Feeling represented in your career does matter
Looking at the present, where I sit on a female-led team with male and female coworkers alike who support me in my career, I can’t help but feel a little too lucky, because I know the same isn’t always true for my gal pals who also went down the computer science path. Away from TomTom, I too have experienced things like microaggressions that can sour an otherwise dynamic work environment. For now, however, I want to focus on the all the positive things that can happen down the road.
I feel proud and represented working on a team of people primarily made up of women from many different backgrounds and fields of interest, led by a female manager who helped us all come together – by hiring our team from her own strong ideas and vision. I don’t have to worry about fair competition or continually confronting the glass ceiling day-to-day in my role, because I know there’s all that combined experience behind the decision-making, and that’s an amazing thing.
TomTom’s initiatives in tackling gender diversity
I've shared a bit about my experience, and now I'm going to share some key objectives and initiatives that TomTom is carrying out, some of which can help us bring that desired gender diversity in our tech-driven world.
Recently, while planning the company’s objectives for the coming year, TomTom outlined the long-term plan to find more women that fit the roles we have available, ensuring that we have at least one female candidate per open role and per managerial role. We also want our female TomTom’ers to develop and see potential in the long-term within the company, so that we can start to build a community of women within our company and the tech industry. Finally, we want our TomTom’ers to feel our commitment to diversity as something more than a quota – we want women and other minorities to feel represented, not just considered.
Everything we’re working towards in relation to Diversity & Inclusion comes back to TomTom’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which asks for “lifelong learning opportunities for all.” TomTom’s keenness to improve representation is a big part of building towards this, as we can provide the solution for those who are willing to learn in our field. But specifically tying into this article is SDG 4’s other request, for “inclusive and equitable quality education”. Education is the root of the problem and it needs to accommodate all, so we can build diverse teams in TomTom and beyond that reflect the world we live in. This is where initiatives and courses such as Codam come in.
Codam is an organization close to our hearts as our co-founder and CMO, Corinne Vigreux, founded it in 2018 as a way to maximize young people’s potential and social mobility.It’s a tuition-free, 24/7 course that teaches students how to code and program from the ground up – no experience needed. The significance of this is that, with those women who even just share an interest, will feel enabled to join Codam and make a career out of that interest. The career opportunities are vast, introducing opportunities within AI, data analysis and more. They’ll also enter a community of like-minded people, something I think is incredibly key to more women feeling confident about joining tech.
My advice to women who are interested in, or already working in tech but are struggling to find a place where they can feel comfortable expressing themselves and growing their skills – don’t stop seeking out your community, even if you need to find it outside of work. Take the time to find areas where you connect with other women and get inspired by their ideas. It’s amazing to see companies such as TomTom being open about creating and supporting these areas, and soon, you might just find an opportunity at one which speaks to you.
I know that from the experiences I’ve shared, I’ve been one of the lucky women in tech, but I strongly believe that for all the very real struggles that surround working in this field, there are still opportunities to show how many wonderful people there are out there to learn from, work alongside and make lasting friends with. And from that, I believe that shining light on those communities, initiatives and goals for the future can make all the difference.