tech leadership

    Within the dynamic realm of technology, the interplay of diversity and innovation takes center stage. Women occupying leadership positions in the tech industry are instrumental in this ongoing narrative, significantly influencing its course. This article is a voyage into the far-reaching impact of women leaders in tech, shedding light on their roles in fostering creativity, driving technological advancement, and shaping the industry's future. Through the voices of Women in Tech Council Members, we will discuss emerging trends in tech leadership, glean invaluable insights from their personal journeys, and envision the yet-unwritten chapters of tech leadership ahead.

    The role of diversity in tech leadership

    How have women in tech leadership roles contributed to fostering diversity within their organizations and the industry as a whole? 

    I am grateful for the opportunity to work in an industry that is constantly changing and evolving. I am passionate about using technology to solve real-world problems and make the world a better place. As a woman in the tech industry, I have faced many challenges. I have been underestimated, overlooked, and discriminated against. But I have also experienced great support and encouragement from other women and men who believe in me.

    I believe that the future is bright for women in tech. We are making our voices heard and demanding a seat at the table. We are changing the face of the industry and making it more inclusive and equitable.

    Women in tech leadership roles have contributed to fostering diversity within their organizations and the industry as a whole in a number of ways, including:

    1.    By being role models and mentors for other women and girls. Women in tech leadership roles show other women and girls that it is possible to succeed in the tech industry, even though it is still a male-dominated field. They can also provide valuable mentorship and guidance to help other women and girls develop their skills and navigate the tech industry.

    2.    By promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives within their organizations. Women in tech leadership roles can use their influence to promote and support diversity and inclusion initiatives within their organizations. This can include things like unconscious bias training, employee resource groups, and flexible work arrangements.

    3.    By advocating for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry as a whole. Women in tech leadership roles can use their platforms to advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry as a whole. They can speak at conferences, write articles, and engage in social media activism to raise awareness of the issue and encourage other organizations to take action.

    Examples of DE&I women-led projects

    Could you provide specific instances of inventive solutions or projects initiated by women in tech leadership that have had a positive influence and promoted inclusivity?

    Women in IT leadership, in my opinion, have the potential to change the sector for the better. We can make a more inventive and equitable workplace for everyone by encouraging diversity and inclusion. Below are just a handful of the numerous ways in which women in tech leadership are employing their creativity and ingenuity to make the industry more diverse and inclusive:

    • Reshma Saujani created females Who Code, a non-profit organization that teaches females coding skills. Through this initiative, thousands of girls have been inspired and empowered to pursue professions in technology.
    • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki founded the Creators for Change initiative, which encourages and empowers creators who use YouTube to promote social change and diversity.
    • The Female Founders Fund was founded by Aisha Tyler, co-founder of ASK Ventures.** This fund invests in early-stage female-founded enterprises.
    • Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman started the Reset Your Resume program.** This program assists women who have taken time away from the profession in updating their resumes and re-entering the IT industry.

    - Syedun NessaCEO & Co-founder of Bee Technology & Research Hub and Council Member at WomenTech Network

    Emerging trends in tech leadership

    Can you pinpoint trends or emerging practices in tech leadership that are driven by women leaders and impact innovation?

    The emerging practices in tech leadership driven by women leaders and impacting innovation:

    Mentorship and advancement of women: As minorities in tech workplaces, women leaders face distinct challenges. By mentoring younger women professionals and building a supportive community, women leaders can help them navigate career landscapes faster and more effectively, setting them up for success.

    Adopting new technologies for work-life harmony: Women leaders are finding creative solutions through AI, automation, and other innovations to eliminate repetitive tasks and focus on higher-impact work. Their support of flexible work policies also empowers employees to balance priorities, leading to greater productivity.

    User-focused design: With strengths in empathy and emotional intelligence, women leaders often champion gathering ongoing user feedback to iteratively improve product accessibility, sustainability, and social impact. Their user-centric approach results in inclusive innovations that solve real-world problems.

    Fostering collaboration: Many women leaders encourage collective intelligence by promoting psychological safety on their teams. Brainstorming sessions with diverse perspectives spark fresh ideas and new solutions.

    Driving diversity and inclusion: Women at the forefront advocate for hiring more women and underrepresented groups across tech. Their diverse teams breed creativity and innovation.

    Lessons learned as a female tech leader

    What are the key lessons you've learned as a female tech leader in driving innovation and championing diversity?

    As a female tech leader driving innovation and championing diversity, I have learned valuable lessons that have shaped my approach:

    1. Listen intently: Working with extremely smart people, I've learned to truly listen to their innovative ideas. While the timing may not always be right to implement them immediately, I've come to understand that good leaders foster innovation by listening to diverse perspectives from their team.

    2. Know your "why": When building a solution or product, the most important thing is understanding the specific problem you aim to solve and who will benefit. An innovation that doesn't address a real need won't gain adoption and impact. The key is starting with a minimum lovable product, soliciting user feedback, and incrementally improving it to better serve your customers.

    3. True innovation emerges through collaboration: My greatest ideas have come not from solitary thinking but from brainstorming sessions where diverse professionals with varied viewpoints share creative solutions. By promoting psychological safety on my teams for people to speak up, we spark fresh thinking and innovation.

    - Sugandha Sahay, Technology Strategy and Program Management Leader at AWS and Council Member at WomenTech Network

    The role of inclusivity in tech leadership

    Can you share your thoughts on the future of tech leadership and its role in fostering inclusivity?

    It is important that Tech leadership consists of a diverse mix of individuals to ensure there is equal representation of different cultures, abilities, and lived experiences with unique perspectives when developing strategies and making key decisions that will influence our future. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) needs to be at the heart of the tech leadership agenda and is one of the key foundations for a thriving society. Leaders should be accountable for promoting policies and programs to achieve gender parity in emerging technological fields and create supportive workplaces with interdisciplinary approaches. Forward-thinking leaders with influence can help drive positive change in fostering inclusivity by role-modeling DEI behaviors for the betterment of society. It is important to develop gender-responsive innovation that challenges gender stereotypes and negative social norms, through the development of digital content, awareness campaigns, and teaching competencies for positive engagement in digital technologies and AI. Leaders need to help break down silos through cross-functional collaboration and reduce unconscious bias by helping to embed a psychologically safe environment so employees feel empowered and enabled to have their voice heard, be their authentic selves, feel valued, have a sense of belonging, and work together towards strategic outcomes.

    Women empowerment for leadership positions

    What advice do you have for organizations looking to empower more women in tech leadership positions?

    A deliberate and conscious commitment to a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy and visible senior leadership sponsorship is key to bridging the gender digital divide. Celebrate the successes of female leaders in your organization and create an environment that is built on a foundation of trust and respect. Women need equal opportunities, and allies - male and female advocates who recognize and believe in the importance of diversity to help challenge misconceptions and call out stereotyping and unconscious bias when it is encountered. Providing mentorship and coaching for women in tech leadership to share lived experiences and advice will help build confidence and capabilities and drive innovation. As well as providing learning opportunities and professional development to address topics such as Imposter syndrome, Leadership, Building your brand, Advocating for yourself, and Handling bias and stereotypes. Building communities and social opportunities to encourage knowledge-sharing and networking is important. Creating opportunities to give back to the community and industry will also help women in tech leadership positions feel fulfilled by inspiring others and being role model.

    Nyree Basdeo, Managing Consultant | People and Change at PA Consulting and Council Member at WomenTech Network

    In closing, the wisdom and shared experiences of our Women in Tech Council Members are truly inspiring. Their remarkable journeys have underscored the impact of women in tech leadership on fostering innovation and diversity within the industry. As we reflect on their insights, let us not only admire their accomplishments but also take their stories as a call to action.

    Empower the Future of Tech

    Your involvement can significantly reshape the tech industry towards a more diverse and innovative frontier. Step into mentorship roles, share your knowledge and experiences at WomenTech Network events and support women in tech and inclusivity initiatives as an organization.

    Together, let's drive the change towards a more inclusive tech realm, fostering creativity and technological advancement. Follow us on LinkedIn and join us in this pivotal movement and contribute to a brighter, more equitable future in tech!