I was thrilled to be a part of the recent ICT summit, which took place at the Royal Ballroom and Banquet Hall of Torarica on May 18 and 19, 2023. The event brought together a diverse group of experts from various fields who shared their knowledge and insights on different panels. As a board member of the ICT Association, I had the honor of delivering the closing keynote on the first day, focusing on the incredible potential of women in the ICT industry.
During my keynote address, I took the opportunity to share my personal journey and experiences in ICT. I recounted my early days working at an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Trinidad and Tobago when I was just 17 years old. Immersed in the field, I eventually became an assistant trainer, teaching MS Office courses at the organization. However, despite my passion for ICT, I faced a lack of support to pursue further studies in the field. As a result, I took a detour and embarked on a nine-year career in retail. But fate had something special in store for me during that time—I met someone who reignited my passion for ICT. This individual was a computer programmer, coder, and applications creator, and my future husband. Together, we founded Lybra Training, Coaching, and Consulting, combining our expertise in digital and people transformations.
During my keynote, I not only shared my personal story but also offered valuable insights and tips for supporting and empowering women in ICT. Here are some of the key points I discussed:
Supporting Women in ICT: Tips for Everyone
- Start with home support: Recognize that supporting women in ICT begins with belief and encouragement. Partners should share household responsibilities, provide support, and ask what women need to succeed.
- Foster flexibility: Cultivate flexible household schedules that accommodate the demands of a career in ICT. Encourage open discussions about career goals and aspirations within the home.
- Build networks and connections: Encourage the formation of strong networks and connections among women in ICT. By leveraging combined networks, women can gain valuable support, guidance, and opportunities.
- Promote continuous learning: Foster a culture of lifelong learning and professional development. Encourage women to seek new skills and stay updated with the latest developments in ICT.
- Celebrate achievements: Take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of women in ICT. Recognize their contributions and amplify their successes.
Tips for Employers: Creating an Inclusive ICT Workplace
- Foster inclusivity: Create an environment that embraces diversity, where everyone feels valued and respected. Encourage open dialogue and provide equal opportunities for growth and advancement.
- Provide training and professional development: Invest in training programs and initiatives that support the professional growth of women in ICT. Offer opportunities for skill development, mentorship, and leadership training.
- Challenge biases and stereotypes: Actively challenge and combat gender biases and stereotypes within the workplace. Promote a culture of fairness and equality, where everyone is evaluated based on their merits and capabilities.
- Encourage women entrepreneurs: Support and encourage women in ICT to pursue entrepreneurship. Provide resources, mentorship, and networks to help them succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
- Host women-focused events: Organize events and initiatives specifically tailored to women in ICT. These gatherings can provide networking opportunities, professional development workshops, and platforms for knowledge sharing.
Tips for Women in ICT: Empowering Individual Growth
- Shift your beliefs: Believe in your abilities and the possibilities that lie ahead. Challenge self-limiting beliefs and embrace a mindset of growth and possibility.
- Find your support network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who believe in your potential and can provide guidance and encouragement along your journey.
- Invest in your skills: Continuously invest in your skills and knowledge. Seek out certifications, and advanced training in your field.
- Showcase your accomplishments: Create social proof of your achievements. Share tangible examples of your skills and successes, such as projects, success stories, and positive outcomes. Encourage others to advocate for your abilities and let their voices contribute to your professional reputation.
- Prioritize a healthy work environment: Recognize the importance of a positive and supportive workplace. If you find yourself in a toxic or unsupportive environment that hinders your growth and well-being, consider exploring other opportunities that align with your values and goals.
- Support fellow women: Lift others as you rise. Extend support and mentorship to fellow women in ICT. Share knowledge, provide guidance, and help create a supportive network of women empowering each other.
- Embrace your worth: Know that you belong in the world of ICT. Recognize that your skills, perspectives, and contributions are valuable and needed. Believe in yourself and the unique perspective you bring to the field.
Below is a short teaser of this session:
The ICT summit served as a powerful catalyst for change, bringing together experts and enthusiasts to champion the cause of gender equality in the industry. By implementing the suggested strategies and embracing an inclusive mindset, we can create a future where women in ICT unlock their full potential, paving the way for innovation, progress, and a more balanced and diverse industry.
Let us continue to celebrate the achievements of women in ICT, provide them with the support they deserve, and work collectively to build a more inclusive and equitable future for all. Together, we can make a difference and create a world where women thrive in the exciting and ever-evolving field of ICT.