Woman in Tech of the Month: Amy Mitchell
Woman in Tech of the Month is our series exploring the achievements of brilliant women who are building their technology-based careers. This month, we’re excited to have Amy as our WiT of the Month, who leads the Global Professional Services Practice at Leathwaite, the executive search firm.
In 2020, she won Advocate of the Year at the Women in Finance Awards, highlighting her efforts to achieve more female representation in senior levels and break down barriers to growth for women in financial services. In our interview, Amy told us about championing Girls Who Code initiatives, the lessons she’s learnt about gender diversity within the global workforce and achieving diverse representation at senior levels.
What are you up to at the moment?
At Leathwaite, I lead the Global Professional Services Practice and Wholesale Financial Services CIO practice, working with global consulting companies and large banking groups to place great people. I am passionate about inclusion and diversity and, on my search, I am always coming across brilliant women. My goal is to ensure that there is a clear pathway for talented women in technology, connecting clients with younger talent and challenging clients about their commitments to driving change.
Tells us about your work promoting Girls Who Code
Working in the US, I began providing career advice seminars for girls participating in initiatives run by Girls Who Code, a non-profit organisation that offers free summer programmes and after-school clubs for teen girls. I have been supporting their expansion in the UK, harnessing my network, emphasising to CIO clients the importance of investing in the next generation of talent and getting them to think more about the purpose of their women in technology groups. I want to challenge our clients on their commitment to driving change and moving the dial, so I encourage them to think about their communities and employee bases, and how they could use them to teach and inspire girls and create a long-term impact on gender diversity within the workforce.
What have you learnt about global attitudes towards diversity?
The most important thing I have learnt from my time in the US and Asia is that diversity means different things to different people and comes with many nuances. Big organisations must take an overarching view but cannot forget to accommodate and recognise the subtle differences between people. I was surprised when coming back to work in the UK that clients were only speaking about diversity in terms of gender and could be uncomfortable talking about the implicated challenges of equal representation of race and disability. Technology is universal and vital to businesses, I have learnt to challenge the status quo and prioritise inclusivity to find the best in class leaders.
Why is it important that companies lead with inclusivity?
Leading with inclusion means running inclusive processes and driving an inclusive culture, which ultimately creates a diverse shortlist. In turn, this can bring the cognitive balance that leadership teams are looking for to tackle strategic challenges, such as sustainability and how to drive innovation. We are striving to optimise our client’s performance, which a dynamic leadership team will enhance.
The focus on inclusivity must not stop after the recruitment process but continue through, with structures and tools in place for candidates to become the best leaders they can be and support successful onboarding. Often, this is missing. This not only risks sending a bad message into the market but has the potential to make others wary of joining. To combat this, it is vital to show empathy towards each individual candidate and support their journey through the whole recruitment process, setting them up for success.
If you’d like to nominate someone for the next WiT of the Month and help us celebrate female technical talent, drop us an email explaining why you’re nominating them email@example.com