The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Chantel Lillycrop, Director of Sales and Business Development, Bitcoin Well, a Canadian technology company that provides easy, safe, and secure ways to buy, sell, and use Bitcoin.
Name: Chantel Lillycrop
Job Title: Director of Sales and Business Development, Bitcoin Well
Years in the Industry: 4 Years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – (Eleanor Roosevelt)
What drew you to a career in the consumer and/or business technology industry?
I was working in an industry that had a limited appetite to modernize its policies and practices and it felt stagnant. I started to crave change and wanted to be a part of an industry that was consistently evolving, provided endless learning opportunities, and was making a positive impact on people’s lives.
My first opportunity to be a part of the tech industry was after being recruited to Robert Half Technology. Although they were not a “tech” company, they directly supported the Edmonton tech community, which gave me the opportunity to consult with local business leaders and have a better understanding of the industry as a whole.
When I had the opportunity to join Bitcoin Well, I did so because the company embodied everything I was originally looking for. It’s consistently evolving, provides endless learning opportunities, and directly makes a positive impact on people’s lives.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Unfortunately, yes I have. I’m thankful that Bitcoin Well has provided me with endless support and opportunities to grow my career and be involved in all aspects of the business. But being a woman in sales, I’ve been subjected to a number of roadblocks from prior prospects and clients. More often than not, I am the only female in the room, and depending on my audience, this has been received differently. I will never forget giving a presentation early in my career to a team of male executives and instead of them asking me questions, they chose not to direct them at me, but at my male colleague who was not the SME. This was extremely disheartening, but I wouldn’t change that experience because it has taught me how to confidently handle those situations myself, and how to teach other women how to take back control of the room when faced with similar scenarios.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
In my career, I have experienced many rewarding growth opportunities and influenced significant changes because I was bold, persistent, and had the confidence to ask or voice my opinion. I was taught from an early age that you don’t get what you want by waiting for it to happen to you. But this isn’t the case for all women or for all people in general. I hope that by bringing this perspective to Bitcoin Well, others will feel comfortable and confident embracing this mindset to help them grow their careers.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs in order to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
There are a lot of things the industry can do to attract more women such as creating more inclusive hiring practices, creating mentorship programs for women to help advance their careers, and creating a culture that promotes work/life balance. However, I don’t believe the onus is completely on the industry. Our society instills gender biases from a young age, and our education system supports those biases. We need to do a better job creating confident young women and promoting careers in technology early on.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
In my experience, I have found the industry to be welcoming and rewarding, but having a strong voice is imperative if you want to advance your career.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
There are so many women in the industry that inspire me! Lately, I have been fascinated with following and learning from the journeys of female founders, especially Whitney Wolf Herd. She is intelligent, brave, and not afraid of fighting for what is right.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you’d like to dispel?
To be successful as a woman in technology or business in general, you have to embody personality traits that are typically labeled as “male-centric”. Embrace your female characteristics and bring a different perspective to the table!
What’s one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I wish tech companies did a better job of dispelling the myth behind the veil and helping people understand that you don’t have to be a developer to be involved. Also, the industry needs to have more mentorship programs for women to help guide them through their careers.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Absolutely! It’s such an exciting time to be a part of the tech industry. There are so many companies that are making a difference and creating technology or providing services that are changing the world. For example, at Bitcoin Well, we’re changing the way society interacts with money and empowering people to take control of their wealth. The future looks bright!