Woman in Tech of the Month: Kate Hanline

Celebrating Women in Tech is our series exploring the achievements of women who are breaking gender stereotypes to build technology-based careers. This month, we’re celebrating Kate Hanline, Partner Development Manager at Google Cloud. Kate works with a range of organisations to deliver Google Cloud Platform services and accelerate growth. In our interview, she reflects on her career in tech and shares advice for women as they progress through their own careers.

What attracted you to a career in technology and how has your journey been so far?

When I started looking for my first job, I didn’t have a technical background but was drawn to brands that I admired – ones where I would learn a lot about technology but also business more broadly. My first job in technology was a graduate scheme at Microsoft, not in a technical capacity, but what attracted me to the industry was its fast-paced nature. With that comes innovation, investment and growth, which is an exciting environment to be in. Technology can do amazing things for people and organisations, delivering great improvements and changes to the way people work. I love how varied my role is now, and that I’m part of a company that values a wide range of skills.

What diversity and inclusion initiatives are you involved in at Google?

I’ve been leading on our partner diversity, equity and inclusion plan, which has been growing so much that I’m now the co-lead of our partner and customer outreach. Our team looks at how we work with our partners in the diversity and inclusion space to extend the great things we already do at Google and build a strong community to learn from. It’s been great to be a part of the support networks at Google, whether that be the Women’s@ group or acting as an ally for the Ability Network to understand what more can be done to support other people.

What can be done to highlight the opportunities for a career in technology?

When I was younger, I had no idea about the possibilities involved in technology. It was only after university and looking out into the market that I was more interested. I want to encourage young girls to think more openly and understand what opportunities are out there for them in technology. It’s important to get into schools and inspire the next generation and help to broaden their horizons about what is possible. I want to emphasise that you don’t need deep technical skills to be involved in technology, the ability and interest to learn while being inquisitive is just as important, with many different skills needed for a variety of roles. I have two girls myself and I want to communicate to them that there’s not a certain role they should be fulfilling and help them see what’s possible.

What would be your advice to your younger self?

I’ve found later in my career that your network of other women is very important. There’s so much you can learn from others and gain from sharing your experiences, I would encourage myself to build a strong network of support. Mentorship is also key, I have found I used to downplay my achievements and be unsure whether to try new things, whether that be a promotion or a new role. Having a mentor and network gives you the confidence to push yourself out of your comfort zone and gain inspiration to grow. My advice would be to focus on what you do well, know your strengths and learn how to get that across to people.

What can be done to encourage more women to pursue a career in technology?

There must be more visible women leaders. Younger girls want to be able to picture themselves in successful women and to see what’s possible. There are some great organisations we’ve worked with, such as Girls in Science, that are raising awareness of careers in technology for STEM graduates as, too often, there’s a lot of uncertainty about what a role in technology entails. It’s down to us as an industry to share a lot more and work with these organisations to get the message out. But we can all make a difference in our own small way as well, within our families and networks, to inspire the next generation of tech talent.

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