Grace MeeAs with any day dedicated to diversity, equality, and inclusion, International Women's Day is incredibly valuable. Of course, it's a celebration of women and everything they do, but the day also creates space for discussion, thought generation, and awareness. The energy created by a moment like International Women's Day is infectious and inspiring and should be felt across the whole year. I want all our coworkers to know the value of their voice, their perspectives, and their experiences to our success.

This year's International Women's Day theme, #ChooseToChallenge, resonates with me when I look back at my career so far. I learned early on that not speaking up only slowed me down and that not offering an opinion, only to silently disagree with the final decision being made – was counter-productive.

I made a conscious decision to challenge myself in making sure my voice was heard and I realised that – as often the only woman in a room of men – I almost always had a different perspective or angle that helped as we made business decisions.

Over time, I've settled on four key rules to guide my career and – as everyone who works with me knows – I'll share them with anyone who will listen:

  • Failure is necessary
  • Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
  • If you’ve got something to say, say it
  • Being different is an advantage

For me, these are great rules to live by for a career in tech, an industry that I've always found incredibly fulfilling to work in. With its rapid pace of change, there's always a way to regenerate, innovate and move forward – and that keeps it exciting. At CDW UK, we know it's our desire to continuously improve that sets us apart. I think this spirit comes through below, where I'm proud to share a sample of our coworkers' thoughts on what International Women's Day and #ChooseToChallenge means to them. These responses make me feel truly inspired by our Community and excited by the possibilities of what we can achieve together.

Choose to Challenge

"#ChooseToChallenge means getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I'm all too aware that when things feel slightly uneasy you can misplace those feelings with believing you’re taking the wrong path or approach. However, I can now look back and recognise those moments for what they were. I now choose to challenge myself in those moments and in so doing so, I’ve been able to elevate my thoughts to a higher level, go through development changes and grow in my beliefs."

Jessica Whellams – Head of CDW Community

Jess Poulter

"#ChooseToChallenge to me means challenging the norm, questioning stereotypes, and calling out gender assumptions to achieve a more inclusive world. Varying gender viewpoints, ideas and insights allows for better problem solving, increased creativity, and so much more."

Jessica Poulter – Associate Marketing Manager

Fay Dixon

"Challenge and collaboration promotes innovation and inclusivity. #ChooseToChallenge means not settling for 'it's always been that way.' It’s standing up and showing up. It’s about developing courage. Seeing women succeed in business encourages and empowers girls and women to pursue their careers."

Fay Dixon – L&D Business Partner

Iman Mohamed

"I believe we excel when we leave our comfort zones and for that reason #ChooseToChallenge for me is about pushing yourself, adapting, learning and being ready for change."

Iman Mohamed - Sales Administrator, Sales Operations

Celebrate Role Models

Malcolm Pape

"More women in business and doing well creates a virtuous circle to promote even more diversity, providing role models and inspiration. From a purely personal perspective I'd love to see more role models for my daughters in both tech and finance. Everyone has a role to play in advocating diversity, this is an active choice we all make every day."

Malcolm Pape – VP & UK CFO

Martin Syzdek

"If she could do it, so can I." The tech industry is commonly seen as a male business. But there are girls and women out there who have a great interest in tech. When they find a female role model they can relate to, they can follow their dreams and thrive! Everyone should have an equal chance, regardless of their gender."

Martin Syzdek – Coworker Services Business Partner

Hayley Doyle

"Girls in education need to be inspired to take STEM subjects. One way to do this is by showing them strong female role models in the technology industry so they can feel confident that a career in technology can be for them. CDW promotes mentorship programmes which I am lucky to have benefitted from by having an inspiring female leader who is supporting me to progress and develop in my role."

Hayley Doyle – Customer Advocacy & Communications Manager

Mark Murphy

"We need role models for other young women to look up to, to keep the industry thriving. There are as many highly talented Women out there as there are men. Women make just as good leaders as men, and we need both working together, again to ensure we have a rounded view for decision making and call upon each other's strengths."

Mark Murphy – Head of Tech Ops & Physical Security UK & Intl.

Build Supportive Communities

Susan Cotton

"Everyone has a voice at CDW, as we foster a culture of inclusivity. CDW's Women's International Network (WIN) is a dedicated group who represent women and promote inclusion at CDW. By being part of WIN, I have the opportunity to help support other women and be a part of a group who want to create a more inclusive workplace. WIN provides the platform where we can #ChooseToChallenge and help make change happen!"

Susan Cotton – Head of Brand Marketing

Megan Garrett

"Equality within business is important to pave the way for the next generation. I've never worked for a company that has such a strong female presence, in all sectors as CDW does. I think this is supported by our core principles and values, but in recent years the investment of building communities for all coworkers to be a part of has proven successful."

Megan Garrett – Warehouse Senior Supervisor

Guy Smith

"Partnerships with charities like STEMETTES are also fantastic ways of supporting and inspiring young women in growing their passion for technology."

Guy Smith – Head of Technology Solutions

Represent Everyone

Flannery Gibbons

"Challenging oneself and challenging the status quo are equally important - to work towards inclusivity, we need to do both."

Flannery Devine Gibbons – Category Lead, Cloud

Lucy Ager

"Due to being considered a Generation Z baby, growing up I was always taught 'You can be anything you want to be'. This was told to all regardless of gender, if you set your mind to something you can do it. I believe this is the best advice I was given as it always taught me to not look at anyone as any different to me, whether that be gender or ethnicity, if you put your mind to something you can achieve it and that applies to ALL."

Lucy Ager – Internal Project Administrator

CDW UK will be celebrating International Women's day on Monday 8th March.
Join the conversation @CDW_UK

#InternationalWomensDay2021     #ChooseToChallenge     #IWD2021    #CDWCommunity     #CDWSocial  #LifeAtCDW