International Women’s Day is here. At Babl, it’s the diversity and inclusivity of our people that make us who we are and allow us to deliver high-quality, functional and bespoke solutions that empower all the ways our clients communicate. Today, on the 8th of March to mark International Womens’ Day, we wanted to celebrate the work and achievements of one of our female senior leaders, Fia Gosling.
Being a technology business, we are fully aware that women remain underrepresented in the tech industry. But, we are also very conscious of the fact that more women are now leading technological innovation across the globe than ever before. To ensure this trend can continue to grow and that more women can feel empowered to pursue a career in tech we wanted to showcase and champion an inspirational woman who is adding value at the highest level of a growing cloud-based SaaS business. Fia Gosling is the Global Product and Training Director for Babl who continues to play an instrumental part in our product strategy and managing our evolving tech stack. We had the pleasure to sit down with Fia to talk about her role, her personal journey and experiences as well as International Women’s Day.
Fia, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to work at Babl?
Sure, my journey is a little different because I started out studying semiotics and sociology at University rather than engineering. I was interested in what drives human behaviour. Naturally, I migrated into Marketing but I was more technically minded so my first few roles were focused on building websites and technology implementation rolling out CRM systems and I also provided general Martech consultation services to small businesses on the side.
Fortuitously, I met Jonathan who is an inspirational leader with amazing ideas and he excited me with the idea of taking this communications company called Speakserve to the next level and how we could build something even bigger. I was immediately sold and that was 3 years ago. Since then I’ve established myself in the Global Product Director position, steering innovation, building roadmaps and working closely with our in-house engineering team to execute.
Would you say you always wanted to work in a technology business, if so why?
From a very young age, I’ve been someone who would pick an object up, pull it apart, analyse what it’s made of, figure out how it works and then put it back together. So in a way, I’ve always had a curious mindset. My grandfather was an inventor and my dad was a designer, so you could say I’ve always had something naturally in me that makes me particularly passionate about solving technical problems. I don’t know if I wanted to work in technology at the very start but I knew I’d always be keen to utilise technologies and be a part of something that has a direct impact on people’s lives.
What is one thing you love about leading product innovation initiatives?
One thing I love about driving innovation is the problem-solving element, listening and learning from lots of different points of views and then pulling all of those perspectives together before identifying the vision and then thinking out of the box to provide a unique solution. I find that really satisfying and rewarding.
What does International Women’s Day (IWD) mean to you?
International Women’s Day is all about highlighting women’s achievements and showcasing the stories of all courageous womxn who aim to succeed despite the obstacles that are in their way. This years theme is #ChoosetoChallenge, (which I love), only by starting challenging conversations can we truly affect the types of change that will benefit women all around the world. It is my hope that we can call out prejudice and bias wherever we see it, in order to create an environment where anyone regardless of their gender, sexuality or ethnicity has real opportunities to succeed.
How do you feel about the current lack of representation of women in tech, product and in senior leadership roles across the board?
We are lucky that at Babl Global our senior leadership team is quite balanced with almost an equal representation for women and men. However, there’s no secret that the number of womxn working in Senior Technology positions is still under-represented. I feel incredibly lucky to be in this position, and as a queer woman, I also feel a responsibility to fight for others and to provide opportunities for growth and remove the common diversity blockers that can have a detrimental impact on someone’s career.
Culturally, we’ve never been good at advocating for women and pushing them into technical roles or sciences and unfortunately, even when they do have the courage to pursue a career in a traditionally male-dominated industry there are often lots of equality blockers.
For example; technology roles are perceived to have heavy workloads and long hours and with women being considered principal caregivers, there is an assumption that a working mother or carer is more unfit for a role in technology than a working father. I’m a strong believer that your gender can never fully determine your skill or proficiency and more needs to be done to challenge the bias of our working environment.
How do you think the gender gap can be reduced?
Changes can only happen through sponsorship and advocacy. We need more male leaders to get behind the cause, rebuking gender inequalities and challenging their own biases. They have greater opportunities to challenge the status quo and create an environment where womxn feel empowered to enter tech roles from an early age. I also believe women themselves play a big role in being advocates themselves, they need to step into the spotlight and advocate for all types of womxn (including trans and non-binary).
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in technology or any other male-dominated industry?
Start now, get involved and be bold. For me personally, I have tried relentlessly to make opportunities for myself and would advise other womxn to do the same. There have been times I’d go to technology events and be one of two to three womxn in the room, but I had a passion for technology and wouldn’t let anything get in my way. There have also been occasions throughout my career where I was overlooked for positions or I felt that my opinions were not taken seriously. But, I learned to understand my value. You have to have a level of confidence in yourself, know your worth and project it.
Is there a particular woman in tech or any other industry who has inspired you?
I have always been really inspired by Deby Liu from Facebook. More recently, when I transitioned into my product role I was looking for a mentor. I joined Product League and matched with a fellow product leader at ChronWell Inc, Marina Simonian. She helped me step into my new role with confidence, it was good to have another Senior Woman in Product with whom I could share my experiences, and learn. I would recommend anyone starting their technology journey to talk to other women out there as they will have been in a similar position to you.
To learn more about International Women’s Day, find more resources and/or donate, visit the website here.
For a deeper dive into Fia, visit her profile here.