Back in May, Microsoft held the latest event in its Women in Business Leadership series, with guest speaker and Olympic Gold Medallist, Anna Watkins MBE. It was hosted at the stunning Convent Garden Hotel, and was the perfect setting for a discussion around the responsibilities and risks involved in being a successful senior woman in business today.
All the attendees agreed that progress has been made in terms of women taking more senior roles, and business culture is heading in a positive direction. At the same time, however, there is a still a lot to do to reach an equal and diverse senior workforce in the UK, especially in IT.
Our own Rebecca Corke shared her impressions of what were the most promising and powerful ideas to emerge from the event:
And that was the key to the whole evening: a chance to network and develop personal and professional relationships with some truly inspiring and exciting women. ‘We’re all so busy, it’s great to just stop and engage with somebody,’ says Rebecca, ‘I left feeling really fired up.’
Four Women in Top Positions at Microsoft
There are more women “feeling the fear and doing anyway” and the trend is changing in a positive way. Microsoft is certainly playing its part.
Within the company’s major reorganisation, there are four women in Microsoft’s top 14 executive positions: Amy Hood (executive vice president and chief financial officer), Julie Larson-Green (executive vice president, Devices and Studios), Lisa Brummel (executive vice president, Human Resources) and Tami Reller (executive vice president, Marketing).
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s Chief Executive, said of his company’s significant reorganisation: “It’s a big day for me and the women and men around the table who form the Microsoft leadership team.
“We're ready to take Microsoft in bold new directions and really delight both our consumer and business customers."
Reller and Larson-Green were execs who saw their duties significantly expanded this week and Microsoft is a part of a small but growing trend among larger tech companies, says Chris O’Brien of the Los Angeles Times.
“For instance, Microsoft is now on par with Cisco Systems, which has 4 women in the top 14. The leader in Silicon Valley is Oracle, which lists six women in its top 26 executive roles.
“HP, led by Chief Executive Meg Whitman, has women in 3 of 14 top spots. Yahoo, with Marissa Mayer in the captain's chair, has 3 of 12.
“Lagging a bit are Facebook, 1 of 4 and Google, 1 of 13.”
A small change in the big corporation, certainly, and those who ‘stepped up’ in the top executive positions will show their company the benefits of the diversity, something which Anna Watkins explained in her talk.