By WiFi HiFi
The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Kate McCarthy, Vice President, Sales, Homedics Canada.
Name: Kate McCarthy
Job Title: Vice President, Sales, HoMedics Canada
Years in the Industry: 20
The Quote That Most Inspires You: “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” (Thomas J. Watson)
What drew you to a career in consumer electronics?
I fell upon the industry in 1998. I was provided an opportunity out of college to join Keating Technologies in Markham, ON. I became an eager learner in all things electronics, and I thrived in the fast pace. Keating was a great environment to learn from.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Yes of course. The CE industry has always been predominantly male. I did not let any roadblocks deter me from achieving my goals. In fact, these roadblocks have made me even stronger. It is nice to see that there is a dynamic shift nowadays. Business should never be about gender, but about competence and ability.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
It’s the soft skills that are not taught in business school that are the perfect complement to strong business acumen. Adaptability, humility, grace and sincerity go a very long way in business negotiations. It is not about the hard sell – it is about empathy and fully understanding the viewpoint on the other side of the table.
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?
This really relies on the individual – not the industry. Remove the gender stereotype and do not be intimidated and run from opportunities – drive towards them.
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?
I have had a great career and I have been provided a lot of wonderful opportunities for growth by all of my employers. This is a testament not only to my business savvy, but to my drive and determination for success. Don’t overthink it. Find a path and make your mark.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Yes I am. All industries go through peaks and valleys. It’s how you handle the tough times that set you apart from the competition. It is my opinion that the people in the consumer electronics sector, regardless of gender, are best in class when it comes to forward planning, defining trends, and retail execution. When you have the right people in place combined with the right product, success is inevitable, regardless of market conditions.