Women Leading Tech: Become’s Kelly Pike On Why It’s So Important To Get More Women Into The Tech Industry

Women Leading Tech: Become’s Kelly Pike On Why It’s So Important To Get More Women Into The Tech Industry

Become’s Regional Director for Australia and New Zealand Kelly Pike has had a full career which she says is in part thanks to the many great female leaders that supported her along the way.

Kelly Pike has gone through many different stages in her career, but the support she feels as part of the team at Become has helped her thrive and give one hundred percent of herself to her work. This is the sort of environment Kelly believes needs to be created by other businesses so that more young women can feel comfortable to not only become part of the tech industry, but also thrive in it.

Speaking to B&T, Mrs. Pike takes us through her professional journey, which as she points out was elevated by female leaders who she says is grateful to have come across.

B&T: Why is it so important to support Women Leading Tech for you personally?

K.P.: Whether it’s in tech or not, I think it’s important to really lean in and support females in any kind of endeavour that they attempt to take on. I was very fortunate to have had some strong female leaders who supported me throughout my journey. And the way of thinking now compared to what it was even before the pandemic started is entirely different and I think everybody should be treated exactly the same.

B&T: Can you tell us a bit about your personal history and your current role?

K.P.: Sure can! I have been in the industry for about 20 years. I started my journey with a global recruitment business. And I was lucky enough for that business to transfer me across to the UK where I spent about seven years and then fortunate enough for them to transfer me back (to Australia). Then I moved to a boutique recruitment business, specializing in human resources (HR), which is predominantly female-driven.

During that time, I got married and had my two children, all while being supported to continue with my career. A good example of that was when I returned from my first parental leave. I had only been back in the business for about six months and I had fallen pregnant again when I was offered a directorship. I was very early in my second pregnancy so I said: “You know what? I don’t think I’m going to be the right person for this”. But the company replied: “It’s not about that, it’s about the person.” So we moved forward with the promotion and the directorship and I thank them very much for doing that.

After seven years with that business and fifteen years doing HR recruitment, I said to myself: ‘alright, what’s next?’ Because I’m always telling my candidates to try different things, so it was time for me to do something new as well. That’s when I was offered this amazing opportunity from Become ANZ. We’re part of a global business called the Empresaria group that has 15-20 different recruitment brands. We sit across the ASAP, UK and Europe as well as the Americas.

I have a very inspirational female leader. She’s the global CEO and also one of the top 100 influencers on LinkedIn. She’s very supportive in terms of helping you do your best. When you meet Rhona (Driggs), the first thing she’ll say is: “Hi! I’m a mum first but also a CEO of a business.” This made me feel really safe in my new environment to pursue a career as a managing director but also to have that absolute work-life balance.

B&T: What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve come across in your career?

K.P.: One of the greatest challenges I had to face came when I was in London during the financial crisis. Watching people lose their homes and their jobs, it was very tough. My husband, who was then still my partner, worked in construction and the situation was difficult for us. I used to think: “do I have to be really selfish and put my career first and my children second?” Because I am very career-driven and I wanted to continue but constantly having that mum-guilt wasn’t good, even though I actually knew that they were okay.

I work full time because I choose to do so. But I know that within the Empresaria group I’m very supported and I’m given lots of flexibility so that I can be the type of parent that can go to their kids’ school and watch their dance or go and see their athletics carnival.

And I hope I can be an advocate to help women work in a safe space like that so they can thrive while making sure they are supported by their partners. But also for all those single mothers out there as well, these days it’s not just about working a 38-hour week, Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five, the glove doesn’t fit anymore. It’s about what that person can do and what value they can add to an organization and communicating that to our clients.

B&T: What advice would you give to young women hoping to become leaders in a statistically male-dominated field?

K.P.: Be yourself. You don’t have to fit the mould. Support yourself. And as I say to everyone in my team, there’s no need to be intimidated by people because, guess what? We all get dressed the same in the morning.

B&T: On the same token, how can we empower and encourage more young girls to consider a career in tech?

K.P.: It’s funny you should ask that. We’re really lucky because we have a wonderful nanny who picks up our kids from school and is a first year Uni student. She’s currently studying her business degree. And she said to me: “I don’t know whether to major in marketing or technology.” I told her: “You know what? Technology is the future.”

But I think it’s a communication issue. And people need to realize that technology is not a boring old room where you’re sitting there, putting in data all day. There are so many creative things that we can look at and there’s a whole new field, the metaverse, which is the way forward and I really think that we should have that communicated through schools.

However women as leaders need to show the next generation that the content is really engaging and the industry is rapidly-developing. That message also needs to go out to businesses, that you don’t need to sit people at a computer all day anymore. Nowadays you can even have a solid career being a gamer!

We also need to make sure that we’re not doing what my parents did and their parents did to them. “Boys wear blue, girls wear pink, etc”. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s how your mind is. It’s how your mind works and what you’re passionate about.

B&T: Do you have any closing words for our readers?

K.P.: I’m really excited to see what the future has to hold! And I’m very honoured to be part of Women Leading Tech! Everyday the industry changes and we should embrace these changes, while making sure we embrace flexibility as well. Because it’s not about when you can work but how you can work.

Find out more about the Women Leading Tech Awards HERE.

Tickets to the awards are on sale now HERE.

As an initiative created to support gender parity and representation across the tech industry, Women Leading Tech is an event inclusive of non-binary and gender diverse members of the tech industry, as well as any individual identifying as a woman.

Thank you to our Women Leading Tech sponsors:

 

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