To celebrate International Women’s Day, Christina Pendleton, Chief People Officer at Intercity, highlights four of our amazing colleagues, their career journeys and advice they have for women in tech.
Without further ado, meet our four female IT professionals who are challenging the status quo.
Siobhan Bond, Testing and Service Manager
Previously a Support Worker for Mencap, Siobhan was looking for a career change when she decided to break into the IT sector and retrain by completing a master’s degree in information systems at the University of Brighton in 2001. After stints at SHL and ROL Group, Siobhan joined Gage Networks in 2008, which was bought by Intercity in 2015.
When asked what advice she has for women in tech roles, Siobhan said: “I think the biggest challenge is ourselves; whether that’s the perception we have of tech being a man’s world, or a lack of belief in our own skills to put ourselves forward for new opportunities. Imposter syndrome is one of the biggest challenges we have. We need to break down the myth that these are men’s roles - I think that puts a lot of women off even applying in the first place.”
Lisa Batty, Development Manager
Encouraged by her dad to get into tech from a young age, Lisa soon discovered her passion for web design and content management by creating websites for local businesses after finishing college. She was spotted by a community portal team who took her on to write and manage their digital content, and her IT career grew from there. She joined Gage Networks in 2009, leading her to Intercity when the businesses merged in 2015.
Discussing her career journey, Lisa explained: “I have been fortunate to have had some excellent mentors during my career so far – they have been the ones to identify my abilities and set me on a path to achieve much more than I could have anticipated myself.
“I have been able to take several opportunities offered to me to broaden my skills in various marketing, product and development roles in tech industries - the creativity within development has always been a passion, and working within a development team is my happy place in work!”
Nyomi Williams, Tier 1 ISOC Engineer
After studying at the University of Manchester, Nyomi started her career in tech by undertaking various courses in IT, gaining her BTEC and CompTIA qualifications. This gave her the foot in the door that she needed to land her first IT role as a service desk analyst, where she built up her experience working in a busy environment taking calls, raising tickets, and owning cases from start to finish. This led her to her current role in Intercity, which she started in 2020.
When considering the obstacles she had to overcome to get into IT, Nyomi advises: “I had to be very determined and persistent when I was trying to get into a tech role. It can be difficult to be taken seriously as a woman in tech.
“Women are often put off as it’s traditionally seen as a men’s role. We don’t see many women represented in the sector, so it can seem unattainable. Girls should be encouraged from an early age, which is why outreach in schools is so important, through workshops and mentoring projects.”
Lucy Bristow, ISOC Tier 1 Engineer
Lucy joined Intercity in May 2021 after discovering a passion for coding while completing a marketing apprenticeship. She soon completed an IT course in college and landed a job in IT support at a different company.
Discussing her career journey, Lucy said: “I loved the element of fixing things and helping people. The communications team at the company I was working for caught my eye, and I thought that would be the perfect path for me. And that’s where Intercity came in! I get to help people, fix problems and work in communications!”
When asked about her experiences as a woman in tech, Lucy added:
“I was one of two women in my IT course at college. The rest of the class were all males, which was surprising and often intimidating, as it sometimes felt like we had to work harder to be noticed. I have also often been asked if I am the receptionist when I am one of two engineers in my team, so I’ve had to be really resilient.”
So, what is Intercity doing to tackle the obstacles women face in tech roles?
Since joining the organisation in 2014 as HR Advisor, Intercity’s Chief People Officer, Christina Pendleton, has led the development of talent within Intercity. She initiated its ‘Women in Tech Networking Group’, a monthly event hosted by the company, which is designed to celebrate gender diversity, encourage more women into technology roles, and retain and attract more women to work at Intercity. She’s also pushed forward the business’s ‘schools initiative’ to help address the lack of diversity across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
She explained: “We’re committed to preventing unconscious bias when recruiting by reviewing job advertisements for gendered language, so we’re not putting women off from applying. In terms of our recruitment processes, our managers have had unconscious bias training and we always use diverse interview panels to ensure fairness.
“To improve the diversification of our talent pipeline we also work with the social enterprise Ahead Partnership, to encourage more females into STEM careers. This includes presentations at schools, colleges and universities as well as career panels; offering interview practice and encouraging more women to apply for work experience.”
“Our Women in Tech Networking Group discusses challenges faced across our sector and how we can look to address these to ensure we retain a diverse and inclusive working environment. The group discusses how to celebrate our gender diversity, and managing a work-life balance, but also how to encourage more women into the industry, and importantly, how we can improve our working environment and culture.
“Imposter syndrome is a key issue raised by the group, so we hold events to improve confidence. One of the key aspects of the group is that we take it in turns to present, so we can build confidence in a safe environment.
“We also champion our female talent with mentoring schemes, and we have lots of exciting female talent at Intercity that are already rising into management and leadership positions.”
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