Networking & the gender divide [Q&A with Century Tech]
Sallianne Buttsworth, Financial Controller at Century Tech joined us for a quick Q&A ahead of The Women in SaaS Summit.
Sallianne will be taking part in the panel discussion ‘Building a Solid Network to Support Others’ along with:
- Gauri Chawla, Vice President, Global Partners & Alliances at InRiver
- Danielle Hill, Management Consultant at Accenture
- Naimeesha Murthy, Founder and Product Leader at Products By Women
Here she discusses the gender divide in finance, the women who inspired her during the early years, and how she became a mentor.
Q: Hi Sallianne, could you tell us a bit about what you’ll be discussing?
A: Networking can be such a buzzword! And everyone knows that they should do it, but I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about what your networking should look like and how to build out your network.
Our panel is going to break down some of these misconceptions and explain how your network is formed through mutually beneficial relationships you have with others that have likely evolved organically, rather than intentionally. Like any relationship, you need to nurture this over time.
The panel will open up about their own experiences, how women at any level of their career can form relationships with others, how to add value to your network, and ask for what you need.
Just writing this paragraph makes me so excited for this chat with Danielle, Gauri, and Naimeesha. They are so inspiring!
Q: How did you get involved with mentoring?
A: I grew up in a small coastal town in Australia, where the opportunities to meet inspiring humans from all walks of life were limited. Even though I have worked hard for my success to date, I do believe that a major contributing factor to this success was due to the relationships that I have formed along the way that have given me handfuls of advice that only the wisdom of hindsight can bring.
I wanted to pay it forward to others that are starting their career and help guide young minds down a bright path. I don’t use the words ‘right path’ as there is no one way to get to where you want to be.
Q: Are there any women who inspired or even mentored you in the early stages of your career?
A: Oh so many! I think more subconsciously than consciously.
Just seeing women buck the trend is an enormous source of inspiration and a continuous reminder to myself that I can do amazing things too.
Two women I am in awe of at the moment are the founders of the leading women’s networking, the AllBright group, Debbie Wosskow, and Anna Jones. They are really creating something amazing for women around the world and I am so proud to be part of their journey as an Ambassador.
It’s also really important to point out that there have been a lot of men who have handed me incredible advice through my years and have advocated for me along the way.
Q: Why do you think finance remains one profession with the most tangible gender divide?
A: There is such a big spotlight on gender diversity.
Research surfacing at the moment states that the finance profession struggles to maintain and promote its talented female professionals. Interestingly, it appears that at an entry/grad level the gender representation is nearly on par, the imbalance starts to occur as finance professionals start to move up the ladder.
This ‘leaky pipeline syndrome’ may be caused by inflexible operational norms, outdated internal policies, and structures, as well as systemic cultural issues. Each organization will have its unique set of challenges on this issue.
Moreover, it is important to consider that diversity of gender is important, however, organizations should also be considering inclusion and intersectionality as part of a wider conversation.
Q: Where do we start closing that divide?
A: There is so much complexity within this issue that I think that an organization-specific approach is required.
The UN HeforShe program has some really great examples of the processes companies such as Vodafone, PWC, and Unilever have used to tackle their own set of unique issues within their organizations. You will see that each company has taken quite a different approach, but have all been able to achieve successful outcomes.