We interviewed Cecilia Harvey, Chief Executive Officer at Hyve Dynamics on her thoughts and experience on women in tech.
As CEO, I am responsible for the vision, strategy and growth of Hyve Dynamics, a sensor technology company.
As a child, l played chairman of the board with my Barbie dolls and I was practically attached to my Commodore 128 computer so I guess it was inevitable that I would one day be the CEO of a technology company! Although, if someone would’ve told me that back then, I would’ve said they were absolutely crazy!
I have been working in banking and technology for the last 20 years after graduating from Wellesley College.
No, I studied Political Science at university.
I’ve held various roles in large organisations that have helped to prepare me for entrepreneurship and understand how to run technology as a business.
After university, I worked in Fixed Income Derivatives origination at Lehman Brothers in New York. Although I was on the trading floor, technology was the foundation of capital markets businesses. Trading systems, electronic trading, e-commerce and data were all critical to the growth of capital markets businesses. So very early in my career, I was learning how to think strategically about technology in order to grow a business.
Eventually, I moved onto roles at companies where I was managing global banking technology programs.
Being the COO for markets and securities services technology at Citigroup which was a tech organisation of over 8,400 people globally, over 1,000 systems across over 50 sites is an example of that. It helped me to understand how to run technology as a business. You are working in a highly regulated environment and need to focus on governance, risk and controls, budget efficiency and people management.
In my previous roles I have found myself engaging with various vendors that were often tech companies, which gave me lots of experience. Large banks partner with, and make strategic investments, in technology companies so I got to see the good, the bad and the ugly! I witnessed strategy, management and client service that worked well and I also saw some that didn’t which would result in no investment. I saw the growing pains and challenges of those tech companies.
Eventually, I worked directly with those tech start-ups and scale-ups and the combined with the experience in large corporates it prepared me to be the CEO of Hyve Dynamics.
My journey is very unique and the experience I have gained along the way has been invaluable.
I think there are several reasons why there is a low percentage of women in the tech sector.
Yes, and it needs to change.
We need more female “role models” working in technology to show young women the various careers they can pursue in this exciting industry.
Better knowledge about the sector and the career opportunities that it offers would definitely encourage more females to study technology-related courses. However, I don’t think these courses are necessary to have a career in this industry.
I think the only barriers we have are the ones that we create for ourselves.
Individuals have the power to decide if they are going to let various “distractions” get in their way. Those distractions may include fear, doubt, injustice, naysayers, toxic environments and toxic people but these distractions are not the barriers. The barrier is whether or not one has the ability to tune them.
Once you learn THAT you will realise that you are unstoppable. Remember, it’s not the surrounding that sinks the ship. It’s the water that gets in that sinks the ship.
Educate young women and expand the definition of what it means to be a “woman in technology.”
We need to do more to show the diverse range of career opportunities in technology and promote the industry better.
Surround yourself with positive people. End Toxic relationships that can distract you and instead, surround yourself with like-minded people that have similar goals and values to you. Iron sharpens iron and if you’re going to take off you can’t have people that can keep you down.
Other advice I’d give, is: