Words of inspiration and encouragement for women in IT

“Remember a moment when someone in your career or life said something to you that made a difference and pulled you forward,” invited Lori Scarlett, Director of Human Resources at Ingram Micro, speaking to the Women in the IT Channel Recognition luncheon held August 24 at the Weston Golf and Country Club in Toronto.

From left: Paolo Del Nibletto, Heather Schaan, Lori Scarlett, Bill Brendel
From left: Paolo Del Nibletto, Heather Schaan, Lori Scarlett, Bill Brendel

Aligned with the event theme of “Pay it Forward,” Lori then asked us to think about doing the same to make a positive impact for someone else.

Sharing a model, called “Touchpoints” — she offered a simple and quick framework to guide us in how to share an encouraging word or a positive challenge in a way that will help propel someone else forward. Simply asking “How can I help you?” is the first step. In my experience, acknowledging a person’s strengths or qualities, as well as their work and tasks, can also go a long way to providing encouragement.

Those words of encouragement of believing in someone else’s capabilities is a gift to others — especially to women in an industry where we represent only about 25 per cent of the total. And those moments of encouragement are also business critical, according to Marcus Buckingham of Gallup, who studied 80,000 managers in over 400 companies to identify the factors for  creating a strong workforce linked to strong business results. He advises leaders to “…do everything you can to help each person cultivate his talents. Help each person become more of who he already is.”  I suggest each of us has the opportunity to be such a leader.

unspecifiedCertainly, the Women in the IT Channel honorees provided tangible examples of leaders who are “paying it forward” both in their contributions to particular causes as well as their leadership in the IT/Tech sector. Grace Martins, General Manager at QRX technologies is involved with SNAPSO: Special Needs Adult Program Services Organization, while Lynda Partner, Vice President, Marketing at Pythian runs a not-for-profit, called Face-2-Face that captures and shares video-based stories of ordinary Canadians.

Another inspiring honoree, Heather Schaan, Vice-President & General Manager helped establish and grow Microserve’s post-secondary scholarship and bursary funds at BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology), University of Victoria and the University of Alberta. And Norma Tidd, PC Parts Now Inc. Founder, is a longstanding organizer of the Canadian Computer Charity Golf Classic, raising more than $5.8 million for Easter Seals and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Foundation — and there’s still time to get in on this year’s tournament on September 8.

There were plenty of inspiring moments to reflect on at the Women in IT Channel luncheon. Putting inspiration into action, today I took the lead to encourage a young woman who is a software developer to take her next steps toward a leadership role. Who will you encourage with your leadership today?

Cheryl Sylvester
Cheryl Sylvester
Cheryl Sylvester is a Leadership Coach, Brand Communications consultant and W100 Business Owner. A perpetual idea generator, entrepreneurship cheerleader, and wanna-be geek, her clients include Novell, PlateSpin, Mozilla, HP, Tenscores & Polar. She writes about Leadership, Communications, Entrepreneurship and Women in technology.

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