Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. This is the aim of International Women's Day, a global event that celebrates women's achievement, raises awareness against bias, and takes action for equality.
One of the missions is 'To elevate and advance gender parity in technology and celebrate the women forging innovation', an initiative Red Sift looks to support. We sat down with our VP of Customer Success, Claudia Belardo, to find out the story behind why she began a career in technology and what she's learned during her time.
What one achievement or task in your career are you most proud of?
I love all of the work I’ve done at Red Sift to date. Creating a career development strategy for the team and working with all my team members to understand their long-term career objectives and ensure that they have a plan to get them there as well as understanding how I can support it.
I take pride in people development. I have built teams of successful people all over the world Australia, Costa Rica, the USA, and, of course, the UK and mainland Europe. I enjoy mentoring and coaching people to help them understand how they can use their unique talents to drive their own achieved success and seeing them do it makes for my proudest moments. When people join my team they’re trusting me to lead them to something better and even when my stint in that organization has finished. If those people are still there, I know I’ve done a good job. That's human leadership or ‘humanizing leadership’ as I like to call it, when you play a pivotal part in someone’s career and they reach out to you 11-12 years down the line and say, that moment changed my life for the better.
At Red Sift I applied all of my accumulative experience of customer experience (CX), we moved from customer success to really understand what motivates customers to stay with the vendor and establish and keep that trust. We’ve almost created an outside-in approach to CX.
We’re all humans just trying to connect to other humans.. We're trying to create an experience that makes people want to stay, and then become advocates - whether that is customers of the brand or employees of the organization.
Ultimately it's that human connection that matters most and creates the most impact long-term and it’s those connections I’m most proud of.
What is your top tip for women looking to start a career in IT?
For me it’s finding the ability to be human in everything you do. I think early in my career when there were very few women in IT the uniqueness of me being a woman added a flavor to the service and allowed me to create a service that differentiated to whatever else was out there in the market. I think other women shouldn't underestimate how important diversity is in today's marketplace. We are good at IT, we bring different ideas, different perspectives, and we are compassionate leaders.
Don't be afraid of technology, if you have the principles that can humanize the service that you are trying to create then you have a good shot at success. Confidence is key, that's the biggest step and the second is building relationships. Building a network that supports and enhances your views. Everything else will follow.
Believe in yourself and your skills, everything else can be learned. There’s a motto I like to live by and it can be applied to various roles. If you can create an experience that your mother would like, then you can do anything.
What is the one thing you would do to encourage more women into the IT sector?
Securing a job is about having the right skills for that job, once you are in all you need to do is demonstrate your value.
I've done a lot of mentoring and for me, mentoring is listening - so find people that you have an affinity with and watch, listen and learn how they do business and how they are successful. Be brave enough to ask those killer questions and give your honest thoughts and feedback.
Don’t be a yes man, being a woman in IT doesn’t mean you have to prove your worth. You might be a minority but you deserve that spot, so own it!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
Not everyone thinks like me.
One of the biggest things I've learned is that realization, actually, not everybody thinks like me. Sometimes you have to take it right back to basics, people have different learning styles and different ways they consume, and want to consume information.
You have to be patient, take it back a step, and check-in at regular intervals. It was a learning curve but it’s a positive one, it’s important to have diverse personalities and learners in teams as that’s how the best ideas are developed. To execute on big change - you have to also change yourself.
Are you interested in a career in technology, working for a fast-growth company that aims to empower its staff? Find out which positions we're currently hiring for and get in touch!