My name is Merryl Macleod and I am Head of Operations at First Focus, where one of my roles is to ensure our own internal systems are optimised. This means I get to help people use technology better every day. I love using my skills and experience to make a difference in others’ lives and work experience.
I stumbled into my first IT role as a Trainee Micro Computer Assistant in Scotland, after back packing around the UK in the 1980’s. I’m an adventurous person and at the time IT wasn’t on my radar. The very small amount I studied at uni was boring and seemed detached from working with people. It also seemed like a career path not as accessible to women. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After 12 weeks of intensive training I was ready to embark on my IT career, a career that I have worked hard to grow and I am very proud of today. The basic training gave me a solid foundation in IT and since then I have held various roles in Scotland and Australia, including training, pre-sales, procurement, account and project management.
Yes, we need equality and a gender balanced work place, but we also need the perspective of woman in the design of IT products and the provision of services.
In 2016 I was the first woman to join the management team at First Focus, and in 2017 the first woman to join the Executive Team. I’m very excited that we now have 3 women on the Executive Team, and more woman than ever before fulfilling diverse roles within the business.
I firmly believe that we need more women working in IT. Yes, we need equality and a gender balanced work place, but we also need the perspective of woman in the design of IT products and the provision of services. There is no quick solution to improve the percentage of woman working in IT and we need to address this on multiple levels; enabling young girls to discover their IT skills, encouraging young woman to study IT through higher and further education and ensuring there are no obstacles to women entering the IT work force. I believe my role is to support and mentor the woman I work with at First Focus and engage with in the broader IT industry.