Celebrating International Women’s Day at Oak Engage
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Celebrating International Women’s Day at Oak Engage

Women may be still a minority when it comes to developing and leading in the world of technology - but as women rise in power so does their visibility. Rachel Davison, Head of New Business & Marketing at Oak Engage looks back on her career and talks about how she got where she is today in the tech industry. 

   Minute Read     Performance & Culture

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Oak Engage
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    “Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.”

    International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the historical, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day is also observed in support of taking action against gender inequality around the world.

    This is the day to appreciate their efforts! Organisations large and small come together to show women just how valuable they are in today’s society.

    We’re also here to celebrate all the women in tech! To celebrate digital advancement and champion the women forging innovation through technology 

    Women may be still a minority when it comes to developing and leading in the world of technology - but as women rise in power so does their visibility. Increasingly, more women are working to revolutionise entire industries.

    With this in mind, Rachel Davison, Head of New Business & Marketing at Oak Engage looks back on her career and talks about how she got where she is today in the tech industry. 

    #BreakTheBias with our Head of New Business & Marketing -  Rachel Davison

    How Did You Begin Your Career Journey? 

    People and culture have always been hugely important to me. I studied Business Studies with Human Resources Management at Northumbria University and also have a Masters Degree in Employment Law.

    I started my career journey at Turnitin, where I became the Global Human Resources Manager, giving me exposure to all levels of a scaling SaaS business. After which, I worked as a consultant, advising tech startups and scale-ups globally.

    This led to my role at Oak Engage as Head of New Business & Marketing where I sit on the company’s executive team and develop, coordinate and oversee all sales & marketing activity across all of Oak Engage’s channels. 

    What Would You Say Is Unique to Being a Female Leader in the Tech Industry? 

    I think the uniqueness lies in being a female leader in such a male-dominated industry. Women are extremely underrepresented in the technology industry.

    In the UK, Women Make Up 19% Of the Workforce and There’s Also a Gender Pay Gap in the Tech Sector - This Is Something That Needs to Change.

    Right now, technology is shaping the world we live in and we need more women to be able to direct and make decisions in the industry. I think we need to work harder to improve diversity and encourage women into STEM careers and raise awareness of the opportunities in technology. It’s still really hard to make a difference here and investments need to be made in training and promoting people internally as well as encouraging females at a younger age to get involved in STEM subjects and grassroots education.

    Gender bias is still a huge problem, especially in the tech sector and in order to combat this and promote equality, we need to be aware of the issue. Just because improvements and strides are being made, doesn’t mean it’s fixed and there’s still a long way to go. It's important to have all views heard within an organisation, so at a minimum, you need both men and women representation to begin to close the gap.

    As a Leader, How Do You Set the Tone for Your Team? 

    Positivity is key! If you’re not positive, how can you expect your team to be? 

    It’s also important to be open, honest and available to create a trusting relationship with your team. If something isn’t going the right way, take them aside and be honest - this way you can all come up with solutions together. Alternatively, if something is going right, let them know and give them praise and recognition for this. Knowing that your team has your trust, support and guidance are key. 

    How Do You Empower Others to Step Foot Into the Tech Industry? 

    A common misconception about the tech industry is that it’s all about engineering or coding, but you can still break into the industry through various other roles. Remember, all roles fit together to achieve the overall goal. 

    There are tech writers, graphic designers, SEO specialists, QA testers and many more roles that fit into the industry. For someone wanting to step foot in the industry, I would advise people to analyse their skill set and research what role they would be suited to. Even with little technical knowledge, there is an opportunity to learn the majority of skills on the job, it’s a marathon, not a sprint! 

    As I mentioned previously, organisations need to look inward and invest in training and people and promote internally. I went from a career in HR and people and now head a full sales & marketing team in a SaaS business. I think it’s also important to empower other women within your organisation, encourage them to speak up and get out of their comfort zone. Include everyone in meetings and don’t just let the loudest voices be heard.

    What Is the Best Decision You Have Made Regarding Your Career? 

    I think the best decision would have to be to come to Oak. It’s crazy stressful and busy at times but when I look at my team and how much progress we’ve made it makes it all worthwhile!

    Why Is It Important to Mentor Others? 

    Mentorship is extremely important and rewarding, especially in the workplace.

    It’s important for learning and development and can also help women gain confidence as they can use their mentor as a safe soundboard to bounce ideas off, explore opportunities and give them the motivation to hit milestones and make progress. On the flip side, teaching can also help you learn more and become a better leader as you help guide others.  

    What Advice Would You Give to People Looking To Start Their Career in Tech? 

    I think one thing that stands out for me is being yourself. Walking into a room or joining a call that’s full of men can be really intimidating and you might hesitate to be yourself. Embrace who you are. A lot of women suffer from imposter syndrome and lack confidence. You know you’ve worked really hard to get where you are, so act like it.

    How Did You Navigate Your Way Through a Male-Dominated Environment? 

    It’s important to have a group of women in who you can find support in. If you’re the only woman in your organisation it can seem intimidating and daunting to speak up on certain issues and make decisions, but surrounding yourself with like-minded women in a similar industry could help you strategise, and is also a safe space to let out frustrations.

    If you don’t know where to start with finding women in a similar position I would suggest attending or setting up local all-women networking groups. 

    Try to step out of your comfort zone and promote yourself. As women, we tend to be reserved when it comes to speaking out about our accomplishments but it’s important for people to understand what you’re contributing and how you’re making a difference. 

    To Conclude

    As individuals, we are responsible for what we think and what we do.

    Every day, we can break the bias. We can challenge stereotypes, fight bias, practice acceptance, broaden our minds, call out inequality, and celebrate women's achievements. Together, we can each help create a gender-equal world.

    If you'd like to get involved or find out more information on International Women's Day, follow the link here.

    Alternatively, celebrate digital advancement and champion the women forging innovation through technology here.

    Molly Southern

    Molly is a Content & Design Executive at Oak Engage. Coming from a background in Design, she can tailor her marketing approach to specialise in both visual and written content within her role.