“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.
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.”
“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!