“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.
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!