Christine Theodore explains why she supports the Computing Women in Tech Excellence campaign, and gives advice to women at early stages of their tech careers.
Christine Theodore is the IT Director at Admiral, a FTSE 100 financial services company based in South Wales. Christine leads the technology teams partnering with the Customer, Data and Product areas to help shape and deliver their strategic agenda. Christine has over 20 years' global experience in IT leadership roles across a variety of sectors including media, healthcare and insurance. She enjoys building diverse teams and developing people and their capabilities.
Why do you support the Women in Excellence campaign?
I think it's important to highlight the accomplishments women are making in our sector, and inspire others by the variety of opportunities which exist in a tech career. We still have work to do to get equal representation and pay in our industry, so any initiatives and events which celebrate the success of women in IT are worthwhile.
How did you get into the IT industry?
Quite by chance! I had the opportunity to provide IT support in my first job and then continued down that path.
What do you think is the main reason why the IT industry is mainly male, especially in technical roles and senior positions?
There are still not enough girls and young women who continue with STEM subjects throughout school, so we end up with a disproportionately high male talent pool. When women who do have an interest in Tech and enter the industry, employers need to be sure to create an environment that is supportive, and not only allows for flexibility but encourages women to develop and have their voices heard.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
People are at the heart of everything we do, and it's important to build relationships everywhere.
What are your three top tips for women looking to start a career in IT?
Firstly, get to know the sector and don't let terminology be an issue, there are many roles you can find to have a career in IT.
Second, Find an ally, not just a mentor.
Third, keep asking questions.
What advice would you give to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?
There is a difference between being a manager and a leader; it's important to understand the difference and you'll likely have to do both during your career, in the same role. Understand your leadership style - both in terms of how you like to be led and other people's preferences. They won't always be the same, so learning to adjust how you lead is important.