With two young daughters, Dee Carvill, Innovation, Research and Human Practice Manager at WiseTech Global is passionate about encouraging and supporting the next generation of women in technology.
We caught up with Dee to find out about her experiences working in tech, her advice to young women and girls considering a career in tech, and what International Women’s Day means to her.
What has your experience as a woman working in the tech industry been like?
As a mother to two daughters (aged 9 and 11) and as a woman, I’m very mindful of supporting females in this space. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with some really strong, passionate, inspiring women and some great men in progressive companies. It’s really important to me to be able to pay it forward through mentorship and coaching with younger females coming through the workforce.
As a woman in tech often you’re the minority, so I think women supporting women is so important as well as speaking out when you come across bias or discrimination. It’s exciting to see more women in tech leadership roles breaking down those barriers, challenging biases and influencing perceptions.
What does International Women’s Day (IWD) mean to you?
It's really important, and for me personally, it's a celebration of who I am and the inspiring women around me and it's also a reminder for us to celebrate women's achievements. I'm proud to be a woman and I’m proud of all the women in my life who are achieving amazing things, challenging stereotypes and discrimination and paving the way for the next generation.
It also means supporting the next generation to feel included, elevated and inspired. Holding space and supporting women is so important if we want to encourage more people into the tech space. We can give women a voice and encourage them share their alternative opinions or views in a room full of men. Having that network of women supporting each other is such an important factor in building each other’s confidence, and International Women’s Day reminds us of that.
What does this year's IWD theme ‘break the bias’ mean to you?
I guess it comes back to my daughters. I want the workplace to be a place where the next generation will be supported and encouraged to thrive with no biases, so I think the work we do now to challenge those biases can help pave the way for the next generation of remarkable females.
On a personal note, my mum is still one of the smartest people I know, but back in the 70’s when she got married, she was forced to give up her career. Back then in Ireland the view was very much that you can’t juggle both kids and a career, it had to be one or the other. I feel like we've come so far since those days by forging and demanding equality and changing perceptions and thinking, and women supporting each other. We need to continue challenging and breaking down those biases.
As a working parent, how has the move to a hybrid working model impacted you?
I think it's amazing and I guess COVID forced a lot of companies to bring in more flexibility which we now know is so important. We've cut out travel time and distractions in the office, but I think most importantly we’ve realized that we can work from home and be even more productive, but still stay connected and use tools for continued collaboration while we’re not face to face.
There's also a stronger focus on wellbeing and on checking in with our team members which has been great to see. It's been fantastic to see both remote and hybrid working implemented so well at WiseTech, and for our leaders and people leaders to be so supportive of us. It's been a great achievement for the company to be able to seamlessly switch between office and home, and so quickly as well.
I think for any company that wants to attract and keep great talent, we need a flexible workforce and the flexibility to be able to manage our time around kids, school activities and life outside of work. As a working parent I need to be able to support my children and be able to do my job properly, so that balance is really important.
What is an achievement either at work or outside of work that you feel proud of?
I'm really proud to be involved in fundraising for a non-profit organization called Room to Read, a global movement to end illiteracy and gender inequality through education. A third of the world’s children remain cut off from education and over 750 million people are illiterate, and two thirds of those are women and girls. Having two daughters influences why this cause is so important for me. Enabling more choices for women and girls through education has been inspiring to be involved in.
Another achievement of mine was training to be a doula and supporting women through pregnancy and childbirth. Having experienced the process, I realized the support you have through your whole pregnancy is critical and it was something I was passionate about doing. Helping women realize that there are alternate choices out there and giving them the knowledge and power to make their own choices.
As a doula I’ve supported numerous women through coaching, educating and empowering them on their journey to motherhood. I use a lot of the same skills as a doula to mentor and coach in my career, so sharing my journey and the challenges and obstacles I've faced and how I've overcome them has been amazing and I’ve learnt a lot about who I am and my values through this process.
What advice would you give to young women about to embark on their career?
My advice for any young person would be to seek out the progressive companies with the right work culture and flexible working practices and choose a company with values that align to your own. Every company will have to step up its game in order to get the best people. So, I think if we demand those companies to be progressive to attract and retain the best talent, they will.
I'd also recommend speaking to somebody you trust and seek out mentors and coaches who can offer feedback or advice. We’ve all suffered from impostor syndrome, lacking confidence and sometimes not really sure what we're doing. Having somebody who has your back and can guide you is valuable, especially when you’re young and coming into a work environment, it can be intimidating. We're all continuously learning in our careers and there's always somebody you can go to who has similar experiences or overcome a challenge or obstacle that you may be facing. I’ve found that many people are happy to give advice and help others to be the best versions of themselves. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for that guidance.
Would you encourage your daughters to pursue a career in tech?
One of my big focuses is encouraging more women to come into this space. The diverse and alternative views that women bring to the table are so valuable, and it's exciting to see more females coming out of school and university interested in pursuing a career in tech.
Particularly in schools, kids are doing STEM subjects at a really young age, and it’s getting them interested and aware of the industry and their future career options, this has been especially encouraging for young girls. Even with my daughters, one of them loves STEM subjects and it's great to see her interested in those subjects without thinking that it’s for boys or that boys are better suited to these subjects.
So absolutely, I’d encourage them to go for it. We need to diversify our thinking and approach and women bring varied perspectives, experiences and skills to the mix.