In a recent article from Intercity Tech magazine, we interviewed four women in powerful positions across the industry to get their take on the dwindling statistics when it comes to diversity in the tech sector. In a series of four interviews, we learn about the individual journeys they have taken in their careers, who their role models are, and what they feel the business benefits are of having a diverse workforce in general. The first interview in the series features our very own Georgina Lord…
Georgina Lord – Inside Sales & Marketing Director for Intercity Technology
“I started my career in the technology industry in 2007 as a fresh faced graduate doing the hard yards of cold calling SMEs for NTL: Telewest Business; subsequently Virgin Media Business. Like any hungry Graduate, I became addicted to the highs and lows of the role and every month felt like I could own the next big opportunity that came my way.
I was quick to recognise my skillset of people management, coaching and mentoring so 12 months into the role, whilst my boss sought pastures new, I applied for the Team Leader position and was; to my surprise successful. Management came extremely naturally for me and for the next five years I spent my time moving between teams, and even residing in a hotel in Sheffield for a year whilst I turned a team around.
It was in 2012 I had my big break and was awarded the position of Head of SME, which allowed me to run an ever growing and strategically important department within Virgin Media, this subsequently led me into becoming the youngest and only female Sales Director Virgin has ever had – an accolade I am still extremely proud of today.
I made the painful decision to leave Virgin Media in April 2016 to experience the big wide world I had become quite separated from and to ensure my career remained on track. It was in the August I found Intercity Technology, or rather Intercity Technology found me and I am proud to now be part of a very different but incredibly exciting organisation.”
How significant an issue do you see the lack of women in technology?
“Albeit I think there is a lack of women in the technology world, I think the prominent issue is the lack of senior women. Although I think it is a considered agenda item for many Boards, the challenge is around women feeling they haven’t deserved that level of seniority and therefore not putting themselves at the forefront for those positions.
There are great forums now e.g. “Women in Business” which allow women to come together to discuss the challenges they face. The more an organisation empowers its colleagues to attend those forums and really backs them; the greater representation our females will have in the future.”
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What is one piece of advice that you would give to women considering a career in the technology industry?
“I would offer the same advice I do to anyone considering a move to the technology industry; the hard work and passion you put into planning your career will enable you to make the right decisions as you move along. This dynamic industry is constantly changing, which can be challenging to keep up with, if you have a plan with realistic timescales – you can always ensure to stay one step ahead of the game.
For women though, this is more of a battle and the only reason is because of the male: female ratio that the industry has a stigma for; there are probably five men to one women for every role you apply for. My advice is don’t get bogged down by these statistics – if you are brilliant, you will be recognised for being brilliant and your passion will shine through.”
“My advice is don’t get bogged down by these statistics – if you are brilliant, you will be recognised for being brilliant and your passion will shine through.”
Who is your role model / career mentor and why?
“I have been lucky enough to have many supportive influencers in my career so far, of which some are still very present in the decisions I make now but if I had to choose a role model that has had an impact on me personally it would be Elisa Nardi (Chief People Officer at Virgin Media). Elisa is an incredibly driven female with an outstanding brain, a true head for business, a tough negotiator and someone I was lucky enough to be inspired by in my early stages of management.
She gave some brilliant advice for women in business that I will cherish forever:
Never let your career take over your personal life but allow your personal life to help shape your career – you shouldn’t have to choose one or the other but that can become incredibly tough the more senior you become as a female; once you start to have confidence in yourself and your ability, these decisions become much easier.”
What’s been your career highlight so far?
“It has to be reaching Director level after seven years within Virgin Media having started my journey as a graduate – the opportunity I was awarded at such a young age in such an amazing brand gave me huge ambition to show that anything is possible.
I love to prove people wrong and starting out in cold calling gave many people the opportunity to criticise my future; I’m not sure anyone sets out post-university with the goal to make 100 calls per day however, looking back on the last 10 years, I hope can be an inspiration to those starting out today…”