Tag Archives: Adriana Gascoigne

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16 Traits of a Great IT Leader

Did you know, according to a recent article featured on CIO.com, while many great leaders share similar characteristics, it may take a more specific set of skills to succeed as a tech leader? Today’s IT leaders face a unique set of challenges in comparison to other corporate leaders, including the rate and pace of change, the massive integration of systems and processes, cybersecurity and privacy threats, and many others. Personal and professional development is therefore critical in the demanding IT field.

“While there are some things one cannot change about individuals, some leadership traits can be learned. There are very few people who are natural leaders – leadership is something people have to work at. Knowing what your shortcomings are, and recognizing them as such, is half the battle,” says Allan Boardman, International Vice President at ISACA.

The 16 traits in this article can help you become more successful in a technology career.

Source: NCWIT

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The Value of Gender and Racial Diversity in Tech

Diversity Expands The Qualified Employee Pool

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2018, there will be a total of nearly 1.4 million computing-related jobs added in the U.S., an increase of 22% from 2008. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the number of people graduating from college with computer or information sciences degrees has been decreasing steadily since 2004. At this rate, fewer than one-third of the vacant computing jobs expected by 2018 could be filled by U.S. graduates with computing degrees. Increasingly, non-IT jobs require deep knowledge of computing as well. A computing major or minor provides a versatile skill set that crosses disciplines and is essential in today’s information economy.

Diversity Improves the Bottom Line

Technology companies with the highest representation of women in their senior management teams showed a higher return on equity than did those with fewer or no women in senior management. A recent study determined that racial and gender diversity were associated with increased sales revenue, more customers, and greater profits.

Diversity Enhances Innovation

Information technology informs all aspects of modern society. Incorporating women and people of color is vital to the future of technological innovation. When we bring a wider variety of people into IT, our innovation will be enhanced through the valuable contributions that diverse perspectives bring.

Diversity Promotes Equality

With technology playing an increasingly crucial role in all of our lives, having more people from different backgrounds participate in its creation break down gender and racial economic inequalities.

Source: NCWIT

Top 10 Ways Managers Can Retain Technical Women

Below are ten important recommendations supervisors can readily adopt to improve retention for all employees. They are particularly useful for retaining women and employees from underrepresented groups.

  1. Sponsor female employees and make their accomplishments visible

Sponsorship means advocating for employees and showcasing their work in the right places and with the right people. Research shows that women with sponsors are four times more likely to remain with a company than those without a sponsor.

  1. Encourage female employees to take on specific roles and challenges

More than 350 studies show that being a minority in a particular environment can significantly reduce confidence and risk-taking but that simple encouragement can be a big help. Never underestimate the power of simply saying, “You should take on this role or apply for this position” or “You did well on this project.”

  1. Ensure that your team recognizes a diversity of communication styles


Some employees have been raised to believe that it is immodest to “sing their own praises.” Talk with your team about the importance of listening to a range of communication styles — not just to team members who speak loudly or most often or who feel comfortable talking about their own accomplishments. Actively seek out the perspectives of quieter team members.

  1. Provide female employees with clear opportunities to demonstrate their technical abilities

Give female employees explicit responsibility for technical assignments with defined deliverables and expectations. This enables women to demonstrate clearly their technical abilities — something that research shows can be more difficult to do when one is a minority on a team.

  1. Ensure that female employees know “it’s not just about technical ability”

Sometimes employees believe that doing a great job is all that is needed to get ahead; however, employees also must be well-rounded in business acumen, company politics, and knowledge of the industry landscape. Communicate this early on and help female employees develop a plan that will enable them to do this.

  1. Provide early, ongoing, and specific feedback

Do not rely on vague assessments such as “you need to be more of a team player.” Make sure all feedback is specific, compares actual performance to expectations, and includes concrete examples of things that have been done well or need to be improved.

  1. Treat employees as individuals, not as representatives of a group


Avoid calling attention to employees on the basis of their gender, race/ethnicity, or disabilities. While it is important to remember that members of underrepresented groups can share some similar experiences, do not treat employees as “token representatives” who can speak for an entire identity group.

  1. Examine task assignments for patterns that subtly disadvantage female employees

Women are often assigned or feel compelled to take less visible assignments or execution rather than creative roles. Keep track of which employees get which roles. If patterns emerge, ask whether these patterns are based on actual ability or if they might be based on unconscious assumptions.1

  1. Ensure that performance evaluation instruments or processes are results-based and avoid unconscious biases

Use concrete examples to support all evaluative statements. Make sure that promotion and resource allocation policies do not unfairly penalize employees (e.g., for utilizing flextime, working from home).

  1. Track recruitment, retention, and advancement

Keep tabs on the demographics of candidates who are interviewed and who accept positions, as well as employees who stay, leave, are promoted, and receive pay raises. This information will help you identify how well you are meeting your goals and where improvement is needed.

6 Easy Ways To Drive Traffic to Your Website

Drive traffic to your website - It is vital to increasing your leads, filling your sales pipeline, and eventually converting leads into sales. But before you can begin the sales process, you need to get prospects to your website. Here are a few tried and true ways to drive more traffic to your website and realize those higher lead and sales goals.

1. Blog

We usually take to the internet when we’re looking for information, so having a blog does wonders for your website’s traffic. Focus on posting relevant, timely content that your audience will find informative and useful. To streamline the process, use a blog management platform that has things like blog subscription, article scheduling, and blog analytics configured for you.

Still not convinced? Companies with active blogs secure 67% more leads than their counterparts who lack blogs (Source: Social Media B2B). Jump on that bandwagon!

2. Use Video

Video engages people in a way that written and static visual content cannot. They get to engage with your brand in multiple ways – seeing, hearing, and even “feeling” your message through the emotions and thoughts provoked by your video. How does this translate into increased website traffic? Posts accompanied by video pull in 3 times the number of inbound links than text-only posts (Source: SEOmoz). Not to mention, 85% of U.S. Internet users watch video online (Source: comScore).

3. Create Something Worth Sharing

The best way to get people to take notice is to craft something worth sharing. This means visually attractive, informative, and, if possible, humorous content that people find useful. When your content is worth sharing, your audience does half the work for you, spreading it all over the web and grabbing new eyes to come check out what you have to offer. Attract more website traffic by creating solid content.

4. Utilize Social Sharing and Social Media

Social media is invaluable for connecting with your audience. It allows you to talk to your customers, but more importantly it allows them to talk back. Foster dialogue through social sharing and social media. Your audience is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – so shouldn’t you be? Plus, people love sharing. This sharing signals a stamp of approval and lets us know that ‘this is worth our time.’ Take advantage of your audience’s increased propensity to share information by being active on social media sites and enabling social sharing for all of your content, and by tacking on a link to your website. This will not only increase traffic to your website, but will also give your SEO a boost.

5. Utilize Calls to Action in PPC Ads and Landing Pages

The biggest mistake in sales: not asking for the sale. Similarly, you need to ask your prospects for something more. They can’t engage with you further if you don’t provide a next step. Utilize calls to action in your PPC ads and landing pages so that prospects have something to do: check out a free ebook (by providing your email), look at related content, etc.

6. Create Shareworthy Slideshare Presentations

Create slideshare presentations so good that others want to share. When you create rich, quality content that people share, it extends your reach online and drives prospects back to your website. It’s like casting a wider net to bring in a bigger catch. It also positions you as an expert in your field and gives SEO a leg up.

Harness the power of shareworthy content and timely information and watch your website traffic soar.

Article from ProjectEve

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Women Money and Power: Sexy Ensemble or Strange Bedfellows?

Women Money and Power. What comes to mind?

Did you note: Strange bedfellows? Complex intersection? Uncharted territory? Estranged relationships? Alpha females? Savvy Ladies? Old crones? Sexy? Unfeminine?

Can a woman earn, invest, grow, and use both money and power as means to an end, and still be seen as womanly? feminine? even sexy?

Let’s explore this territory together.

According to Allianz women money and power research, women made up half of all stock-market investors and controlled 48% of estates worth more than $5 million in 2006-2007. By 2011 women controlled over 50% of the United States’ wealth. No longer playing the role of secondary earner, 60% of women with business degrees out-earn their husbands, and according to the latest U.S. Census, regardless of educational attainments, women out-earn their male partners in 22% of households. The Allianz study, which included a survey of over 3,000 women and men also found:

    • For women, the security and freedom money brings is 15-20 times more important than the status and respect it affords
    • Money is almost 20 times more likely than sex to be the biggest source of marriage conflict
    • One in five women report having a “secret stash” of savings their husbands don’t know about

The study found that women power and money relationships can be classified in 5 distinct categories: Alpha Female (18%) Confident, optimistic and pro-active, she feels like she must take care of herself and those she cares about financially – in part because it’s something she’s often had to do. Perceptive Planner (35%) She does thorough research and weighs all options before making financial decisions. Power Partner (24%) She is all about sharing financial power on an equal basis with her life partner. Uncertain Searcher (11%) She’s worried about money and confused by the complex financial choices she’s facing. As a result, she avoids making financial decisions. Supportive Traditionalist (8%) Here we find Cinderella who is comfortable relying on someone else to make the major financial decisions in her life.

Women Money and Power: Why Does it Matter?

Power makes things happen. Powered by gasoline, a car moves from point A to point B. Powered by money and the resources money can buy, Bill and Melinda Gates are improving health in developing countries and stopping the spread of diseases such as malaria. Money and power, despite their bad reputations, are neutral. What we do with money and power causes either good (valued) or bad (not valued) results. Women, according to the research behind Women and the Paradox of Power, seek power roles in corporations to bring about positive change in the company and the communities in which the business operates. So, if you want to make something happen, in your company, in your community or the world at large, get in charge of money and your power. Be deliberate about your goals, as well as the money and power required to achieve them.

If you aren’t concerned with healing some aspect of the world, you still have solid reasons to get in charge, or at least be knowledgeable, about your finances. Divorce and longevity statistics indicate that every woman stands an 80 – 90% chance of being solely responsible for her own or her family’s finances, at some point in her life.

Now, to the question of women money and power as being sexy or feminine. Unless it’s sexy to be poverty-stricken, worried, and focused on where you next dollar will come from, I vote that women who are powerful and financially in charge are both sexy and feminine.

Women Money and Power: Here’s the Rub

In her recent Harvard Business Review article about women and finances, Whitney Johnson references the sentiments of a friend who is among Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women. Said friend chose to, “designate her business a non-profit because women were willing to make donations hand-over-fist, but they wouldn’t invest.” ZAP! How will we ever bring to bear our much-needed influence in a world that revolves around economics, if we aren’t willing to become knowledgeable about, invest in, and gain power in our own economies?

A penny (little value) for your thoughts (more value).

Care or dare to test your knowledge of simple finances?

Author – Anne Perschel: Co-Founder of 3Plus International www.3plusinternational.com

http://www.projecteve.com/add-a-blog/

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Your Daughter Isn’t Bossy and Other Real Female Leadeship Lessons

I recently came across an article at the Women’s Agenda website titled Your daughter isn’t bossy, she has ‘executive leadership skills’: Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg. The article summed up one of the many crucial messages advocated in Sheryl’s book Lean In. 

There is absolutely no doubt Sheryl has epitomized the movement toward the redefinition of female leadership and gender diversity. Somewhat of a (simple) masterpiece, the book has favoured the female revolution in business today.

“We want to provide women with the encouragement and support to lead. We want women and men to believe we can get to real equality … We want to close the pay gap,” Sandberg said.

The “your daughter isn’t bossy” message is such a strong one, and has helped pave the way in which women idealise and translate real female leadership values. The message also re-iterates the importance of how female leaders must teach young girls to look through the lens of real women. Here is another fantastic article and video clip in the Huffington Post based on a campaign to get more girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). The video clearly shows how our girls are becoming warriors and trailblazers in the playground, and are no longer tolerating the out-dated label of being a “bossy boots”.

With more and more women taking senior positions, and the changing shape of the female perception, female leadership theory is in it’s pioneering phase, and it asks women to evoke more of how women actually see themselves as leaders? It also asks who are women at a leadership values level? The answers to these questions will ultimately help to enhance female success in life and in business.

Another great article found at the Ogunte website Navigating Complexity by Jennifer Sertl goes into how we can re-calibrate ourselves in what is an ever-changing corporate consciousness. Jennifer believes “You must, by design, get to know yourself under the shell of saving face” Sertl uses delta by design to help us get to the ‘core’ of who we truly are, and methods by which to recognise our driving principles.

Halfway through Sheryl’s book, and taking on some of Jennifer’s thought theory, I’ve already begun to develop and share my own leadership lessons, and understand what makes me a truly effective leader?

My story is shaped like this… Working in the male-dominated construction industry, I often laugh at the many nick -names given to me by my male counterparts. The Princess of Power and Princess Warrior are two of my favourite. These nicknames are indicative of how my male peers uniquely (and somewhat strangely) express their admiration and recognition toward me as a female leader.

The Princess Warrior is my name of choice. Call it a sexist label from a man, I choose to call it my leadership nick name because it’s fun, and it’s The Princess Warrior who leads and conquers forth in the male dominated workforce! Herein lies a calibrated list of Princess Warrior Leadership Values, all of which are respected and valued by my male counterparts

  • Personal Strength – As a leader we must always work on our emotional and intellectual stability and stamina.   Aim for strong and sensitive but never overly aggressive.
  • Openness – Always be truthful and avoid playing the ‘female card’. You are one of the team, and have free leeway to be direct, open and honest in your interactions.
  • Collaboration – Continually form workplace unity and encourage communicative exchanges between people and teams.
  • Ability to Listen – Do 20% of the talking, actively listen, paraphrase and highlight people’s strengths as much as possible.
  • Be Different – The only way to make a difference is to be different. Harness your individuality and speak from the place inside which gratifies your right to be self -expressed. Always speak words that resonate as true to You!
  • Empathy – Show gratitude and acknowledge people when credit is due. Don’t confuse empathy with being nice. Be direct and honest with your kindness. Smile and show compassion.
  • Enthusiasm - Show your ambition, talents and passions. Don’t hold back in fear of being labelled. Self promote where appropriate and celebrate your achievements.

The underlying messages here are clear. Define yourself as a leader and teach and share your values with the world of female leaders around you. Sheryl has helped ‘take the lead’ in changing the shape of female leadership, as well as so many others out there doing amazing things. But you don’t have to be in business to be a leader. As a mother, a wife or a gorgeous female, we’re all women at the end of the day, and our leadership is genetic in form. Take some time to reflect on what makes you a unique leader, so you too can rule your warrior kingdom, and teach our young girls how to be super-heros!

Ana is a Senior Manager in Projects & Construction working for Fortune 500 companies.  Also an athlete, she has worked and played sport across most continents.  She runs her own coaching business and is an advocate for young women and children aspiring to dream.

https://twitter.com/MizAnnieM

Original article from Project Eve

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Top 10 Ways to Thrive in Your Technical Career

Below are tips mid-career technical women can use to advance their careers. Increasing retention and advancement also requires that managers and leaders simultaneously work to make the company environment  more inclusive. See the resources below for tools managers and leaders can use.

#1: Work on projects with direct business impact

Choose roles that are strategically important to the business and be clear about how your work fits in with company goals. Ask trusted advisors, mentors, and colleagues to help you understand how your work fits into the big picture.

#2: Seek out challenging opportunities — stretch yourself. Research shows women often are raised to be harsher critics of their work than men; this can discourage women from taking on stretch assignments even when highly qualified. Be on the lookout for these opportunities as they often arise unexpectedly. Remember you are expected to grow into a new role; you needn’t have all of the answers before beginning.

#3: Be realistic AND strategic about your time — be willing to say “no” and offer alternative solutions that work for you. Consult with mentors about the best way to say “no” to roles that do not further your career goals or that are not central to the business. It usually helps to explain your rationale or, if possible, offer a creative alternative that meets your needs.

 

#4: Develop a strong network and continually look for ways to diversify it. Ask yourself what kinds of skills, knowledge, or opportunities are missing from your existing networks. Participate in cross-functional, cross-organizational projects to diversify these networks in ways that close these gaps and accelerate your future opportunities.

#5: Seek out mentors and sponsors who have organizational clout. Mentors help advise you on your career and on company culture. Sponsors advocate for you, making sure that your work is visible to influential people in the company. Technical capabilities can only take you so far; you also need these key relationships to help your career continue moving forward.

#6: Know what you are good at and promote that about yourself. Research shows that often women are raised to think that it is immodest to “sing their own praises.” Consult with mentors, your manager, and other colleagues about different ways to “pitch” your talents. Develop a succinct way to describe your strengths in a variety of situations.

#7: Seek out feedback to continue your professional growth. Discuss your career goals with your manager, mentors, sponsors, and other advisors and ask for specific feedback on how to obtain these goals. Also ask for specific feedback in performance reviews; when given constructive criticism, ask for specific examples of how you might improve.

#8: Remember that you are not alone in your challenges. Use your network to find out how others have handled challenges you face. Be willing to talk with your manager or mentor about these challenges and different solutions that will advance your career goals.

#9: Ask for flexible work arrangements as necessary. Talk with your manager, HR personnel, and other colleagues to find out what options are available, how others have used them, and how these arrangements are viewed in the company. With your manager, devise a flexible plan and make sure your performance evaluation criteria are written in ways that will reflect your accomplishments.

#10: Serve as an internal advocate and mentor for others — both women and men. Junior women and men benefit from having male and female mentors. Mentoring also can be a rewarding way to grow professionally and to expand your leadership skills. Make mentoring a part of your performance goals so that you are recognized in evaluations for this contribution.