Q&A with Julia Fraser, vice president of sales, UK and Ireland, CenturyLink
In celebration of the recent International Women's Day, Capacity speaks to Julia Fraser, vice president of sales, UK and Ireland, CenturyLink, about how the industry is progressing towards gender parity and the successes made so far.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
“While there is still more to be done to erase gender inequality, I believe that we have made significant progress. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate our female role models and reflect on how far we’ve come, both in the technology industry, and a wide range of sectors.
“At CenturyLink we strive to empower our female employees at all levels across the business. Our Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC), drive initiatives to help create and maintain a diverse workforce. Programmes include a global ‘Women Empowered’ employee group which supports female talent with mentoring programmes. We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture that offers great career opportunities and benefits not only for women but for anyone, no matter what their gender, background, culture or beliefs.”
Is it a good time for women to explore a career in technology?
“There’s never been a better time for women to explore a career in technology. In fact, we’re in high demand! A diverse workforce is increasingly being embraced as a key contributor to success. We believe it’s one of our greatest strengths in a competitive marketplace. Our company philosophy is that when we value and respect each other for our unique perspectives, we can create the best solutions for our customers.”
What misconceptions are preventing women from pursuing a career in technology?
“There can still be a misconception that a career in technology does not offer women much of a work-life balance. My experience is that the technology industry can actually offer better choices for flexible working and competitive family friendly benefits than many other sectors.”
What do you think can be done to encourage more women to join and progress careers in the technology industry?
“I work closely with our recruitment team and our hiring managers to help them source the best female talent through a range of initiatives. We make sure that there is a balance between female and male representation on job vacancy shortlists, we train for absolute objectivity in the selection process and highlight to candidates that career progression is a level playing field, regardless of gender.”
Role models and mentoring
“There are many great female role models now in the technology industry. It’s great that many of these women are also keen to share their knowledge and experience with the new generation. For example, I am a member of our global ‘Women Empowered’ employee group, which supports female career development with mentoring programmes. This type of programme is a great way to develop and encourage female talent across our global business.”
“Leadership is really important. Every manager needs to think about shaping the culture of their teams and they can play a real role in keeping diversity and inclusion at the forefront.”
Have you ever felt your gender has impacted your career?
“I’m very happy to say that I have never felt my gender has held me back and my experience has always been very positive. Throughout my career I’ve always believed that regardless of your gender, it’s about working hard to achieve your goals and taking on new and challenging projects to build your knowledge and skills. It’s about continuously learning and ensuring that you are visible by jumping at opportunities within your industry and organisation.”