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Women In Automation – The True Strategic Gamechangers

Women In Automation – The True Strategic Gamechangers

15 Jul, 2021

Women in leadership positions have helped transform the scope of Automation across all spheres and drive tangible outcomes for businesses. Organizations that focus on having gender diversity across all levels and job roles – especially in the executive teams – are significantly better positioned, with 70% or more being well-equipped to capture new markets. Some of the immediate benefits of a diverse workplace include building stronger strategic muscle, broadened contexts, diverse thought processes, and ideas, to name a few

At the recently concluded Zinnov CXO Automation Conclave 2021, we sat down with the leading women in technology — Kathleen Delaney, Chief Marketing Officer, Kofax; Nellie Thompson, Chief People Officer, Nintex; Mary Tetlow, Chief Brand Officer, UiPath; Nancy Hauge, Chief Human Resources Officer, Automation Anywhere; and Aarti Swamy, Executive Director, App & Infra Modernization Program Manager, JPM Chase; with Nitika Goel, Chief Marketing Officer, Zinnov moderating the panel, to discuss their journeys and experiences, explore the key challenges they faced in their careers,  and listen to their perspectives on the future of women leaders within Automation.

Here are some key insights from the discussion:

Women in automation

Nitika: What are the conscious choices and serendipitous accidents that led you to be in a leadership role in a nascent technology, and that helped you in leading the charge in the Automation field?

Choosing a field where your real interest lies is of paramount importance. From a broader corporate perspective, most people within the technology industry are engineers, developers, or technologists. These professionals need to understand the value proposition in a way that helps in achieving the company’s goals and objectives. Some progressive companies are taking the lead – looking for female board members in new places and bringing them on board in newer ways. However, there is still a long way to go for the ones that are lagging and want to better understand how to make change happen.

“Creating a tribe or allyship to push the gender narrative in Automation is extremely important.”

Mary Tetlow, Chief Brand Officer, UiPath

“Saying ‘YES’ to life, taking micro risks, escaping the self-doubt route, being persistent in terms of learning, and changing your roles more often puts you in charge of what you would like to achieve in the long run.”

Aarti Swamy, Executive Director, App & Infra Modernization Program Manager, JPM Chase

Nitika: What are the top impediments/hurdles that women in Automation technology face today?

Today, thousands of well-educated women are taking up tech jobs to put their acquired skills to use. There are still invisible barriers and glass ceilings that discourage women from studying STEM fields at the university level. This hinders professional equality between men and women in this industry.

As per industry statistics, we only have 10% of women in senior leadership positions across organizations. This reflects the beliefs of the men in these teams who seem to think women are adequately represented.. Corporates must be more conscious, more deliberate in all their efforts and decision-making in order to make a real difference.

“We need to look across the board to build strong muscle in corporations. I believe that partnering with the Human Resources team could prove to be a transformative disruptor in any organization – it’s crucial to steer the need to have a diverse leadership platform, across the company and the board.”

Kathleen Delaney, Chief Marketing Officer, Kofax

“Acknowledging gender diversity is supremely important. Women should be hired for potential vs. demonstrated experience.”

Nellie Thompson, Chief People Officer, Nintex

“The new technology world is a non-linear world. However, women have the tendency to live linear lives based on calendars generated by other people that force linearity. We need to figure out how to self-select, while making career choices and tackle non-linearity.”

Nancy Hauge, Chief Human Resources Officer, Automation Anywhere

Nitika: #TheOnlyOne – How does being the only woman leader in any business conversation influence your thinking?

Women are underrepresented in leadership roles. Only about 15% of Fortune 500 board members are women, which is a conspicuously low figure. Women can often get a seat at the table based on their performance and advocacy within the company, regardless of the corporate culture. However, to effectively impact the discussion, you need to know the values and hierarchy of the corporate environment you are working in, as you bring the authenticity of voice. Speaking to trusted advocates, learning by asking questions, and listening to various leaders’ perspectives can be a great place to start.

“I am conscious of some facts such as what I speak, how I speak, particularly in a broader group. It must be normal being the only one for it to be productive. How to influence and instil change across the employees in an organization? We did it using several tools, for instance, challenging my peers to do the same task.”

Kathleen Delaney, Chief Marketing Officer, Kofax

“Tone from immediate management is also important. We need more gender champions focusing and driving the Diversity & Inclusion charter across the organization.”

Aarti Swamy, Executive Director, App & Infra Modernization Program Manager, JPM Chase

“Genuine commitment from the senior leadership for D&I is a must. Confidence is the secret ingredient to success at anything. Men have unearned, unwarranted confidence, whereas women still indulge in impostor syndrome.”

Mary Tetlow, Chief Brand Officer, UiPath

Nitika: What are your thoughts on eliminating biases?

No matter how much we might not want to admit, unconscious biases influence a vast majority of our decisions. If not kept in check, organizations and employees that power them might let bias influence their decisions in a way that holds them back. To avoid this, companies around the world are turning to technology in a bid to strengthen the diversity of their workforce and ensure that they hire the best individuals for their business.

“Using Automation, especially for processes that are ripe for bias, is critical. Young women today, have to come to work as more integrated personalities. The shift is there – women coming out as more authentic, more strategic than men.”

Nancy Hauge, Chief Human Resources Officer, Automation Anywhere

With the hyper-focus being on women in leadership, gender diversity, and gender equality today, it is important to delve deeper into the factors that help organizations create inclusive, empathetic, and diverse workplaces. Leaders need to spearhead change, motivate their workforce, and develop a new working environment. Making a strategic move at the earliest will help organizations enjoy long-term success.

To craft an authentic yet customized Inclusion & Diversity strategy, reach out to us at

  • Diversity at workplace
  • Hyper Intelligent Automation
  • Inclusion and Diversity
  • Women in Technology
Nitika Goel, Chief Marketing Officer, Zinnov
Anudeep Gill, Consultant, Zinnov

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