By WiFi HiFi
The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Lisa McManus, Retail Marketing and Sales Account Manager, Intel Canada
Name: Lisa McManus
Job Title: Retail Marketing and Sales Account Manager, Intel Canada
Years in the Industry: 29
The Quote That Most Inspires You: “Women don’t take enough risks. Men are just foot on the gas pedal. We’re not going to close the achievement gap until we close the ambition gap.” – (Sheryl Sandberg)
What drew you to a career in technology?
I began working at Hewlett-Packard as a summer student in university. At that time, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were still alive, which made it an incredibly special place to work. I loved the HP Way, the employees, and the products, so I wanted to stay in the technology industry to further learn and grow my experience.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
I have been very lucky. When I started my career at Hewlett-Packard Canada, there was a diversity program in place even all those years ago. Management was always very supportive and, coming into the industry with that support, it never even dawned on me that I could potentially be at a disadvantage because of my gender. Over the years, it became a little more apparent, but I never let it deter me.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
I personally feel that females are not as much ‘people pleasers’ and bring many positive attributes to the workplace. For me personally, I feel that I bring honesty to conversations, make recommendations, and feel empowered to respond to recommendations/situations that others may not.
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?
It is quite true that women consume almost 50% of the technology out there yet are underrepresented. I believe the industry has to dig deeper into what is real and what is bravado when people are applying for roles. Based on research shared at our Women in Intel Network (WIN), women tend to underestimate their abilities, being completely honest on what they are capable of and not willing to stretch the truth. According to research, men do not have the same restraints when referring to their capabilities. I think there is an opportunity for the industry to recognize that and take it into consideration when hiring. Is more always really more?
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?
It is truly a pleasure. I have been lucky to have worked with wonderful colleagues – both men and women – and have learned a lot from both parties.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
Definitely. I have worked for incredibly strong women who don’t hold back on being themselves and being change agents for their organization. I have applied that strategy to my career and my life.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you’d like to dispel?
I think that there is great opportunity for women. The diversity requirements/discussion would lead some to believe that it is very hard to get ahead as a female. I just don’t feel this is the case. While continuing to discuss diversity and driving change is incredibly important, it’s equally important to recognize that there may be challenges in any career. I would like to dispel the myth that they cannot be overcome. It is a misconception that may put people off participating in the industry, which is unfortunate.
What’s one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I believe equal pay for equal work should be a requirement. While many companies may say they offer equal pay, the reality is there are still a lot of women who are paid less than men. This needs to change.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
I am incredibly optimistic. As our culture evolves, the role of women will naturally increase in importance in the information technology industry. I work with many women who are brilliant minds. As they move into leadership roles, I envision growth for the industry with great leadership to support it.