Technology Record - Issue 33: Summer 2024

83 IN FOCUS: WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY The start of my technology career was the era of end-user computing, which was very new and a lot like it is today with data centre computing in that not a lot of people had experience in it. This meant that technology companies were willing to hire people who didn’t have as much experience with the technology but understood customer behaviours. Please tell us about a key moment from your career and how it has helped to shape you as a leader. CB: Fifteen years ago, I participated in my first Microsoft partner advisory council and have served on three different Microsoft councils since. This experience allowed me to cultivate essential skills such as networking, public speaking, problem-solving and team collaboration. It was an incredible journey that significantly elevated my leadership capabilities. Moreover, it connected me with many lifelong friends, creating bonds that have lasted well beyond our time on the councils. The experience was truly transformative, both professionally and personally. AR: Early in the pandemic, as CEO of WomenTech Network and a new mother, I faced the challenge of cancelling all in-person events. Choosing to adapt rather than wait, we organised our first-ever virtual conference within three months. This experience taught me resilience and agility, and it deepened my commitment to supporting women in technology. The overwhelming feedback from attendees showed the conference not only expanded our reach but also provided a vital connection and hope during a difficult time, strengthening our community globally. GS: When I had my first child, my manager at the time scheduled strategic meetings between 18:00 and 20:00, despite my requests to change the time due to nursing. This made me feel undervalued and taught me what kind of leader I didn’t want to be. Now, I always consider others’ availability before scheduling meetings. Collaboration software like Microsoft Teams is helping women to work flexibly from home so they can continue their role as caregivers while progressing in their careers. How has technology helped you, or people you mentor, to overcome challenges in the workplace? CB: Cloud services like Microsoft 365 enable employees to access documents and apps from