Just how did I get here? That was my reaction when others asked me how I became one of 50 most influential women in the technology sector in the United Kingdom, according to Computer Weekly, the leading industry publication. I had to think back and reflect on my career before I could answer this question.
While I had a very successful career in terms of personal fulfilment and advancement, for many years, not many people knew me in the industry. I had what I today refer to as a “binary reputation”: In the office everyone knew me but outside no one did, except a handful of corporate partners and suppliers. I had influence in the office but wasn’t ranking as an influential woman in the industry as a whole.
The picture is completely different today. As a technology industry analyst for Everest Group, I influence IT buying decisions, service offerings and even software product features. This is partly because it is my job to assess technology products and services, compare providers side by side and write reports about them for buyers. It is also partly, and in a much bigger way, due to me building a personal brand, as any woman should do if she wants to become one of the influential women in her field. I did not plan any of this but did what made sense to me at the time.
It all started by me blogging about technology topics outside of my work. This led to me getting shortlisted for blog awards and noticed by the IT industry media more than I did as an analyst. Following other influential women, I then joined Twitter and used it to promote my blogs, thoughts and ideas on technology and the market. A year or so into tweeting, I was named by Information Management magazine as one of 17 technology women to follow on Twitter. This boosted the number of my followers, further increasing my influence.
I had also always wanted to give something back to society and so a few years ago I joined BCSwomen, the women specialist group at BCS, the British Institute for IT. Ever since, I have helped run campaigns to increase the number of women in IT. We run networking and training events as well as mentoring and inspirational talks by successful women. We also help companies build more female friendly recruitment campaigns. Working with BCSWomen has been a hugely rewarding experience. I was able to build a large network of contacts, raising my profile and boosting my influence.
My advice to others: