GILLIAN BERGIN discusses FEMALE ROLE MODELS, the lack of women in CORE TECH JOBS and the upcoming TECH SUMMIT in Cork …
Gillian Bergin Co-chair of it@Cork’s Tech Summit 2018 to be held on May 3 at the City Hall in Cork. Gillian is also Director of Centre of Excellence Operations and Strategic Projects for Dell EMC.
Who or what has had a formative influence on your career?
Inspiring managers and female role models – I have been very fortunate in my career to have worked with both. These people encouraged me to think bigger and aspire to more than just the day job.
I’ve also been privileged to meet female role models in the industry who have taught me to have confidence in my abilities and to step outside my comfort zone.
What are some of the achievements of which you are most proud?
Without doubt my two biggest achievements are our two sons. They keep me grounded and laughing on a daily basis!
From a work perspective, it would be the completion of a hard-earned two-year Masters in Data Business. I did this while working full-time – it was a busy couple of years but I received great support both at home and at work which was crucial.
What do you most enjoy about your current role?
The people I work with and the diversity of the job. Every hour of every day presents new challenges and new opportunities – not everyone is fortunate enough to work in a role like that. I love fast-paced challenging dynamic environments.
What have you learned about the (changing) rules of business over the last few decades?
The pace of change has increased significantly in the last few decades and continues to accelerate. From a skills perspective, it’s all about staying relevant and upskilling as business strategies change and we very much live in a society where lifelong learning is the key to this.
From a business strategy perspective, businesses need to be agile and to be able to react quickly to external economic stimulants or technology disruptors.
Describe a typical working day.
I get to the office at 7:45am and the first meetings of the day begin at 8:30am. The morning is typically spent on local and EMEA projects and the afternoon on US and global initiatives. I usually leave work at around 6pm.
What are the key staples of your working wardrobe?
In my role, I have to always be ready to meet customers and senior business leaders, so you can’t go wrong with a few pairs of black trousers and a good quality navy blazer. The rest just falls into place after that. A splash of colour is always a good thing too – particularly if you’re trying to have presence – or simply if it’s just a rainy Monday that needs livening up!
What would your advice be to others hoping to have a career in tech?
My advice would be “What are you waiting for?!”
Tech careers today are so creative, social, inspiring and challenging. There are also great opportunities for travel and being part of large cross-functional teams that can have global impact. The range of careers within large tech companies is huge so there is plenty of choice and opportunity.
The industry traditionally has been dominated by men but this is definitely changing. Women have just as much to offer the tech industry and I think as a woman in the sector I have a responsibility to try, where possible, to encourage more young women into careers in STEM.
Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
I must admit, I don’t actively notice it because I work with male and female colleagues every hour of every day. When we talk about technology jobs, we tend to concentrate on IT and Software Development jobs, but there are thousands of people working in the Customer Service, HR, Legal, Finance etc. departments in large technology companies, who are technology-enabling and I consider these tech jobs too. They are pivotal to the industry.
Of course, we have work to do to get a more diverse split into the core Tech jobs. I think we need to invest more in exposing parents, teachers and peers to the broad range of Tech jobs available today and their many attributes.
We also need to give more profile to real female role models in business as a whole, so we can break down the age-old barriers and myths.
What do you perceive as being the biggest barrier (if any) for women entering the tech industry and how do you think these barriers can be overcome?
There are two primary barriers that I would like to see tackled – namely a lack of awareness of the huge suite of tech jobs available today and a lack of confidence amongst many girls and women in themselves and their abilities. We can address these through national initiatives like IWish and greater academic-industry collaboration to enable school visits, student mentoring and STEM or return-to-work programs.
I also feel that recruitment agencies can play a greater role in developing this future talent pipeline. I encourage any female thinking of pursuing a career in tech, to come along to Tech Summit in Cork City Hall on May 3 to be inspired by both female and male tech leaders discussing developments in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Emerging Technologies, Digital Health and the Psychology of Technology.
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