The Global Women in Telco & Tech Awards and Summit: Hear from our Advocates - Frank Rey
19 June 2019 | Natalie Bannerman
Frank Rey, director of network strategy, Microsoft, talks to Capacity about what motivated him to become an advocate for Global Women in Telco & Tech and why young female professionals need to 'speak your voice'.
Why in your opinion, is diversity such a benefit to organisations and not just a ‘nice to have’?
Diversity and inclusion should be at the core of each organisation. A diverse team drives innovation and it makes organisations stronger and able to better compete in today’s global business. As leaders, our organisation’s D&I is something that we each have the responsibility to promote and celebrate, as well as incorporating this principle into the way we do business. It is beneficial to our employees, customers, our business and the health of our society as a whole
As a senior executive yourself, how do you help the next cohort of young women as they progress in their careers?
The first step is inclusion and empowerment. I am very excited to have smart, capable women in our team actively making an impact to the business every day. Additionally, I believe in leading by example – act and treat others the way you want to be treated. Constantly evaluate and challenge yourself to be more aware, rid yourself of any unconscious bias you may have and be an example for your colleagues and your company. Lastly, knowledge-sharing. Share your knowledge and experiences and pay forward what you have seen and experienced to mentor the next generation of talent and leaders. And, most importantly, use that opportunity in turn to learn from them!
What do you think needs to happen in your industry to bridge the gender gap or do you think enough is already being done?
The industry is paying attention to this issue of gender gap, which is a great first step. However, I believe there is a huge opportunity to improve not only gender gap but D&I as a whole. We need to constantly evaluate the barriers and blocks that women and others have faced in our industry and work toward creating opportunities that will give everyone opportunities to excel. Would love to see more recognition of the contributions made by women in our industry and what they continue to do in our field. Visibility is an important component. Would love to have more women speaking at events to represent the industry as a whole so everyone can learn and improve, but also inspire and encourage the next generation of women to join the telco and tech workplace.
What single piece of advice would you give a young woman, who wants to do what you have done and reach the top of their career?
I would certainly encourage the next generation of female professionals to push the boundaries, speak your voice, ask questions that challenge the norm and don’t let anyone or anything limit what you believe you can do. Learn from your mistakes and failures – they are the most invaluable of lessons – and surround yourself with positive, supportive people; anything less is dead weight that will not help you. Most importantly: be yourself and act the way you want women to be viewed both personally and professionally and be the role model for the next generation behind you!
What do you hope to accomplish by becoming a ‘Women in Telco and Tech’ advocate?
Through this forum I would like to accomplish two (2) things: 1) team with others to create opportunities for everyone so we can improve and make a positive impact for the next generations and 2) be an active advocate for gender equality. This is not an issue that women need to face alone. We are all in it together. Through diversity and inclusion we can break down stereotypes and unconscious biases from the past and make a better path for future generations. I want to show that as a leader in this industry I am fully committed to these efforts and will able to drive change.
What inspired you to become a ‘Women in Telco and Tech’ advocate? What was it about this particular initiative that resonated with you?
I have two (2) daughters – Zoe and Caitlin, 10 and 8 respectively. They are my inspiration. I want them to live in a world that accepts them for who they are and does not limit their opportunities just because of gender – or any bias for that matter. I want them to have strong role models, both female and male, and be able to lead by example by being a role model and advocate for them myself. Additionally, I grew up in a household with a strong, independent, professional mother who became a Registered Nurse and started a 40-year career in nursing while her friends were getting married and having children because that is what was expected of women in her generation. She showed you could have a family and be a professional – and I want to ensure my daughters can do both without the stereotypes, biases and struggles my mother confronted and which women still confront today.
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