Glory Nelson, Chief People & Tech Strategy Officer, Xebia
Q. As a Woman Leader, how challenging has it been for you to succeed in your chosen field?
Challenges are part of your life. If you never fail in tough situation, you will never learn to be resilient. Women face many challenges while climbing corporate ladder – juggling between professional and personal lives, and sometimes personal aspects take precedence over professional aspirations.
In a nutshell, a woman in a leadership position is at the fulcrum of multiple see-saw and wears multiple hats, which sometimes become a very difficult balancing act. I have been fortunate enough to have very strong support of family and friends around me, who have immensely helped me in walking this tight rope.
Q. How have you been able to convert obstacles in your career path into opportunities?
In my experience, obstacles in your path are the medium to explore multiple solutions of a problem and help you in choosing the right and best one. Being in corporate world for last so many years, I have learnt the art of converting challenges into opportunities by following a simple mantra.
Whenever I am in a tough situation, I never lose focus of the end goal, and try to be calm. I always analyse the situation with bottom-up approach and think of ways to resolve it. Sometimes, I have also involved people around me, as many times they bring in different perspective to the problem.
Once you transform obstacles into opportunities you emerge out stronger, positive, and become a solution-oriented person.
Q. Tech industry is dominated by male leaders. How women can excel, assume leadership roles, and make a mark for themselves?
If you are passionate about your work, you can excel in anything you do. The secret sauce to success is a blend of passion and dedication. If women are passionate about their work, they can reach to any kind of leadership role. If we have more women role models, it will break the stereotype of dominance of male leaders in the tech industry.
However, workplaces are becoming more diverse and inclusive and organisations are trying to build the gender gap at leadership positions. More the number of females at leadership positions, the company policies will become more accommodating towards the need of women which will provide them the right kind of leverage considering multiple responsibilities they juggle at home in addition to those in the office.
Q. How can we create a culture of inclusiveness and diversity at a workplace?
To create a diverse and inclusive culture, we need to believe in the philosophy of diversity and inclusiveness. We should respect and celebrate differences in age, gender, background, and experience. The diverse workplace helps us in getting different and fresh perspectives, better teamwork, and different types of problem-solving techniques. It also helps the team to take a balanced approach in handling various situations in current hyper competitive environment.
At workplace, we should educate our people and spread awareness so that everyone understands its importance and creates a healthy work environment. The benefits of diversity and inclusiveness should be percolated amongst people through various capacity building campaigns via various channels such as digital media, print media, and through people-to-people interactions.
Also, another factor that is instrumental in creating a diverse and inclusive team is to have a set target for each year. This goal will help us in building an equilibrium and create a meaningful and diverse ecosystem.
Q. Any interesting anecdote that you would like to share that has inspired or kept you motivated in your career?
I have had a long career and have seen ups and downs in my professional journey. There have been many instances where the situation was tough and unclear, and I was in a desperate position to make things work. The story of David and Goliath has always inspired me in such situations. David was a small boy in the eyes of Goliath but he had the courage, conviction, and that he will be able to overcome Goliath. With the same conviction and quick action, he was able to win the battle. This has always inspired to stay motivated and remain calm and fearless while taking the right decisions to move further in my career and achieve goals.
Q. Which is the one-woman personality you admire the most and why? Your message to the aspiring Women Leaders?
I have been lucky to have met a lot of inspiring people in my personal and professional lives. But one person who stands tallest amongst all has been my Mother. She is a science teacher in a government school and has worked tirelessly and selflessly for so many years. She has tremendous respect for her job and worked extremely hard to ensure her students pass exams with flying colors.
As there were no target or rewards prevalent in those days, she had set her own targets to get more students pass on her subjects. She has always worked to devise innovative ways, such as giving rewards and constructing frameworks to encourage students so that they are motivated to work hard. Even today, I meet a lot of her students or parents who tell anecdotes about my mother’s passion for teaching which has helped shape life of so many kids including those from underprivileged background.
My message to all aspiring women leaders is that passion and respect for your work is key ingredient for success for a sustained period of time. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. It is critical to have above attributes to complete the marathon successfully. We operate in a very competitive and uncertain environment and without passion, it will be very difficult to sustain as we women do the difficult task of juggling between personal and professional responsibilities.
“The secret sauce to success is a blend of passion and dedication. If women are passionate about their work, they can reach to any kind of leadership role. If we have more women role models, it will break the stereotype of dominance of male leaders in the tech industry.”