recruitment teams and then later becoming Client Director, managing cross-industry enterprise customers. I moved to Frank Recruitment Group in 2016 to build a high-touch enterprise business for both our candidates and clients. I’ve built and led our EMEA Client Management function ever since. I’m also the Diversity and Inclusion Lead for EMEA, responsible for leading on initiatives that address the challenges facing our customers when it comes to creating a more inclusive workforce.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Being a linguist and always having an interest in fashion, I thought this would always be the route I’d go down as I was growing up. However, after declining a place on Harrod’s Graduate Training Programme I moved back up North and took a graduate position at Hays instead. I fell in love with recruitment and the technology industry very quickly and haven’t ever looked back. I always wanted to work in a role where I was customer facing, and had the ability to build relationships and help develop solutions to industry challenges such as gender diversity in tech.

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

Moving to Frank Recruitment Group was a really positive challenge—it was a leap from what was a very mature, established organisation to a company that was essentially a scale-up. It could’ve been a gamble, but I was inspired by the leadership, and I saw the opportunity to create agile solutions for our customers. Three years later, we’ve more than doubled in size, opened offices all over the world, and established relationships with some fantastic organisations.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

If you’ve ever been in a position to enjoy a promotion at work, you’ll know how much satisfaction can be gleaned from having your attitude and hard work rewarded. But some of the most gratifying turning points on your professional timeline come along when your professional efforts are recognised outside of the workplace.

I was recently nominated as a finalist in the 2019 European Women in Sales Awards, in the Business Development category, and that was an incredibly proud moment and a treasured milestone.

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

I’ve been very fortunate to have good mentors both within my company and in the wider industry. They’ve taught me the value of always being inquisitive, and listening before talking. By listening to your customers’ challenges, you can build solutions to help them overcome these and create long term, lasting relationships.

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

Find out which specific environment within the sector is the right one for you. There are a multitude of options, but until you find your place and begin to feel grounded in your role, there’s always a danger of uncertainty, which in turn can affect confidence.

Once you’ve found the right path, do everything within your power to master the tech, whatever that may be. Things like accreditations can provide a huge leg-up, and lead to much greater recognition within the workplace as well as wider tech communities.

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

We know that there’s still an issue at a grass-roots level. The number of girls and young women choosing to study STEM subjects has stalled.

Unless we do more to change that then organisations will always struggle to hire more women. At Frank Recruitment Group, we sponsor coding clubs for kids aged 7+ and we work with different higher educational facilities to give talks and workshops on tech careers. Making technology accessible and fun is absolutely key.

We also partner with key technology vendors offering returnship programmes for those wanting to come back into the technology after a break, as well as cross-training programmes in markets such as Salesforce and ServiceNow where demand outstrips supply.

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

First, I’d say that this is an issue that lots of our customers are really engaged with and many leaders within the tech industry are changing their hiring policies, adopting flexible working, instigating mentorship schemes—all things that help to shift the dial on gender imbalance. I think it’s important to acknowledge that and make it clear to any women considering a career in tech that she has a lot of options.

Of course, we can do more—I hope that we’ll see more women in leadership roles and greater collaboration across the industry to make the sector even more female-friendly.

There is currently only 17% 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’d say it’s about attitude. Do you see diversity as a box ticking exercise, or are you aware that having a diverse workforce has a positive impact on your bottom line? The research is out there—companies with better representation at board level outperform their competition. And companies that are perceived as more inclusive are more attractive to candidates of all genders. Once organisations genuinely understand the power of inclusivity then the pace of change is much faster.

At a practical level I think it’s about looking at every aspect of the industry and asking whether the practices we take for granted are really the best way of doing things, or whether making small changes will help to make workplaces more genuinely inclusive. I’d ask any organisation whether they’ve looked at the way their job ads are written, or if they’ve thought about the makeup of their hiring panel, or, if they offer flexible working, whether it’s emphasised on their careers page or buried in the small print. These are just some of the basics.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are some great individuals and organisations out there who share a lot of valuable content. My top three would be:

  • The Tech Talent Charter (follow on LinkedIn) – Frank Recruitment Group are signatories to this organisation aimed at cross-industry collaboration on diversity issues and they run events across the country.
  • Dr Sue Black is a real powerhouse, and she’s passionate about getting more women into tech—follow her on Twitter: @Dr_Black.
  • We are Tech Women, it goes without saying, have some great resources and events, and they have a really good list of podcasts.

Finally, nothing beats the power of face to face networking. Companies such as Salesforce, AWS and Microsoft hold regular meet-ups, so look out for events in your area.

Sharon Einstein featured

Inspirational Woman: Sharon Einstein | VP (EMEA) Robotic Automation & AI, NICE


Sharon EinsteinSharon Einstein is VP (EMEA) Robotic Automation and AI at NICE.

NICE is a billion-dollar technology company – headquartered in New York (office in Israel and London (Blackfriars)) that provides customer experience and employee engagement technology for the likes of BT, PayPal, Thomas Cook and Metro Bank.

Sharon joined NICE in 1997 as a system analyst and during her time at NICE has been on both sides of the fence: CIO – deciding on the technologies to grow and transform the business, and now VP EMEA Robotic Automation and AI – selling and implementing automation solutions to customers embarking on their digital transformation journeys.

Tell us about yourself, your background, your current role

I’m Sharon Einstein, VP EMEA Robotic Automation & AI at NICE. NICE provides customer experience and employee engagement technology for over 25,000 organisations in more than 150 countries, including over 85 of the Fortune 100 companies.

I joined NICE in 1997 in a temporary role as part of the MIS and IT team (Management Information System and Information Technology) and since then have worked in multiple roles. First, as a CIO, deciding on the technologies to grow and transform the business, and now leading our Robotic Automation and AI efforts in EMEA – selling and implementing automation solutions to customers embarking on their digital transformation journeys.

I’m from Israel, married and have two beautiful children – boy (9) and girl (7).

Do you ever sit down and plan your career?

When I was at university, I wanted to be a developer and planned a career in a R&D (research and development) industry. But just before I graduated, I got a temporary position at NICE in MIS & IT and haven’t looked back since.

When I started my career I set myself a clear goal – to become CIO – knowing the impact technology has in business. The path to getting to this point wasn’t mapped out for me – but I knew where I wanted to end up. It helped stoke the fire and drove me to be at the front end of technology development and implementation.

In came NICE. As a company known for its innovation, it led me to the role I have now. This leads me to my first bit of advice - to have a sense of where you want to go but to be flexible with your plans. A calculated risk and a willingness to seize a good opportunity, even if it’s unexpected, can pay large dividends.

Have you faced any challenges along the way, and if so have how you dealt with them?

Challenges make us all stronger. I know they certainly have for me. For me there are two buckets I place those challenges into. One is very much aligned with the business. The other is how I manage out-of-work hours. Fortunately, I have benefited from a strong support system in both of those areas. I have learned that risk is inherent in the DNA of an innovative organisation and to not take risks will inevitably lead to failure. It is also how I approach my personal life. You must be open to where the road leads and sometimes be willing get your hands dirty and chart your own path. My second bit of advice: be daring.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace what would it be?

Women should be able to be their natural selves without apology. We all should be our authentic selves in the workplace and be ok with that.  This goes for men and woman. If you are aggressive by nature, so be it. If you are sensitive and emotional, so be it. We should be able to express ourselves just as we are, instead of being concerned that we’ll validate a stereotype.

I have seen it time and time again – women try to be less ‘emotional’ and more aggressive because that’s what we perceive others expect of us. Early in my career, I found myself questioning how emotion impacted my brand. I thought somehow, if I showed my feelings, I would be seen as weak by other colleagues. But in my opinion, showing a bit of emotion in the workplace is not a bad thing at all. It makes you more human and relatable. And my goal is to create an environment for my team where everyone can be their authentic self - regardless of gender.

How would you encourage more young women and girls into a career in STEM?

First off, I will say loudly that a career in STEM is very rewarding. The fact that you’re a woman shouldn’t hold you back. If you like technology, mathematics and science, then I’d highly recommend a career in STEM. Some might see a glass ceiling but from my perspective I see a lab floor.

I was exposed to IT from a very young age and was able to spend time with many intelligent people who taught me how their systems worked and encouraged me to innovate. I went on to study computer science and then I got the temporary job at NICE that got me started on this journey. It’s been a great career for me and I’d love to see more women in the industry.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I find technology an inspiration. Being a change agent for our MIS and IT teams,  transforming them from back-office/cost-centre functions where their real value recognition fell short, to strong business enablers is one of those moments.

A second achievement is the transformation of our EMEA Services division. As VP of Services and leader of an amazingly talented team of innovators, we delivered a three-year profitable customer loyalty programme. This effort was driven through a shared objective to deploy value at every customer interaction. We exceeded profitability and customer satisfaction targets, resulting in significant impacts to the overall business results in EMEA.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

The question I always find myself asking is what’s next. It’s important to always be future thinking. I expect my team to constantly uncover opportunities to influence how technology impacts the way we live and work. I have an expectation that we are each there for each other. I could not be prouder of our team. It is equally important that we constantly seek new talent to disrupt our norms. In that is the next big idea.

As a female and as an executive in an organisation like NICE, I feel a sense of responsibility to find ways to give back. We must spend time in our community, support causes we believe in and pave the way for the next generation. For me, personally, I look forward to what’s next and to mentoring the next woman or man who can step into my shoes.