The tech sector may be dominated by men, but the push for greater diversity is well underway.
One woman who’s championing workplace difference is Sarah Adam-Gedge, the Managing Director of business technology company Avanade Australia.
Her message is clear; a career in tech is for anyone, regardless of gender or background.
Avanade is a joint venture between tech giant Microsoft and global consulting behemoth Accenture, whose award winning diversity program proves a career technology is not bound by background or gender.
Sarah’s vision is to cultivate an environment where diversity thrives and which leads a change across the whole tech industry.
In this interview with The Constant Investor, Sarah shares why she thinks collaboration is the key for true innovation.
An effective diversity and inclusion group with an organisation can be a leading differentiator in a competitive market.
The Avanade Australia Culture Team was name named overall TechDiversity Champion in the 2016 TechDiversity awards for two projects.
“We have to be very mindful of the diverse workforce.
“People joining us don’t necessarily want a job for life, they want great skills, they highly value the social interaction but also the corporate responsibility part of what we do,” Sarah says.
With a career that’s seen her thrive in large, global organisations, Sarah knows what it takes to stand out in these environments.
She puts the opportunities that have come her way down to her consistent approach to being a good operator.
“A good operator,” Sarah says, “is someone with a good attitude, a good effort and general competency.”
It’s also important to grow your network and get comfortable with collaboration.
“A collaborative style, isn’t always easy to achieve, when you’re talking to other people at the end of a phone or a Skype call but just being able to maintain relationships in what are often very remote environments, there’s a skill there.
“I’m a big believer in collaboration, collaboration is the new black” she says.
Without a rock solid vision for an organisation, it can be a struggle for executives to empower their teams.
Sarah believes setting a strong vision and communicating a clear strategy is the key to taking the whole team on your journey.
“I think in terms of being good at my job, empowering others and bringing people with you I have always tried to make sure the path forward, whether you’re in difficult times or fair-weather, the path is known” she says
“We talk about it as a leadership team, we talk about it with the rest of the business.
“You need to bring the team back to ‘how are we going’. I’ve always been a believer in being very honest about where we are.”
As an introvert herself, Sarah is mindful of the differences between introvert and extrovert qualities of her friends, family and colleagues.
Circling back to her passion for inclusiveness, Sarah employs techniques to make sure everyone feels heard in the workplace.
One of her top tip’s here is not to brainstorm in groups.
“Brainstorming as a group is a disaster. If there are ten people in the room, three people will be very vocal, the introverted people will have great ideas but they may not have prepared well enough so you won’t get a good contribution in that forum”
“Prepare the group that there is going to be a discussion and ask people to brainstorm by themselves beforehand and bring it in an equal way to the forum.
“Bring each person into the conversation so you don’t miss out on the goodness.”