Be the change you want to see: Linda John, Senior IT Project Manager
Looking back over my 20-year career so far in IT and project management, before I started out I remember saying to myself ‘Learn the trade and believe you can do it’. It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Despite some people viewing IT as complicated and difficult to understand it’s something I have always loved and felt was exciting. Seeing the difference technology has made to our world in the last twenty years alone is, I feel, testament to that. However, with regards to the second part of that sentence for others thinking of a career in consulting self-belief is so important.
As a consultant I have successfully delivered large scale IT projects across multinational organisations, across private and public sector industries. Those projects have gone on to build legacies for those organisations and I have been able to showcase my skills and talents to ensure their success. I am not alone, thousands of experienced and talented contractors are doing similar things for UK and global businesses right now, but statistics and my experience has shown as a female senior IT consultant I am in the minority.
Working with Procorre has given me a new platform to showcase my talents and we continue to build this relationship together. The company’s new initiative, Procorre100, which aims to sign-up 100 women in 100 days into its consultancy network is one particularly close to my heart. Not only because I am passionate about spreading the word about consultancy, undoubtedly it has given me great freedom in my career, has enabled me to take on enviable projects and deliver real results for clients, but fundamentally because it is calling for the tide to turn and encourage more women to make that move into consulting.
I wasn’t surprised to hear Procorre was spearheading this initiative. The company, led by a female CEO, is passionate about equality and I hope its messages are starting to reach women who are thinking about consultancy.
Is it a lack of self-belief holding some women back from becoming consultants? Perhaps so, but it shouldn’t be. You can’t be a consultant without experience and expertise so have confidence in your skills and what you can bring to a business.
If I had seen more women in senior IT positions when I started out in the industry would I have made the leap into consultancy sooner than I did? Maybe. Therefore, I feel passionate about what needs to happen; be the change you want to see, by increasing the numbers of female senior IT consultants in the UK we will be inspiring those around us to consider consulting as well as those who are coming up the ranks. In five- or ten-years’ time it would be great to see those statistics change.
Could concerns about being out of work for certain periods be holding some women back or are they concerned about not being able to have a flexible working pattern? Possibly. However, from my point of view since joining Procorre I have always had continuous contracts and despite some people viewing contracting as not being able to have a strong say in your working hours or patterns, in my experience this is far from the truth, in fact, its more likely to give you a stronger say.
Whatever the reasons are for women being so underrepresented in consulting, I hope the Procorre100 campaign strikes a chord with those who are considering making the leap, as the success of the initiative could have enormous repercussions for the future and I am delighted to be a part of it.