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Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors Part 2

Continuing with our ‘Meet the Women Rock Ambassadors’, founder, Alicia chats with Aoibheann, Jamie, Eleanor and Ben about why they wanted to get involved in this movement, what diversity means to them and how they see the landscape of ED&I changing. Alicia started Women Rock to let folk have a voice and make a positive change in the tech industry by empowering the groups that don’t usually get the recognition they deserve.

The whole of the Women Rock team feel so passionate about these subjects and we hope you enjoy meeting the gang on a more personal level! Each ambassador has a story to tell and this week we get a peek into the wonderful brains and lives of Aoibheann, Jamie, Eleanor and Ben…

Keep rocking!

Aoibheann – Senior Consultant

What does Diversity mean to you?

Diversity means that everyone feels represented and comfortable bringing their entire selves to the table.

What advice would you give to companies on how to attract the best diverse talent?

As a data recruiter, I’m obviously going to suggest figuring out a user-friendly way of collecting and making sense of diversity data of people already in your company. If you don’t know what groups aren’t represented in your teams, it’ll be super tough to know where to focus your efforts on balancing the scales.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

The list is long, but based on my walk to work this morning, if cat calling was a thing of the past that would be fabulous.

What has been your biggest success to date & What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Making the career switch from radiology to recruitment!

I still often pinch myself that instead of rolling up to an A&E night shift and grabbing my Xray machine, I get to support awesome tech for good companies scale their teams 😅

It’s probably my biggest challenge too, but definitely the most rewarding!

If you were a song what song would you be?

‘You Can Do It’ – Caribou 🕺

 

Jamie – Senior Consultant

What does Diversity mean to you?

An environment whereby everyone regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity gets paid and treated exactly the same (in line with their job and responsibilities obviously). Having views and opinions from people from different backgrounds surely only enriches experiences, which can only be a positive thing.

What advice would you give to companies on how to attract the best diverse talent?

Do more than just have a token gesture about D&I on their career page. I’ve seen some amazing websites when searching for people to interview for Women Rock that breakdown the diversity in their teams into gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. Even if it’s not where you want it to be, you can include a target diagram along with it to demonstrate it’s something you genuinely care about.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Not D&I related, but it would have to be to stop fu**ing up the planet so much. You can have the most diverse workforce in the world but if there’s no world to enjoy it in, then there’s not much point.

What has been your biggest success to date & What has been your biggest challenge to date?

My son.
My son.

But in all seriousness, my biggest professional achievement would be my £100k month. For sure.
My biggest challenge would have been the 14 months I spent as a stay-at-home dad looking after Cooper. It sounds crazy but that sh*! is hard! I’d take a 100 hour work week anytime.

If you were a song, what song would you be?

This has literally taken me over a week to think about.

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds

Not for any real reason other than it’s the song I used to sing to Cooper to get him to go to sleep. It’s also a kind of a family motto song “don’t worry about a thing, cuz every little thing is gonna be alreet”.

Eleanor – Consultant

What does Diversity mean to you?

Diversity to me is all people, regardless of background, race, age, gender, being allowed to thrive and be their best, true self. We are all held back by stereotypes and bias and it’s sad when you think about how much untapped potential and talent is out there because of these arbitrary and pointless structures society has in place! However, things have changed a lot and continue to shift in a positive direction so it’s good to appreciate how far things have come.

What advice would you give to companies on how to attract the best diverse talent?

My advice would be to ensure that you are offering benefits such as flexible working so that people from all walks of life can consider your company. I read something that said that the 9-5, 5 days in the office working week came about because men who did that had a wife at home running the household, who took care of all the life admin, freeing men up to work in this way. Things aren’t like that anymore, and people struggle to fit their life in around work, meaning they aren’t 100% on top form in either their personal or work lives. At SR2 we have so much flexibility, the long lunches, late starts and homeworking policy, which has been revolutionary to me and now I can’t imagine working any differently. When a company gives you flexibility and trust in this way it’s an acknowledgement that people have priorities and responsibilities, and that acknowledgement will result in a diverse workforce.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

The world that we live in is so horrendously unequal, from gender inequality to the hoarding of resources to wealth disparity. There are more than enough resources on earth for every single person to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life. I would change this inequality but also change people’s attitudes to it, because we don’t have to accept society as it is. I really love this line from a Philip Larkin poem ‘we should be careful of each other, we should be kind, while there is still time’, which sums up how I feel. It doesn’t have to be this way and another world is possible.

What has been your biggest success to date & What has been your biggest challenge to date?

My biggest challenge was working in the public sector as it stifled my activism and was making me miserable. You spend most of your time at work so when you’re unhappy in that environment it impacts every other part of your life. Now I’m out of it I can see how unsuited to it I was and how happy I am now in comparison 😊

My biggest success in life is 100% my friendships! I’ve been friends with the same people all through school and university and even though we all live different lives and are busy in our own way we are still so close. I feel most like myself when I’m in their company. They are my greatest achievement in life, and I feel very lucky 😊

If you were a song, what song would you be?

These Days by Nico, just because it’s followed me around in life and I always go back to it.

 

Ben – Senior Consultant

What does Diversity mean to you?

Having a varied team of people where it doesn’t look like you’ve pressed Ctrl-C & Ctrl-V X 100 times, and then creating an environment where people feel they can be themselves.

What advice would you give to companies on how to attract the best diverse talent?

Work out what is essential to you as a business and focus on that. I have heard a lot of companies where they have a great feeling about someone, but they don’t match every criteria on a list of 20 things. I would say it’s better to find someone who smashes your top 3 requirements than scrapes the bottom 17.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Forgoing the obvious ones, I think if more people were working for the right companies the world would be a better place. As I walk over Tower Bridge & London Bridge when I walk to / leave work I would say 90% of people are trudging. Thinking about my own journey I am the happiest I have ever been and a big part of that (there are others!) is that I love what I do, I think it’s hard to feel fully content if you hate your job.

What has been your biggest success to date & What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Looking at my great friends and family I think they are all the ‘bees’ knees’ which means I must be doing something right as they can’t all be wrong! Imposter Syndrome! Shout out to our own Sophie Eadon for helping me realise what it’s called. Particularly having been at a couple of companies where things maybe haven’t worked out, you do start to doubt yourself when things aren’t going right.

If you were a song, what song would you be?

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell – No justification just an absolute banger. Could try and spin it as being about overcoming obstacles, but I’d be lying, it’s just a tune.

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