I attended the Canadian CIO Peer Forum for the past two days. The discussions were valuable and the people – both speakers and participants – were amazing.
Presentations covered a wide range of topics including AI and analytics, networks and Integration of services, and workplace experience (WX). The speakers ranged from Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada to Zaynah Bhanji, a 15 year old (female) machine learning and virtual reality developer, and multiple technical specialists across the industry.
The overall messaging was invigorating about the potential in front of us. Technology is changing products and services, and more interestingly human experience. CIOs and technology teams are involved in business strategy and in some cases opening the dialogue on potential that is also driving options for the business strategy.
It is an incredible time to be a CIO and technology executive. And an exciting time for everyone participating in this journey!
The panel discussion on women in technology was also a huge hit with the audience resisting the need to end the session to stay on schedule. The men and women at the forum are passionate about creating, supporting, and retaining diverse teams. And thankfully, going that one step further to ensure the team members feel included and heard and valued. For if we believe the diverse team brings stronger outcomes through the different background and perspectives and thought processes, the only way to leverage that power is to listen to it. Listen to the loud and the quiet, listen to the ideas boldly and calmly presented, and then stop and think to let the messages actually be heard.
I could quote so many messages, but I’ll just pick this one.
“We need to activate the women on the team”.
Think about it – activate: to energize. It’s not enough to hire a diverse team. Listen to them, support them, and energize them.