Digitally Speaking

Jen Molyneux
October 18, 2018

“The art of the possible with technology is incredible. We need to give the younger generation the opportunity to be able to envisage what is possible in the world with IT’s help.” We talked to Natasha Darbyshire, Head of IT at Logicalis UK, who has been nominated for Manager of the Year.

Starting out

Natasha’s interest in the IT industry started early on in her career. Whilst studying for her degree in marketing and advertising, she worked part-time with her father for an IT Systems Integrator. Being Managing Director of the company, Natasha’s father provided ample inspiration for her.

“It was a cool and fun environment to work in, especially at 19. I saw my father work hard, and I saw the hard work pay off when the company won big deals and they celebrated. I got the chance to see first-hand how technology was changing and improving businesses and this early exposure to the technology sector was crucial to driving my career later on.”

Falling into IT

On completing her degree, Natasha moved from New Zealand to London. She started her first full-time role as a sales rep in a company with its headquarters in New Zealand, which “felt a bit like home.”

However, four weeks into the role, Natasha was able to identify all the inefficiencies and the lack of automation within the company. Eager to stay working in the company but aware of the need for change, Natasha delivered a report on how to fix the problem and proposed implementing a new software system.

“Within a week of giving the report in, I was working on a solution that improved productivity by 75%. We then implemented the same solution in the Australian and New Zealand branches of the company. I was thrown into the deep end, but it cemented my passion to improve business through technology.”

Driving change at Logicalis

Natasha’s fellow CRN award nominee and colleague, Natalie Matthews, saw the potential in Natasha and believed she would fit the bill for the role of Head of IT.

“I never pictured myself in that role and I had to consider the offer of promotion before I accepted it. Not because I didn’t want it, but because I had never imagined myself as Head of IT. But I saw Natalie work her way up to COO and it inspired me, along with other women in Logicalis UK.”

Tech is changing

When asked what the one thing Natasha would do to encourage more women into the IT sector, she says “give it the ‘Apple’ effect. IT is becoming sexy, but old stereotypes of the IT industry are still intact.”

To encourage the younger generation to consider a career in technology, Natasha believes we have to provide them with more opportunities to see the more inspiring side of technology.

“The art of the possible with technology is unbelievable. We need to invite young people to trade days to open their eyes, so they envisage what is possible in the world with IT’s help. They need early exposure to the excitement, like I had.”

Top tips

“Be inquisitive. Ask your questions without any fear, because no question is a stupid question. I have often had to ask many very technical people to explain to me in non-technical language what they mean, and that’s not a weakness.”

The CRN Women in Channel Awards will be announced on the 18th October. Good luck to all of the nominees!

 

Category: Women in IT

Jen Molyneux
October 16, 2018

IT never seemed like a weird place for a woman to work. I saw the industry as an opportunity for myself.”  We met up with Wendy Paine, team leader for Technical Integration Services at Logicalis UK, to talk all things tech.

Wendy is one of only 14 women in EMEA and 28 worldwide to hold a double HPE Master ASE certification and has been nominated for the Technical Employee of the Year Award.

Inspiration

During the late 70s and early 80s, Wendy’s grandmother worked at GEC-Marconi in the IT department managing their backup. In those days it was regarded as fairly unusual for a woman to work in that role.

“From an early age, I often went to work with my grandmother and it sparked my passion for all things tech. Because of this, IT never seemed like a weird place for a woman to work. I saw the industry as an opportunity for myself”.

The shining moment

Wendy has worked her way up from hardware support roles, to solutions and software design, before embarking on the mission of becoming a consultant.

Throughout her long and successful career, there is one project that particularly shines. Wendy worked as part of a team on a transformation project for an oil and gas company in Kazakhstan which successfully reduced the company’s datacentres from 36 to 3 and provided many cost savings and efficiencies.

During the project Wendy realised that individual expertise is key in securing big deals, but certifications and qualifications really helped customers to trust people’s knowledge and capability. She encouraged companies to invest more in their employees to help them gain certifications and went on to win an award for her work.

“The award encouraged me to push harder in my career because I proved I was capable to succeed. As a woman working on this project in an emerging territory, I think I stood out more.”

The technical talk

In her role at Logicalis UK, Wendy leads an all-male team. When asked if she finds this challenging at times, Wendy said “I think there is a perception that women can’t do tech heavy jobs because they may not understand what’s involved. I’ve worked hard in my career to build up my knowledge and become an expert in what I do, gaining respect and trust in the process.”

Like in any career, Wendy knows you have to believe in yourself in order to succeed, perhaps even more so when you’re in the minority in your industry. “I still find it hard to believe in my ability and I’m not always confident, but I can talk tech and I’m proud of that” she said.

Leaders at Logicalis

Being one of the only females has been the norm throughout Wendy’s working life. She once attended a tech conference of 1,200 people where only 35 attendees were female, and this was not a rare occurrence.

“I think the lack of women in IT is a big is issue for businesses. Logicalis helps to combat this by actively helping women to achieve their goals. The company does not subscribe to the perception that IT is just for men and working here you feel encouraged to strive in your career.”

Top tips

“It’s so important to find a job doing something you love. If you love it then you are passionate about it, and if you are passionate about it, you believe in what you say. So take the time to explore the IT industry and figure out what suits you. There is a huge variety of jobs under the umbrella of technology to try.”

CRN’s Women in Channel Awards will be announced on the 18th October. We wish all of the nominees good luck and have our fingers crossed!

Category: Women in IT

Jen Molyneux
October 15, 2018

We are encouraged to have a voice, be innovative and not be afraid to speak up. It’s all about feeling part of the company and the team we work for.”

 

We talked to Jane Emerson, Client Director at Logicalis UK, who has been nominated for Sales Employee of the Year.

 

Starting out in tech

Jane’s career in IT started at IBM where she joined as a sponsored student through the University of Nottingham. After graduating from university, Jane started full time at IBM where she worked for 10 years, with 2 years spent in the US on secondment. Following her time at IBM, Jane worked for a further 10 years at a business partner of IBM, before joining Logicalis UK.

Talking about what inspired her to pursue a career in tech, Jane said “initially it was what IBM had to offer; education combined with a practical experience and a breadth of career choices. It seemed like an industry with opportunities for me.”

 

Learning from the big deals

Throughout Jane’s career, there have been challenges, but these have often been met with success. The most complex project she undertook was the deal between Unilever and IBM in 2015, worth £32m.

 

“The hard work from the IBM, Logicalis and Unilever team led to the ultimate success of the project. It was inspiring to have the opportunity to work on a successful deal which resulted from amazing teamwork and partnerships.”

 

“It taught me that maintaining and keeping the customer happy is key – people buy people.”

 

Changes at Logicals UK

Jane has been at Logicalis UK for just over 8 years and during this time she believes there have been too many positive changes to list. She said, “nothing is more certain than change and it’s a must in our industry if we are to keep that edge and survive.”

 

One change that Jane thinks is worth highlighting is the increased number of women in management roles at Logicalis UK.

 

“I don’t think women get treated any differently to men here and that’s the key to its female employees progressing within the company. I am often the only woman in the room and I don’t even notice. We are encouraged to have a voice, be innovative and not be afraid to speak up. It’s all about feeling part of the company and the team we work for.”

 

Despite changes at the company, there is one aspect that remains central and constant; “the people and the passion. When we pull together, there is no better team.”

 

Top tip

“Treat people as you want to be treated yourself. IT is a small industry so never forget that. If you believe in yourself and believe in others, you can be a great team player.”

 

CRN’s Women in Channel Awards will be announced on the 18th October. We wish all of the nominees good luck and have our fingers crossed!

Category: Women in IT

Jen Molyneux
October 11, 2018

“It is a wonderful moment when you realise the only thing holding you back in your career, is yourself.” Here we meet Natalie Matthews, COO of Logicalis UK, who is shortlisted for the Role Model of the Year Award.

Introducing Natalie

Natalie’s career began at IBM as a trainee Personal Assistant on their Youth Training Scheme. Following this, Natalie joined a small business and worked her way up to become part of their Senior Management Team, which was later acquired by Logicalis. During the acquisition, she was offered the role of VP of Operations at Logicalis UK, a proposal she was surprised by. “When I think back to my first day with IBM, with little education and no experience in tech, it would have seemed like a near impossibility that I would hold such a position in a well-known IT company” she said.

As VP of Operations, Natalie consistently demonstrated her ability as a leader. Two and a half years ago, her hard work paid off and she was appointed as Chief Operating Officer. Today she is responsible for over 80 employees in Operations, HR, IT, Marketing, Operational Development, Vendor Management and Marketing, and has recently taken over responsibility for Maintenance Sales.

Turning negatives into positives

During her career, Natalie has always had a fear of public speaking, a skill that is required in her job. However, she learnt to overcome this by being honest about her struggle and through this approach, Natalie has helped others who shared her fear.

“It has been overwhelming to see how many people also find public speaking a daunting task. But by sharing my experience, I encouraged others to be open about their struggle.”

To offer further help, Natalie launched an intensive two-day public speaking training course at Logicalis, which was available to anyone who wanted to improve their skills and confidence.

With success comes challenges

Like any successful career, there have been challenges. “Initially, being the sole woman on IT company boards was intimidating and I often felt inferior. I was in awe of strategic thinkers who could imagine great company visions and I wished I could be more like them” she said.

However, feeling inferior is now a thing of the past. Nowadays, Natalie views being a woman as a benefit.

“I realised that I bring something different to the group and started noticing my own strengths; my ability to implement change, develop people and bringing a simplistic approach to strategies. It is a wonderful moment when you realise the only thing holding you back, is yourself.”

Changing Logicalis UK

When Natalie started at Logicalis UK thirteen years ago, there was only a small percentage of female employees. She has made it her ongoing mission to change this and uses her position to identify and mentor those with potential to develop their careers.

“The number of female employees, especially managers, has increased dramatically during my time, which makes me very proud. To see my fellow colleagues flourish is extremely rewarding. IT can often feel like a man’s world, but it needs diverse skills and fresh ideas, which women can bring.”

Talking about the importance of being a mentor she said “if every woman in IT mentored a handful of female colleagues and encouraged them to rise up the ranks, we would see a revolution in the tech sector.”

Top tips for women in IT

“Don’t hold back. The strategy that I have applied throughout my career has been to say yes to every opportunity and challenge to push myself. You need to be yourself, not someone that you think people want you to be. Just have confidence in your ability.”

CRN’s Women in Channel Awards will be announced on the 18th October. We wish all of the nominees good luck and have our fingers crossed!

Category: Women in IT

Jen Molyneux
October 4, 2018

The current statistics of women who work in IT aren’t wholly optimistic. According to Women in Tech, only one-in-six tech specialists and only one-in-ten IT leaders are women.

In the coming months, leading IT channel publication CRN is aiming to understand this problem of gender diversity in their Women in Channel debate. They are asking the big questions; is our education system failing to encourage women to study tech subjects? Is there a work culture that discourages women from joining or progressing in IT businesses?

Yet, whilst the figures of women currently employed in IT are not excellent, there is certainly no shortage of talented females in tech. Alongside their debate, CRN are also hosting the Women in Channel Awards which will recognise the individuals who are influencing, challenging and reshaping the tech industry.

At Logicalis UK, we are not in short supply of female employees who are reworking and challenging the male-dominated tech industry. We are extremely proud to announce that five of our employees have been shortlisted for the awards.

Meet our nominees

First up is Natasha Darbyshire, Head of IT, shortlisted for Manager of the Year. Natasha is currently leading a digital transformation programme of works covering everything from Logicalis UK’s core infrastructure and networking, through to collaboration technologies, back-office systems, data analytics, AI and IoT.

Second up is Logicalis UK’s Chief Operating Officer, Natalie Matthews, who has been shortlisted for Role Model of the Year. With over 25 years of experience in IT which began with IBM’s Youth Train-ing Scheme, Natalie has developed from a PA to a Senior Leadership position, often finding herself as the only woman on the board of various companies.
Our third nominee is Wendy Paine, TIS Team Leader shortlisted for Technical Employee of the Year. Wendy is one of 14 women in EMEA and 28 worldwide who hold a double HPE-MASE certification and currently manages an all male team of 23 at Logicalis UK.

Nominated for Sales Employee of the Year, our fourth nominee is Jane Emerson, Client Director, who has been at the company for eight years. In this time, Jane has facilitated vital collaboration between teams and customers, resulting in winning new clients and expanding Logicalis UK’s engagement with their client portfolio.

Last but certainly not least, our fifth nominee, Fanni Vig has been nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year. Fanni has been leading the Data and IoT Business Unit within Logicalis since its creation three years ago. Within this time, Fanni’s team has delivered a 150% top-line and a 300% bottomline growth, resulting in it becoming one of the most profitable areas within the wider group.

The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 18 October 2018 at the Hilton London Bankside Hotel. Congratulations and good luck to all of those who are shortlisted and we look forward to an evening of celebrating – we’re keeping our fingers crossed!

Category: Women in IT

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