Inspiring Inclusion on International Women’s Day 2024
Posted: Thursday, Mar 07

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Inspiring Inclusion on International Women’s Day 2024
From KBI

What Does Inspiring Inclusion Mean To You?

Inspiring inclusion, from my perspective rooted in my Asian background and experience working for a global company, entails proactively nurturing a space where every person, irrespective of their origins or identity, feels genuinely appreciated, honoured, and empowered to bring their whole selves to the table. It’s deeply understanding and appreciating the wealth of perspectives that diversity offers, and ensuring that everyone is afforded equal opportunities to flourish and succeed.

I firmly believe that in cybersecurity and technology, where innovation and problem-solving are at the forefront, the inclusion of diverse perspectives is essential to effectively navigate complex challenges. Historically, these fields have predominantly been occupied by specific demographics, which has posed significant barriers for women and other underrepresented groups. By embracing inclusion, we not only dismantle these disparities but also unleash the immense potential of diverse talent, resulting in the development of more innovative solutions and robust cybersecurity measures.

Tell Us About A Specific Action Or Imitative You’ve Taken To Inspire Inclusion In Your Workplace Or Industry.

I’ve been proactive in championing diversity and inclusion by implementing a range of initiatives. This includes adopting inclusive hiring practices.  I’m more than thrilled to share an instance wherein we specifically recruited a senior woman sales development representative who not only met but exceeded performance expectations, showcasing the tangible benefits of diverse talent. Furthermore, I was part of a pioneering group in the company when we established mentorship programs tailored for underrepresented groups to provide guidance and support for their professional growth.

Additionally, I’ve made it a priority to not only inspire but also celebrate diversity, particularly in leadership roles. In my leadership capacity, I have actively highlighted the outstanding accomplishments of our female leader within the APAC support engineering team, underscoring the exceptional team she has built. This team has not only fostered an environment characterised by teamwork, loyalty, and exceptional performance but has contributed to the region’s world-class customer retention rates. By shining a spotlight on these achievements, I have consistently advocated for and celebrated successful women in leadership roles, reinforcing the notion that diversity isn’t just appreciated but is integral to our collective success.

How Do You Think Diversity, Equity And Inclusion In Tech Has Evolved Throughout Your Personal Career Journey?

I’ve observed a notable evolution in the tech industry towards recognising the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Companies are more aware of the significant impact that diverse perspectives can have on innovation and decision-making processes. However, achieving true inclusivity extends beyond merely meeting diversity quotas; it requires a comprehensive commitment to addressing systemic barriers and biases.

One concrete step that companies can take is implementing inclusive leadership development programs. These programs should provide training and resources to equip leaders with the skills necessary to foster inclusive environments, recognise unconscious biases, and promote diversity within their teams. Furthermore, companies can establish mentorship and sponsorship programs aimed at supporting underrepresented employees. Pairing junior employees with senior mentors or sponsors who can provide guidance, advocacy, and opportunities for advancement can help break down barriers and facilitate career progression.

Another crucial aspect is creating a culture of belonging where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute. This involves promoting open dialogue, actively soliciting feedback from diverse voices, and addressing issues of discrimination or bias promptly and transparently.  Additionally, companies can prioritise diversity in their supplier and vendor relationships by seeking out partnerships with diverse-owned businesses. By diversifying their supply chains, companies not only support economic inclusion but also foster a more diverse ecosystem.

Ultimately, it’s about creating an ecosystem where diversity thrives, and every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

What Advice Would You Give Fellow Female Professionals In The Tech Industry Seeking To Step Up To Leadership Positions?

My advice would be to cultivate confidence in your abilities, leverage your unique strengths and perspectives, and actively seek out opportunities for growth and advancement. Additionally, seek out mentors and allies who can provide support and guidance along the way, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and others. Remember that your voice and contributions are valuable, and by stepping into leadership positions, you can inspire positive change and pave the way for future generations.

Share An Example Of How Someone Else’s Inclusivity Towards You Has Impacted Your Career Or Inspired You To Be More Inclusive Yourself.

Throughout my career journey, I have been incredibly blessed to be surrounded by mentors and colleagues who have looked beyond my race and gender, focusing instead on my capabilities and potential. This circle of support has been instrumental in my professional development, propelling my career in the tech industry and ignited a deep-seated passion to advocate for inclusivity and equity. Drawing from my own experiences, I am committed to nurturing an environment where diverse talents are celebrated and given the platform to shine, mirroring the support I received.

What Would You Like To See Happen In Australia To Further Promote Female Inclusion?

The Australian government and private organisations have implemented various initiatives to foster female inclusion, especially in the workforce and leadership roles. The notable ones include Workplace Equality and Reporting on gender composition, pay equity, and management practices in workplaces, career promotion to encourage and support women’s participation in STEM, and funding for projects designed to enhance Australian women’s economic security, leadership opportunities, and career advancement.

Despite these efforts, I firmly believe that we can do more around supporting working mothers to return to work after having a child.  To help reduce the financial burden on working parents, the Singapore government, for example, has child care subsidies in place to assist with full-day preschool expenses for infants (two-18 months old) and children (18 months-6 years old) without limits on the household income. Expanding access to childcare can significantly impact women’s ability to participate in the workforce, especially in full-time and leadership roles.  Perhaps the Australian Government can look into implementing a similar program which is not limited to just lower income families.

Joanne Wong, Interim Marketing Manager, LogRhythm
The Production Team
The KBI Production Team is a staff of specialist technology professionals with a detailed understanding across much of cybersecurity and emerging technology. With many decades of collective industry experience, as well as expertise in marketing & communications, we bring news and analysis of the cybersecurity industry.
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