Integral, Intrinsic & Inspirational – Meet the Women at ECS

Eloisa Tovee 8th March 2021

The tech industry is constantly under scrutiny for its diversity. 

And it’s not hard to see why. 

Women make up nearly half (46.9%) of the total workforce, and yet, as of 2018, women held only 25% of all jobs within the tech industry. What’s most interesting is that more women worked in tech in the 1980s than they do today, suggesting a change in dynamics somewhere in those 40 years that has shielded the tech industry from benefitting from an influx of female talent.   

Research suggests that an absence of females in the industry starts all the way back at school, where girls are less likely to be encouraged to go into a STEM subject and less likely to pick up a STEM subject at university as a result. Up until recently, it also wasn’t uncommon for female contributions in STEM subjects to be written out of history books, replaced with the names of male colleagues or played down – meaning far less female role models to look up to.   

There is also the long-held belief that to work in technology you must be a “techie” – whether that’s a superstar coder or generic computer whizz. This false truth might be creating an unnecessary barrier to those considering future career options, closing a chapter before there was ever an opportunity for it to be explored.    

The good news is, the more we raise awareness, encourage conversations and look beyond the numbers to find the true source of the problems, the closer we get to closing gaps that have hindered employment opportunities, wages, leadership opportunities, perception at the workplace, and so on. 

In the words of Samer Naqvi:  

I wouldn’t say my career was affected much by the fact that I am a woman, but there certainly were a lot of situations where I was the only woman in the room. Things are moving in the right direction though; I can easily say that now there are plenty of women working in IT, but it can and will get even better”  

Whilst women make up less numbers, the talent, resourcefulness, determination and ideas they bring to the industry can’t be disputed. In fact, at ECS, we see their value in every part of the business. They are integral, intrinsic and an inspiration to the culture and innovation at ECS. 

Collectively, women help form the backbone of ECS, with unique areas of expertise that touch each and every corner of the business. Over the last month we reached out to all these corners, asking female colleagues to share their stories and put a spotlight on the roles they have and how they help support ECS and contribute to the wider tech industry 

Here is just a sample from a much bigger sea of talent 

Ashley Strachan  

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Ashley Strachan, I live in Scotland and I am based in the Glasgow head office every day (when things are normal).  

More about how my role supports ECS

I was promoted to Senior HR & Immigration Advisor in January this year. I’ve been at ECS since inception, so around 13 years now!   

How my role supports ECS

I advise on immigration matters for the business, which consists of looking after our highly skilled sponsored individuals and ensuring that we are compliant with the Home Office’s ever-changing legislation.  Brexit, for example!  I oversee the Pre-Employment Screening side of the business, helping to ensure that we screen our existing and prospective employees and Associates to required Client standards.  I am a wellbeing champion for ECS and a qualified Mental Health First Aider.  I advise employees and managers on matters of policy, procedure and employment law.  

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Nicola Karran  

Who am I?

Hi, I aNicola Karran and I am based in the Scotland office.   

My role at ECS

My primary role as Risk & Compliance Manager is the management of all contractual agreements from the initial stage of review and negotiation through to sign-off and monitoring of in-flight obligations. 

How my role supports ECS

My role supports a wide range of business areas as well as operational initiatives such as the application of GDPR and IR35 reforms. The function is fast paced and high pressured, with no two days the same but I have had a number of success stories and achievements during my years at ECS resultant from hard work and dedication to the role. 

 Find me on LinkedIn 

 

Samer Naqvi 

Who am I?

Hi there, I am Samer Naqvi and I have been in the software industry for 15+ years.  

My role at ECS

I joined ECS in the start of 2018, as a DevOps consultant. Currently I am working as a Test Lead in a BP engagement via ECS and have also represented ECS at various events as a keynote speaker.  

How my role supports ECS

As well as supporting in a QA capacity, I have stepped out of my comfort zone to represent ECS at different industry events – including the Women of Silicon Roundabout in 2019.

I have focused on how I can become a stronger leader for my team and challenge myself in my role. My most satisfying achievements are the ones that were outside of my comfort zone, obvious to me is public speaking. It’s been two years since I stepped in this domain and it definitely wasn’t easy at the start. I have now spoken at a number of technical conferences, company events, colleges and every instance teaches me something new. Public speaking has helped me tremendously in becoming a confident leader and pushed me to grow professionally and personally. 

 Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Martina Srdoc 

Who am I?

Hi, my name is Martina and I am an Agile Coach at ECS. 

My role at ECS

As an Agile Coach, I am focusing extensively on better ways of working internally and across the projects.  

How my role supports ECS

My passion is to motivate, inspire and empower people to do the best job they can. I treat everyone how I would like to be treated by accepting and supporting individuals and teams for who they really are without any judgement which is core to build trusting relationships and help people grow. Curiosity and creativity enable me to facilitate, teach mentor and coach people from various parts of the business. 

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Jillian Ellis   

Who am I?

Hello! My name is Jillian and I’m from Queens, NY. I spent the first part of my professional career as a high school math teacher and after moving to London almost 2 years ago, I switched careers to get into tech. 

My role at ECS

I started at ECS as a member of the Training Academy and have since graduated after an intensive 3 months. I’ve since joined the AWS Guild and the iDEA team within ECS, helping to contribute my unique perspective to both groups.  

More about my role

In the Guild, we are currently revamping the labs for the Cloudbasics course that I recently took in the Academy. My experience as a teacher has helped offer light to the different ways of learning and hopefully will help future Academy members to enjoy the material. I’m also excited to be a part of iDEA. As a women, the child of immigrant parents and a person with a neurodiversity, I am glad to bring focus to not only each minority group I am a part of, but to highlight the imperativeness of intersectionality and how important it is to recognise the different voices that have been quietened for far too long. 

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Gemma Simmons 

Who am I?

Hi there, I’m Gemma Simmons, I work within the talent team at ECS, based in the London office 

My role at ECS

I work as a Talent Acquisition Specialist, identifying and attracting top talent to join us here at ECS.  

 More about my role

I feel passionately about helping ECS to attract and retain a diverse and happy team. The most enjoyable part of my job is offering an opportunity to someone who I can tell is going to be a great fit for us and watching them go on to achieve brilliant things.    

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Charlotte Levin  

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Charlotte Levin. started at ECS about two years ago and lead one of our greenfield engagement Pod. 

My role at ECS

The projects I work on primarily focus around tools that help automate infrastructure management and procurement. Each engagement is anchored in technology and promoting a mindset of continuously improving the work delivered. Curiosity drives us, from finding detailed solutions and exploring new tools to understanding each other and looking at the bigger picture. Sharing that curiosity is for me the core of my role. 

How my role supports ECS

In my role, I get to help shape and direct the solutions we’re developing for our engagements based on commercial needs and working closely with the team and client to deliver it. Both as a Pod lead and in other ECS colleagues, I really revel in being the discussion partner for design decisions at a technical and usability level. 

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Iramnaz Shaikh 

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Iramnaz and I’m the Senior Office Administrator at ECS Pune, India. 

My role at ECS

have been part of ECS for the last 7 years now. I am responsible for the overall facility of the Pune officeI consider myself as an important part of the operations team and make sure I am one single point of contact for any queries that employees have. 

 How my role supports ECS

I make sure my daytoday activities make our office a better place to work and I arrange lot of employee engagement activities to make the office a happier place and help bind the team as one group. I make sure I am the most approachable person in the office as per my team!

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

 

Natasha Silver  

Who am I?

My name is Natasha Silver, and I’m the Talent Development Manager at ECS. 

My role at ECS

My role consists of two parts: managing our ECS Training Academy programme and developing training interventions for existing employees.  

How my role supports ECS

In my position, I’m able to create collaborative learning experiences and deliver projects which enable others to reach their potential. Since starting at ECS, I’ve had so many opportunities to impact employees’ development, and I feel very fortunate to be part of a company that provides opportunity and nurtures talent.  

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Gillian Holmes  

Who am I?

Hi, I am Gillian Holmes  

My role at ECS

Acting with integrity and ensuring everyone is treated fairly is core to me in my role as HR Director, manager and colleague. From the early days in my career, my experiences have shaped who I am and what I believe in and applying the learning from past success and where things have not gone so well, is pivotal to doing the best I can.  

How my role supports ECS

I honestly believe that everyone comes to work to do the best job they can and if I can help them achieve this by offering support, guidance or just acting as a sounding board, then I will always make time. No matter our background, we all have a part to play and value to add in all that we do, both in work and outside work...let’s enjoy the journey and have a few laughs along the way! 

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Jacqueline Catlin 

Who am I?

My name is Jacqueline Catlin and I am a consultant at ECS within the Cloud Practice. 

My role at ECS

My role takes me in many directions depending on the ask from the client. In one project I could be working on consultations for the design of AWS architecture, in another project I could be a devops team member working in Java or Python. 

How my role supports ECS

I feel I best support ECS with my adaptability in my role as they have given me the opportunities to grow my skill set and bring value to the company and to our clients. 

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Leeon Fleming  

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Leeon Fleming, I’m a Client Director at ECS 

My role at ECS

For me, being a Client Director is all about people. I’m passionate about meeting our clients and finding out about our shared interests, their challenges and their vision. 

How my role supports ECS

am lucky to work in an organisation where I get to introduce the industry’s best, brightest and most driven people to our clients. Collectively we solve problems and make technology work for everyone.  I couldn’t wish for a better job.  

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Lucia Gore   

Who am I?

My name is Lucia Gore and I work as a UX designer day-to-day. I have been working on client site projects quite consistently in this role since I finished my training in UX design last summer. 

My role at ECS

As a team, we work in an agile format, incorporating our work into sprints with daily stand ups and regular meetings with stakeholders, clients and team members. I love to create intuitive designs that are empathetic towards the end users and customers. This helps to breathe life into the project and I really enjoy the human element of my role – speaking to customers and trying to decipher their needs and pain points to help create a more positive user experience and make their lives easier.  

The creative side is also hugely rewarding for me and trying to use my analytical experience to put together well thought out prototypes and wireframes that address the issues uncovered in research is very rewarding.  

How my role supports ECS

For those I work alongside, I think I bring a unique perspective, which I have learnt both from my training in UX design, but also my experience as a developer, QA consultant and my previous career in sales.   

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

Eloisa Tovee  

Who am I?

Hello, I’m Ely, Content and Marketing Manager at ECS and author of this feature piece.  

My role at ECS

Marketing is both an art and a science and as Content Manager, I make sure the creative lines up with the strategy. This applies to all areas of the business, including events, sales support, recruitment, partners, internal communications and everything in between!  

 How my role supports ECS

At the beginning of each year, the business maps out its key objectives for the twelve months ahead. Marketing then works with relevant stakeholders to map out strategic and tactical activity that directly support business objectives. This activity helps build sales pipeline, attract and retain talent, strengthen partner relationships and create brand awareness in the industry. We also get involved in internal initiatives such as charity fundraisers, award evenings and Christmas campaigns. These projects are super rewarding and gives us the opportunity to flex our creativity arm for the benefit of the ECS team – such as creating an army of cartoons in aid of International Women’s Day 

Find me on LinkedIn.

 

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Closing thoughts  

As the world becomes increasingly digitalised, tech specialists are in high demand to help support new start-ups and SMEs and provide vital in-house functions for larger firms. As well as technical calibre, organisations need a broader ecosystem of talent to facilitate growth and business-wide activities – everything that makes the tech side of things possible!  

With such a growing need for skills that support the tech industries, prioritising diversity in recruitment is a sure way to expand the talent pool and improve innovative thinking within the organisation. Offering a more inclusive environment can also help attract and retain individuals from minority groups – without which, you starve your organisation of the talent, ideas and experiences that come from different backgrounds  

We hope you enjoyed meeting some of the ECS team and learning how each of their roles support our organisation in a unique way – all the way from HR, Compliance and Marketing to UX design, engineering and consultancy skills 

If you spot your role in the mix, or noticed a role we’re missing, let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear from you and get to learn more about how your role supports the tech industry. 

And most importantly, a very happy International Women’s Day.

 

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