International Women’s Day 2023: Q&A with Luminance’s Women in Tech

8 March 2023 | Luminance

This week marks the 113th anniversary of International Women’s Day, an occasion to recognise and celebrate women's achievement both past and present.

At Luminance, we're proud to defy tech industry standards with a female-led executive team made up of inspiring women. To celebrate the day, we sat down with Luminance’s CEO, Eleanor Lightbody, Chief of Staff, Jaeger Glucina, US General Manager, Clementine Fox, Head of Product Specialists, Ella Hislop, and Commercial Director, Grace Haselden, to find out more about their experiences as women working in tech and to get their advice on how to break into the industry.

What is your top tip for women looking to start a career in tech?

Eleanor: My top tip for women looking to start a career in tech is to start asking questions early! This may seem intimidating, especially as a woman trying to enter a traditionally male-dominated field, but I believe that many graduates could start a highly successful career in tech by networking and leveraging connections. The tech industry is highly competitive and, as CEO, I love to see women seize any opportunity to showcase their skills and ambition in ways that simply aren’t possible in an online application.

Jaeger: If you don’t have any core tech skills, then look for where IT roles intersect with the subjects you’ve studied or the skills you’ve gained through work experience. It’s very easy to talk yourself out of opportunities due to the belief that you lack the technical know-how, but this shouldn’t be the case. The tech industry isn’t all about coding – there are so many other skills needed to bring a product to market and ensure it delivers value. I was a practising lawyer before joining Luminance and was fascinated by innovative AI but lacked technical expertise. This didn’t disadvantage me, as I had gained other skills relevant to a ‘tech-adjacent’ role. If you are adaptable and willing to work hard, coming from a non-tech background shouldn’t deter you.

Ella: Don’t be afraid to take risks! There can be a tendency for young people to see the first path they take as the one they have to stay on for the rest of their lives, which can be incredibly limiting. I started my career at Luminance in Sales but quickly realised my skillset and interests lay elsewhere in the business. Having an open and honest dialogue with my manager and other leaders in the company was crucial. If your current path doesn’t match your vision for the future, there is always space for change to find a role that both speaks to your strengths and interests.

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology?

Clementine: It may sound obvious, but if you want to really excel in your tech career, find a business or product that you are genuinely passionate about. The people who stand out in my team and across the business are those who have a genuine passion for Luminance’s AI, our people, and our vision. Bringing this enthusiasm and drive into work each and every day goes a long way in helping to achieve your longer-term goals.

Grace: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Regardless of what stage you are at in your career there is always more to learn, and having an open mind about what you can learn from others is so important for professional development. At Luminance, we hire lots of young, ambitious graduates who are hungry to learn and take on the challenges of working at a high-growth and fast-paced tech company. I love when my team of Account Executives actively ask for advice, whether about how to approach a commercial negotiation or a tricky technical request. That’s one of the most rewarding things about progressing in your career – you can act as a mentor for others.

What is one thing you would do to encourage more women into the tech sector?

Eleanor: Tech founders and CEOs have a responsibility to ensure that there aren’t any barriers to women accessing and progressing within the tech sector. I would like to see tech companies doing more to encourage career flexibility and support lateral movement. For instance, I started my career in Marketing before realising that I was far more interested in Sales. The opportunity to pivot early in my career ultimately put me on the path to becoming CEO.

Clementine: Visibility is so important in this industry, so we need to keep hearing from other women first-hand about their experiences of working in tech. There’s a lot of truth to the saying ‘if you can see it, you can be it’ and that goes for all types of roles across the industry. During my time at Luminance, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at university events about the various employment opportunities available in tech. If I think what these events looked like ten years ago, they were mostly filled by men. It's great to see so much more representation at these events, showing that gender does not define your potential or success.

Jaeger: I would advocate the real range of opportunities within the technology sector. There is a wealth of opportunity out there for women. When I look around the Luminance office, I see women working in everything from Sales, PR and Marketing to R&D, Graphic Design and back-end Support. Our industry is highly interdisciplinary, and we need to start showing that!

Ella: There are lots of misconceptions about the tech sector that we need to correct. For example, that you need coding skills to have a successful career. While this may be true for specific career paths, it certainly doesn’t represent the range of opportunity available. So many roles in the sector intersect with skills and academic subjects not directly related to tech or computing. For instance, a lot of my Product Specialists actually studied Humanities subjects, but their problem-solving skills and ability to clearly convey information means they excel in product-related roles.

Grace: There’s evidence to suggest that women are less likely to apply for roles if they don’t meet every single requirement of a job specification. I would encourage women to push past any self-doubt and really reflect on what they have learned throughout their university studies or career so far. This can make a huge difference when it comes to feeling more confident about your suitability for a role. Chances are, you have transferrable skills that are exactly what the employer is looking for!