This week I was honored to host a very special Blue Prism Café, as we launched our Women in RPA initiative with some inspiring leaders from the RPA industry. I was honored to be joined by Vikki Sly, Chief People Officer and Linda Dotts, Global SVP Partner Strategy at Blue Prism, Katie Payne, Process Automation Lead at Ageas and Erin Boston, Associate Vice President at TD Bank. As leaders in their respective industries, they shared inspirational insights - gained from decades of experience - about how to be a successful woman in the RPA industry. We were also joined by a special guest, Cari Williams, program director with Blue Prism who shared the perspective of a recent graduate entering the technology space as a woman and tells us why you should “just go for it!”.
Keeping diversity in focus
During the research that we carried out leading up to launching this program, we discovered that only 17% of the technology workforce is represented by women with only 5% of leaders in tech being female. A McKinsey and LeanIn.org’s 2018 study of the state of women in corporate America, also reveals that more work is needed across the wider industry to improve diversity, as only 20% of the C-suite are women and only 4% are of color.
 * Reference: ‘Women in Tech: Time to close the Gender Gap’, PwC
Diversity has underpinned the success of Blue Prism and we’re proud that 28% of Blue Prism’s leadership team are women. But we’re not stopping there, this is just the start of our ongoing mission to continue building a strong, global network of highly talented and innovative, diverse professionals.
Diversity is good business
As a woman working in tech for more than 20 years, Vikki Sly’s standout career moments have been at companies that value input from all genders – and where ideas matter more than hierarchy. She knows diverse and inclusive organizations always perform better. Research backs this up. McKinsey’s ‘delivering through diversity’ 2018 research, conducted at 1,000 companies - across 7 industries, indicates that those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to perform 35% better than their national industry peers.
Vikki also sees that RPA is a great fit for women as they’re naturally skilled at managing process and internal change, and it’s these qualities that will support integrating a human and automated, digital workforce - and transform their business.
She explains why Blue Prism continues to embrace a culture of inclusion, “Across our business we ensure that all our diversity practices are world-class – especially when targeting, mentoring and seeking more diverse talent. Crucially, these initiatives are sustainable as they receive passionate sponsorship from our founders and executive team. For those either already operating in, or entering this sector, my advice is to lead with courage, RPA can be career defining, and know you can make a difference – if you are that person - we’d love to hear from you.”
Be a bold - be a RPA champion
With decades of previous experience, Linda Dotts explains why she joined this booming industry 2 years ago. It was actually Blue Prism as a company that was attractive to her – as it’s not only an exciting, fast growth, enterprise but possesses core values important to her including; integrity and from a product perspective, reliability, scalability and customer care. Working with RPA technology is a great leadership opportunity, it swiftly generates major benefits compared to other enterprise technologies – and is helping her deliver value to customers like never before.
Linda believes that more women should consider a career in RPA. “This sector is relatively new and as RPA is so impactful for business – there’s great career potential. Those who can lead, who can champion RPA across their operations can achieve great success, such as improving processes to engender greater customer trust. I’d also say, understand your business and take a risk – because you can become a champion by really differentiating it. You should always lead from who you want to be, keep networking and mentor others along the way too.”
Cari Williams, Director, EMEA Strategic Program Management at Blue Prism, feels there’s a big stigma around technology that makes it intimidating and unappealing as a career choice for younger women. However, she adds, “Working in the RPA sector is exciting – it’s fast paced and full of great opportunities. For those considering working in this sector, do your research and remember that working in tech doesn’t mean that you have to be working directly with tech – just go for it.”
Managing a human and digital team
Five years ago, Katie Payne joined an existing automation program at Ageas to manage a team of both human and Digital Workers. She’s achieved excellent results so far and believes that the key to success is influence and gaining business buy-in. This means she works hard to create interest and keep the wider business continually engaged with automation initiatives.
She reveals what she looks for in her team, “We don’t just consider qualifications, but the passion and value that people can provide. Female qualities definitely suit all roles within our team - from business analysts who need great people understanding - to aftercare staff who must also be caring and nurturing.”
Driving fast growth – while maintaining diversity
Although Erin Boston didn’t seek out a career in automation, since 2016, she’s built a highly diverse RPA team at TD Bank from 3 people - to more than 70. She’s proud that it consists of 40% women, which is far higher than the industry standard and is also multicultural and multi-age too. She believes that to ensure diversity is sustainable, thinking about how to make it better must always remain high on the agenda, it must be purposeful.
She also highlights the key skills that suit working with RPA, “I quickly realized that you don’t need a technical IT background, you must understand process and RPA – but you don’t need a coding background to code it. If you want to be successful in this industry, strategic thinking, the ability to lead, curiosity and an aptitude for learning - are all important qualities that can lead you to a successful career.”
Moving forward together
Ultimately, by connecting the champions in our tightly knit network, we can retain individual talents, pioneer an industry-relevant community and help women gain a competitive advantage in the market. The Blue Prism Women in RPA initiative promises to deliver this through a global community network focused on helping you feel empowered, supported and valued.
Blue Prism Women in RPA celebrates talent and encourages both personal growth and professional development– through roundtables and networking events with customers and partners. For example, an upcoming event that we’re sponsoring is Women of Silicon Roundabout celebrating Women in Technology, with over 6,000 attendees and two days of exciting content. We are able to offer a 20% discount code to our network using this link: https://lnkd.in/dD_g3Xv.
To ensure you don’t miss out on any Women in RPA news, please join our LinkedIn showcase page. We look forward to connecting with you!