Carmina Lees is a Managing Director at Accenture within Financial Services. Here she reflects on some of her career learnings and on some of the ways that women at earlier stages of their careers can build for the future.
Prior to joining Accenture, Carmina Lees spent 19 years at IBM in various client facing roles, leading businesses such as Insurance, Capital Markets and Technology Services. For the last four years of her IBM career she was the Vice President of the Cyber Security Business for UK & Ireland.
Since joining Accenture Carmina has led the Technology Consulting and Advisory Practice for Financial Services. The focus areas have been helping our C-suite clients articulate, plan and implement their transformational agendas.
Carmina is passionate about technology and has always been an active supporter and ambassador for promoting the presence of women in IT, talking on panels externally and at schools. Carmina led the Inclusion and Diversity agenda for Accenture Security globally and set up a Women's security Program across Europe to help retain, attract more women into the security field.
Why do you support Computing's Women in Tech Excellence Campaign?
I think it's important to recognise women from the Tech industry, and showcase role models for the future who are looking to build a career in the Technology industry.
How did you get into IT industry?
I did work experience for a large US Tech company when I was at school, I worked with some incredible women and it gave me a great insight in how Technology has a huge impact and how it can make a difference.
What do you think is the main reason why the IT Industry is mainly male, especially in technical roles and senior positions?
I'm seeing more and more women in the industry, however it is still male dominated. I think we need to do more from a young age and focus on more girls taking STEM subjects at a young school age, and educating them on the great careers you can have in this space. We need more senior women to support and do their bit to help with growing our future talent. Campaigns like this help!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
Be confident and learn to say no, it can be very powerful. Treat people how you expect to be treated, be kind and support others.
What are your three top tips for women looking to start a career in IT?
Firstly, meet as many people in the field as you can, understand what they do and what their role entails. Secondly, build and make time for your network, it will be critical as you progress your career. Finally, find a mentor!
What advice would you give to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?
Be confident, step out of your comfort zone and go for it. Women make great leaders so build a strong team and be open and honest as a leader.