This year we wanted to do something a little different at Cubic for International Women’s Day (IWD). We regularly hold ‘Women in Tech’ themed knowledge sharing sessions, so felt we needed to take it to the next level by hosting some of Ireland’s finest female trailblazers at an event to celebrate the contribution women make to the workplace.
Getting the balance right
On average internationally, just 25% of tech roles are filled by women. Women are widely underrepresented despite the fact that diversity in the workplace has been proven to boost productivity up to 40%.
At Cubic, we value the contribution each team member makes and seek to empower all staff, regardless of gender to reach their full potential. Women now make up 32% of the Cubic workforce representing a 6% increase year-on-year. Women hold roles across all departments, including 35% of the leadership positions. These leaders provide our teams with an alternative perspective and enhanced collaboration. They are role models for females who want to grow and support the tech sector.
To mark IWD my team and I organised a company-wide virtual event on the topic of ‘Women in the Workplace.’ Our aim was to provide a platform for inspiring female leaders from around Ireland to share their own personal experience of the journey to success.
Gina London, a published author, regular media analyst and Emmy-winning former CNN correspondent, kindly moderated the event, providing a warm and lively energy throughout. She talked about the IWD 2021 theme #choosetochallenge and encouraged us to call out gender bias or inequality when we see it.
Her number one tip was to embark on a mission to become purposeful communicators so we can share our values in a way that resonates impactfully.
Gina then led a panel discussion with inspirational female guest panellists:
-Lulu O’Sullivan, CEO & Founder of giftsdirect.com
-Barbara Nugent, MD at Transilient Coaching and Consulting
-Niamh Gunn, Social Entrepreneur, Lawyer, and Business Thought Leader, Dialogue Code
-Orla O’Gorman, Head of Listing Ireland & UK at Euronext
We also asked our in-house she-roes – Fiona Phillips (Marketing Director) and Niamh Grier (Head of Wholesale) – to speak on the panel, along with Cubic CEO Barry Napier, a long-time advocate for women in business. It was enlightening to listen to the panellist’s own stories of overcoming adversity and seemingly limitless resilience.
A common theme several speakers raised was the experience of burnout early on in their careers. Lulu talked about the lessons learned from experiencing challenging times, which ultimately equipped her with the skills required to achieve success, a sentiment shared by Barry.
Barbara discussed the worrying trend of ‘secret parenting’ something she often practiced in previous roles so as not to highlight family commitments to her work colleagues. She had to learn how to voice her opinions and put words to her voice. This echoed Gina’s advice on becoming purposeful communicators.
Fiona shared her mother’s story of being the first female employee at an Irish bank 45 years ago to return to work after having children, as previously it was common practice for women to leave their jobs once they started having children. With her mother as inspiration Fiona then went on to be the first woman to secure paid maternity leave with a previous employer. She paved the way for other women at that company to be able to take this vital time off when raising families and not needing to worry about financial security.
As each provided insight into their own journeys towards leadership, another theme was the key role mentorship programmes have played throughout their careers. Orla, highlighted that women need a role model to follow, usually in other women – ‘you need to see it to be it.’
I am a firm believer in mentorship programmes as a motivational tool. Mentees can grow their networks and create a safe space to illicit constructive feedback from an alternative perspective. This can ultimately guide them to accomplish goals more effectively. Mentorship is as beneficial for the mentor as it is for the mentee, both have opportunity to develop leadership skills in the process.
Leadership is about empowerment, giving people the chance to prove what they can do and carry it out with confidence. With empowerment bottom-up communication can flourish, according to Niamh Gunn, which is vital to an organisation’s survival.
Overall, it was a thought-provoking discussion, with many of the speakers sharing the view that the pandemic has taught us to slow down and appreciate the simpler things in life. Niamh Grier talked about how this calmer pace presents us with the opportunity to be more present in what we do, improving our focus.
By running these events, we are creating a sense of belonging and giving a voice to everyday she-roes to communicate how they benefitted from women supporting women. This event was well-attended by both female and male colleagues who have always been massively supportive, and we plan to make a donation an Irish women’s charity in support of women in business.
To date, Cubic has been named finalists in the Diversity in Tech awards and recently was Highly Commended in the Comms Business Awards for Diversity in the Workplace. If you are interested in joining our diverse team, check out our current vacancies here.