08 Mar 2024

Women in Tech: Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s a moment to reflect on the strides we’ve made towards gender equality and the journey that still lies ahead. In the tech industry, where women’s representation is gradually improving but still has a long way to go, it’s crucial to recognise and celebrate the achievements and challenges of our female colleagues. Today we’re proud to showcase three remarkable women at Coeo who are thriving in their careers and are instrumental in fostering an equitable and inclusive environment. Join us as we speak to them about their career journeys, the challenges they’ve faced, the triumphs they’ve celebrated and their valuable contributions to making Coeo a place where diversity and innovation flourish.

Julie Phillips – Chief People Officer

Can you share a pivotal moment in your career journey that shaped who you are today? 

In 2020, I took a leap of faith from the comfort of a large team to single-handedly lead the HR department in a rapidly growing Coeo. As Coeo grew, so did I in confidence, accountability, responsibility, business acumen and leadership skills. Today I’m no longer working solo, thanks to the amazing team we’ve built. This journey of expansion, supported by those who believed in my vision for change, has profoundly shaped me. I’m grateful for following my instincts four years ago, leading to where I am today.

How do you think diversity and inclusion impact our workplace and can you share an example of how you’ve contributed to creating a more inclusive environment at Coeo? 

I firmly believe in the power of diversity to drive innovation, enhance problem-solving, and improve decision-making within our teams. The enthusiasm and commitment to diversity and inclusion (D&I) among our colleagues fill me with pride. D&I at Coeo is more than an HR initiative; it’s a company-wide commitment to enacting real change.

To support this mission and create a safe, healthy workplace, we’ve implemented policies that bolster our efforts toward Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB). Our Family Friendly Policies—covering IVF treatment, pregnancy loss, caregiving needs, and extended fully paid maternity and paternity leaves—reflect our commitment to inclusivity. Additionally, we’ve modernised our approach to include mental health, transgender rights, menopause, and flexible working policies, ensuring all new joiners are aligned with our values from day one.

Katie Munnery – Analyst

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I would still consider myself new in my career, but one of the biggest challenges I’ve experienced so far is getting too comfortable in a role which didn’t align with my ultimate career goals. Finding a job after university is a daunting task, so when you get a job, it is very easy to stick with that career path even if it’s not in your overall best interests. To get around this challenge, I had to keep reminding myself of what I was working towards and consistently put myself out there by applying for roles which better aligned with my ambitions. This led me to start my career here at Coeo.

What advice would you give to young women starting their careers today?

My best advice to anyone starting their career today is to look at what you enjoy and see how you can incorporate that into your job role. This thinking has played a massive role in my journey towards my current career. I’ve always enjoyed logic problems, numbers and business which led me to study Business Analytics at University. From there, based on the modules I found myself loving, I narrowed my focus to data analytics for my career search. My path was pretty clear, but don’t be afraid to try a bunch of different paths until you know what works best for you – grad schemes after university are a great way to do this! If you enjoy what you’re doing, you will always find motivation to develop further within your role and have a fun time while doing it!

Pooranya Varathanathan – Project Manager

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

One of the most significant hurdles I’ve encountered in my career has been grappling with imposter syndrome and the fear that comes from not knowing everything I thought I should. Being in environments filled with diverse experiences and backgrounds initially felt overwhelming. However, the turning point for me was learning to ask questions when unsure and creating a supportive space for personal development discussions, whether with my manager or peers, especially other women. This approach has helped me to overcome those fears and foster a sense of belonging and confidence.

What advice would you give to young women starting their careers today?

To young women starting their career journeys, my advice is to actively seek connections with other women, both within and outside of your organisation. It’s key to learn together, but equally important is valuing the perspectives of those different from you. Communities offer valuable opportunities for open discussions on professional and personal growth. Being part of these communities can boost your career path and help you grow personally, setting you up for success and fulfilment.

Reflecting on the conversations with Julie, Pooranya and Katie it is evident that the path to gender equality in the tech industry is paved with diverse experiences. We’re not just committed to celebrating these qualities on International Women’s Day but are dedicated to nurturing an environment that supports and elevates women every day. Our efforts towards diversity and inclusion are ongoing as we strive to build a workplace that mirrors the vibrant, multifaceted world we live in.