In 2021 I had the pleasure of meeting interesting people from across the world of tech in Series 1 of the Hays Technology podcast, ‘How Did You Get That Job?’.
I had really insightful conversations with people from different backgrounds about their fascinating career stories, as well as hearing about how the world of technology has changed and continues to do so. It’s meant that many of my guests have forged their own path, while others have moved to a career in tech and enjoyed great success.
Before we start Series 2, I wanted to look back at those discussions and pick out the themes that stood out to me. You can listen to all of the episodes here.
My very first guest, Shailvi Wakhlu, Senior Director of Data at Strava, spoke of her pride in seeing people who worked under her become managers themselves. It’s not a transition that suits everyone, though. Adam Spearing is the EMEA Field CTO at Salesforce and a firm believer of the idea that the best way to acquire management skills is to shadow a mentor. He’s seen people start a trial and decide it’s not for them, while Jessica Chapplow enjoys her role as Head of Ecommerce at Havas Media because of the variety it brings.
I heard a lot about various approaches to leadership, and it reinforced the idea that there isn’t just one correct way to manage a team. Charles Ewen, Director of Technology at the Met Office, and Andrew Gould, Cyber Crime Programme Lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, both feel the need to stay up to date with relevant skills and highlighted the benefits of expertise. In contrast, Ale D’Ippolito, Customer Engineer at Google, stressed that her team are the experts, while she focuses on strategy and planning. Thomas Wythe, SVP Solutions at Go1, talked about the importance of motivating his team and finding the skills and tricks to do that effectively which, for LinkedIn COO Dan Shapero, comes down to the “LeBron James methodology” - being great and using that to make others great too!
Arron Goolsbey is the Global Head of Play Partnerships at Meta. I really liked an analogy that he gave on this subject: “My job is to make sure that everybody is on the bus and that the bus is going in the right direction. I don’t really care where people sit on the bus - we move people around all the time because we hired them not for the seat that they're going to sit in, we hired them for their attitude, for their passion, for their skill.”
Throughout the series I was keen to explore the theme of diversity in the tech industry, which is something we looked back on in the first of our bonus episodes.
From speaking to other women, Jessica Nemmers, Chief Security Office at Elevate, realised that she wasn’t the only one to experience imposter syndrome and feel the need to be more qualified than her male counterparts. Similarly, Kathy Chen of Citrix discussed how she overcame her lack of self-confidence and wondered whether an overall lack of visible success stories was a barrier to more women entering the tech workforce.
This idea of leaving a legacy came up in other episodes. Wakhlu explained that she feels responsible to provide a better working environment for future generations: “When I started, sexism was quite a bit of the default and things are so much better now. Bad behaviour is very unlikely to be tolerated. But on the other side, there is still a lot of bias. As a woman leader myself, I feel it is my duty to pave the path for future women leaders, and make sure that they have better experiences than I did, especially in the early days.”
D’Ippolito, pointed out that, if customer bases are becoming more diverse, it makes sense that companies employ people from other underrepresented groups. Goolsbey agrees and thinks companies have more to do in order to attract these people: “The outreach that we try to do in the tech industry needs greater levels of diversity and equality and inclusion in it. I would say we are constantly looking to expand the funnel for… those people that would love to make that kind of change but are afraid to put themselves out there, because they think they don’t have the traditional background or the skills or experience or that it's hyper-competitive.”
Look out for the second part of my Series 1 recap soon.
Chief Commercial Officer at Hays
Shaun is responsible for the creation and execution of sales strategies, as well as running the Major and National accounts organization, for Hays in the US. With over 20 years of staffing industry experience, Shaun now hosts the Hays Technology podcast, ‘How Did You Get That Job?’.