What are the challenges to being a female leader in tech, and how can starters learn from leaders to be successful in their careers? We wanted to hear from women in technology, specifically on the topics of diversity in the workplace, work-life balance, and mentoring. In this interview, we speak to Susan Gittings: leader, consultant and mother.
Can you share a little about what you do at inlumi and what philosophy drives you to deliver the best every day?
As an Executive Principal for inlumi, I am part of the UK leadership team. My role includes business development, practice management, team leadership and mentorship and finally, my client-facing, project delivery focus area. At inlumi, we help our clients to utilise technology to transform how they report and monitor the performance of their business and how they can exploit data to give them the insights they need to steer their business.
Innovation drives me. I believe that everything that we do can be improved upon the next time around by constantly applying what we have learnt along the way. I fear stagnation and the thought that any status quo is forever!
How have you managed to juggle a career and family life, and do you have any advice to other young women looking to do the same?
First off, I absolutely get the point of this question in the spirit of the interview and I am more than happy to share my experience and my views. But we need to reflect on why none of my male colleagues would ever have been asked this question in their careers. My hope is not that we stop asking this question, but instead that one day it will be asked of all working parents, regardless of gender.
But, to your question.
I often think back to when I first became a “Working Mom” and I remember just how tough it was. For me, it was not tough because of a lack of support. On the contrary, my husband and I have always had a mutual respect for each other’s ambitions and careers, which means we have always shared our childcare responsibilities.
Instead, for me, it was tough because of the inner struggle I was dealing with. I felt guilty for wanting a career when “society” told me I should be at home raising my children. I felt guilty for loving my family and my career. It was made so much worse by being in a male-dominated industry where the lack of female colleagues made me really question whether I was doing the right thing.
But that was some time ago now. I remember having an absolute epiphany when I read two books, the first being Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and the second being Tilt: 7 Solutions to be a Guilt-Free Working Mom by Marci Fair. Those books gave me the reassurance that I was not “wrong” or “greedy” for wanting both, and they helped me realise that I could be true to myself. So, I dropped the guilt and I stopped being apologetic for pursuing my career.
Does this mean it is always easy? Absolutely not, especially in this last year of on-and-off home-schooling and lockdown. There are of course times when life is too busy and when the “juggle is real”. For me though, it’s worth it. I am fulfilled by my family and by my career, and I am committed to making them co-exist.
My advice to young women is to know what you want.
Read the full article in our newly launched Enabling Decisions magazine! Enabling Decisions is a biannual magazine by inlumi Research Hub (iRH), a team of boots-on-the-ground consultants who are curious and intrigued by what they observe in the world. Click below to read the magazine, freely available to all: