For this week's Tech Talent Tuesday we had the opportunity to interview Bobbie Carlton, founder of Carlton PR & Marketing and Innovation Women. Carlton has a long career in the tech industry, working as Head of Global PR at two different enterprise software companies. She is passionate about helping technical and entrepreneurial women get more visibility and take their careers where they want to be.
It was a pleasure to hear from such an inspiring and influential woman. Check out our interview below:
What is your mission?
Our mission is to get more women on stage (and more visibility) to support their careers and business success. Outcomes include pay equity, increasing funding for female-founded companies, and more women on boards and in the C-suite. But most importantly, we’re flipping a switch in everyone’s brain, allowing anyone to be seen and respected as a leader or an expert.
What made you start Innovation women?
Frankly? I got tired of attending conferences and events without women (and other under-represented groups) onstage. I felt my point of view wasn’t being represented. I talked with other women about it and many of them wanted to speak but didn’t know where to start. This is an area I knew a great deal about (many years placing executives at conferences and events.)
How does what you are doing affect women in Tech?
I started Innovation Women focusing on the needs of technical and entrepreneurial women, but we quickly expanded to include all professional women, and eventually other underrepresented groups. (Even some of the most technical conferences contain things like career and leadership tracks – they need speakers on a wide variety of topics.) The more technical women we see onstage, the more it becomes commonplace. When that happens, we, and the next generation, will begin to consider this the norm. Instead of being a rarity, women and other underrepresented groups can feel more comfortable “at home” in the tech sector.
How does it affect the companies?
With so many open positions, companies need to look beyond the usual suspects and the usual sources when it comes to hiring. They need to attract more diverse candidates. One way to do this is to highlight the existing diverse candidates. If we support a woman’s career and help her get ahead (and speaking at conferences is “getting ahead”), other women see this and consider the company a female-friendly organization. Cue the flow of resumes.
How can companies/Individuals be a part of this?
For companies? Support the creation of a pipeline of women speakers/spokespersons with presentation training and speaking opportunities. Support their growth and their careers earlier than you might usually do so. Conferences often see a dearth of women because they are not in the usual positions of “power”, but they can’t easily get there without a way to display their talents. (Catch-22.) Most conferences have a wide range of opportunities – from keynote to featured speakers to breakouts and panels. Even a conference attendee who asks a question of the speakers is building confidence…and speaking to the same audience the speakers spoke to.
For individuals? Look what speaking can do for you, your career, and the careers of your direct reports. Senior management should think about how they might share the stage. And for more junior folks. Get speaking. It’s the best thing you can do for your career
Thank you to Bobbie for giving up time to speak with us. Make sure you are following MCS to see our weekly Tech Talent blog alongside numerous job opportunities across several sectors!