On March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day. While I believe that women’s achievements should be celebrated and recognized every day, I would nevertheless like to take this opportunity to celebrate the women that I personally get to work with every day - the women who inspire us, who challenge us, who push boundaries and who work relentlessly to build a better, more inclusive work environment for all.
I could talk at length about the gender diversity or lack thereof in the technology field in general and the data center one in particular, about how we need to encourage more young women to pursue studies in STEM, about the acute need to challenge stereotypes and remove gender bias and about following through on the commitment to close the gender gap every single day, at every level. I’ve talked about all this many times in the past and I will continue to do so for as long as it’s necessary because I have a deep-seated commitment to use my position to facilitate gender diversity within our company, and hopefully the industry as a whole.
However, today I would like to share with you the honest and unfiltered messages of some of our eStruxture women. Listening to their positive messages, it’s easy to see how giving everyone an equal voice makes the workplace better and more meaningful for everyone, at all levels.
This year’s theme is #EachForEqual and it’s a theme that resonates with Mary Oyefuega, our Project Analyst, “because it emphasizes the importance of collective action in pushing for a gender-equal world. A gender-equal world is a world where people's lives are free from stifling, constricting, harmful gender stereotypes; it's a world in which everyone has the freedom to thrive”. For Jaime Leverton, our CCO “it means that everyone needs to be part of the solution, not just women fighting for a voice, but men fighting equally for all voices.”
As well, Annie Corbeil, our CFO, says the theme is much like the three musketeers’ motto “All for one and one for all.” “We all have a responsibility to work towards gender equality today, every effort counts, so that tomorrow, there will be just as many women working in tech than there are men. We have to first understand our biases and then fight for them every day when we hire people, train people and promote people. The energy drive in an organization with a gender equality and diversity goal is indescribable. You have to live it to believe it! It is so worth it!”
For Tanya Naami, our Operations Analyst “The theme Each for Equal means that in today’s economic climate, my abilities and skills are the focus within the business setting. I feel that I have more opportunities today to succeed and move forward in the corporate world because the comparison is no longer man or woman based; rather it comes down to your capabilities, talent and drive.”
I was then interested in knowing what led them to choose a career in technology.
On one hand, Jaime’s interest in technology was piqued at avery young age as her father was an engineer who made sure that both her and her brother always had technology in the house to play with. “I think this level of comfort and interaction with it all of my life made it an inevitable choice for me.” On the other hand, Mary Tse, Sales Manager, says candidly: “I picked a career in technology because it is dominated by men and I am determined to show them that women can do the job as well or better.” – I could not agree more.
For Angela Adam, our Marketing Manager it was “the immense potential to learn and grow. With so much innovation in technology, I knew that working in this field will challenge and motivate me every day. There’s always a new skill to learn or a new road to take.”
I also wanted to learn what the best part of working for eStruxture was so that we can do more of that. I was happy to hear that our Marketing Intern, Diana Kazaryan thinks “eStruxture is an amazing place to grow as an intern! In every project you partake, project leads take the time to make sure you are well equipped to dive into the project and succeed. As a young woman in an industry that is starting to diversify, I feel privileged to work in a place where I am able to grow and learn!”
Natasha Neishaboory, our Sr. Manager, Customer Provisioning, likes that “everyone has a voice. At eStruxture, I can say with confidence that everyone is given equal opportunities to develop their skills and grow into their role.”
Mary Tse enjoys our dynamic team and the fact that “things get implemented quickly compared to other organizations.”
Finally, I wanted to know how we can effectively encourage young women to consider careers in technology and perhaps in the data center industry. Having a daughter myself, I’d like to believe that when she enters the workforce, the tech world will look a lot more diverse than it does today, and that she will have every chance to learn and grow in an environment where there is no shortage of guidance and opportunity, where people look a whole lot less like me and a whole lot more like her and the sisterhood that surrounds her.
Ornella Gankpa, our Network Architect, is a firm believer in exposing girls to science and technology as early on as possible. Moreover, she says that “having more female role models/mentors helps tremendously. The industry is largely male-dominated and it could be less intimidating for aspiring young girls to see women thriving in the industry.” And although she admits that a career in tech can be very demanding (environments are often very fast-paced), she thinks that “having an open and collaborative work environment and better work-life balance would not only encourage young women to consider such demanding careers but also keep them in it.” Similarly, Mary Tse believes that it all starts with educating young women on the different positions available and what it takes to qualify for those positions. The lack of knowledge is often the reason why people don’t apply for those positions.”
Simply put, girls “need to know this career path exists, how incredible it is and have role models that they can look up to, and be mentored by.” – Jaime
Tanya would wholeheartedly encourage young women to pursue a career in the data center industry as “it’s such a diverse working environment within the IT industry. Both technical and non-technical candidates are not only encouraged to apply, they are truly needed. Diverse working environments only thrive with people from diverse backgrounds and a wide range of talents, skills and education. There is a belief that if you work in IT, especially data centers, that you must be fully technical, but this is not the case at all. There are so many varying roles that help to keep the data center functioning, and whatever your background, so long has you have drive and passion, you will succeed.”
In closing, I’d like to invite my industry peers to become advocates for gender balance not just on March 8th, but every day. Start the conversation with your female coworkers today and keep it open. Ask what is working, what’s not, what can be improved. It’s not about the grand gestures and the theoretical plans, it’s about all the small, day to day things that make a difference in the lives of women.
Happy International Women’s Day!
#EachForEqual #daretobedifferent #leadfromthefront
Todd Coleman, President and CEO