CIO World IWD Series – Increasing Diversity For Women in The Tech Industry

Technology I&D lead for Southeast Asia Accenture

Accenture’s Technology I&D Lead in Southeast Asia, Aarti Gogna, has been recognized for her outstanding efforts in driving inclusivity and diversity within the tech industry. Working closely with ecosystem partners such as Microsoft, Aarti has spearheaded numerous initiatives that have had a significant impact on the region. Her advocacy for women in tech has resulted in the establishment of programs that recognize the work of female employees within her practice. As a result, Aarti was recently recognized as an Equality Champion at Accenture’s global Equity Awards, becoming the only person in Southeast Asia to receive this recognition.

CIO World Asia spoke with Aarti Gogna about increasing the diversity of having women in the tech industry.

Education Programme With Microsoft in 2022

As part of the coalition with Microsoft for their Code without Barriers Programme, Accenture was thrilled to have participated in the initiative. Their goal was to develop and support existing female tech talent while also attracting new talent across the Asia Pacific region.

Accenture employed several initiatives as part of the programme, including certification drives, hackathons, and mentorship opportunities. Through certification drives, helping over 600 Accenture women in Southeast Asia earn Microsoft technology certifications. This initiative equipped them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the tech industry.

The hackathon initiative provided over 80 participants with practical experience by enabling them to work on solutions to real-life Data & AI issues. Experts in the field were on hand to offer support and guidance to the participants. Mentorship opportunities also allowed external participants to receive coaching from passionate Data & AI professionals from Accenture and Avanade.

As a result of these initiatives, Accenture was able to help more women gain a better understanding of Data & AI, boosting their confidence in pursuing a career in the tech industry. Looking forward, the company intends to collaborate with its ecosystem partners and embark on additional programmes of this nature, believing that the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.

Establishing Recognition Programs for Women in Tech

Research has demonstrated that recognition plays a vital role in enhancing employee morale and promoting active engagement in the workplace. For Aarti, it is of utmost importance that the remarkable women on their teams receive acknowledgement and have their accomplishments celebrated in a wider setting.

“Through my career, great leaders have supported me by making others take notice of my contributions – something I am truly grateful for.” Aarti said.

As part of their programme in the Technology team in Southeast Asia, Aarti is eager to pay it forward and contribute to building a culture of recognition, where women feel seen, belong, and can flourish in the field of tech.

Exploring the Empowerment of Women in Tech and the Creation of a More Inclusive Workplace through Programmes

Aarti discussed about their involvement in two programs that aim to create a positive impact both within Accenture and the wider community. The first initiative, called Women in Tech Talk (WiTT), is an internal program that offers a secure space for women to discuss relevant topics such as their aspirations and the challenges they face. The overarching objective of this program is to foster an inclusive work environment where women feel empowered to achieve their full potential, with a commitment to diversity and common interests.

Another program the Aarti expressed immense pride in is a social impact initiative that they partnered with Palo Alto Network (a security partner) and the Singapore Chapter of the USA Girls Scouts Overseas. This multi-phase program targeted almost 100 girls aged between 6-14 and offered age-appropriate sessions to increase awareness about cybersecurity. The girls were trained on topics like data privacy, hacking, and encryption in a fun and engaging way to stimulate their interest in the subject matter.

Being The Equality Champion at Accenture’s Global Equity Awards

Aarti expressed her feelings of humbleness and honor upon receiving recognition for her work, acknowledging that the accolade not only means a lot to her personally but also helps put Accenture Southeast Asia on the map, highlighting the exceptional work of the region. She noted that the success of their efforts was a collective achievement, with leaders who were vocal advocates and team members who went above and beyond to give back. Aarti considered it a privilege to lead such an important agenda and was grateful to have worked with many individuals who share their passion for the topic.

Looking to the future, Aarti expressed a desire to see the teams in their region continue to grow and gain recognition for their dedication to creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace where everyone feels respected and included.

Advice For Women Pursuing in The Tech Industry

Here are three pieces of advice for women who are interested in pursuing a career in the tech industry:

  • First, be open to learning, unlearning, and relearning. With technology evolving faster than ever before, it’s important to find an area that interests you and be bold enough to dive into the unknown.

  • Second, build your network. It takes a village to grow and support your career, so look for mentors, sponsors, coaches, and allies who can help you navigate and guide your journey.

  • Third, keep going. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. Embrace the idea that a career is more like a jungle gym than a ladder, and appreciate the growth that each experience gives you – even the ones that are challenging.