As part of our support for International Women’s Day “Choose to Challenge”, we invited women in leadership to discuss their views on gender inequality and related issues. For this #IWD2021 Ringside, we caught up with Emily Fallon, senior manager, partner programmes, EMEA & AU.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ve been at RingCentral for nearly four years now. I LOVE working in the IT channel, with partners, vendors and distribution. Aside from that, I have a bit of a shoe addiction and enjoy spending time with friends and family with a glass of wine (or two!).
What’s been the driving force to get you where you are today and have you benefited from having any personal mentors?
I always strive to better myself and am motivated to learn more, be happy, progress and develop new skills, so I think that has been the main driving force of where I am today. On top of this, I’m lucky enough to have worked for fascinating companies, which has spurred me on to achieve more. Here’s a bit of a timeline from some of my experiences and what I gained from each role:
- icould.com: I was part of a small team that curated and created web videos. We filmed everyone from celebrities to doctors, teachers, and entrepreneurs. It was exciting being part of something that would help guide people’s futures and for me to see the variety of roles people are in and how they got there.
- Computerlinks/ARROW ECS: This is where my main experience in the IT channel flourished. I was part of a small marketing team where I quickly learnt how to work with partners and vendors. I also had several mentors, personally and professionally, to help guide me in becoming where I am today.
- Check Point: This challenging role gave me my first insight into working ‘vendor side’ and gave me a lot of exposure to different marketing programmes, MDF, partners and distributors.
- RingCentral: This has been the quickest few years in my career! I have loved every minute, and every day is completely different! I have been fortunate to have some great role models and mentors along the way. Zane Long, Lisa Del Real, Wendy Harmon and Mike Conlon have all had their part to play, along with many others.
Don't be afraid to speak up and try new things. Mentoring is vital and goes back to what I was saying about confidence. By sharing your knowledge with other women and helping them, you'll notice a positive change in your… Click To Tweet
What advice would you pass on to other women to help them progress and overcome issues associated with the ‘glass ceiling’ in our industry?
There are a few things I’ll share here. First, be confident in yourself and your abilities. I still struggle with confidence and doubt myself multiple times a day. Try to overcome these thoughts because you’ll only hold yourself back.
The next one is, don’t be afraid to say no! I heard this advice in my early days at RingCentral – it’s not about being awkward but more about focusing on priorities and tasks at hand.
Help mentor people along the way, and don’t be afraid to speak up and try new things. Mentoring is vital and goes back to what I was saying about confidence. By sharing your knowledge with other women and helping them, you’ll notice a positive change in your self-confidence. Most of all, be kind!
Are there any initiatives from inside or outside RingCentral you think make a substantive difference in addressing the gender pay gap and open up opportunities for females to progress in their careers?
RingCentral is dedicated to developing future women leaders within the organisation and in the industry as a whole. There is a commitment to hiring more women, and when the business commits, it sticks to it. I’m so pleased to see so many future women leaders both on my team and in RingCentral as an organisation in general.
Since I joined the company, I’ve noticed vast encouragement for women to participate in external memberships and mentoring programmes because they firmly believe it will be an excellent opportunity. This helps us seek out different mentors, peers, and other women in the same positions – from this, we can gain even more knowledge and expertise.
Looking at what goes on in the broader tech industry, it’s important to celebrate female talent, and several awards programmes really embrace this. I was lucky enough to be nominated and shortlisted for two ‘Women in Technology’ CRN awards in 2020, along with Louise Newbury-Smith. While this doesn’t create immediate change, it spotlights the women who are pushing through and standing for equality in this sector.
Why do you think we still have so few female leaders (vs. male as a percentage of total leadership) in the technology sector?
I think a big part of this is because many women still feel they have to ‘choose’ between family and career, and in reality, some women often leave or step back from the office to support their families.
Although IT is a highly male-orientated industry, I think that it is starting to change. I was once part of a team where I was the only woman, and now it is getting to a stage where you see more of an even gender split. I believe there are many opportunities for women to work in IT, and we will see even more of an increase in the number of applicants in the industry over the next few years. I am excited to be a part of it!
How has COVID-19 impacted your work-life balance and responsibilities outside of work? Any words of wisdom you can share on how you’ve managed the past 12 months?
Try to establish a routine quickly. I like to get up, dressed, and do my hair and makeup exactly as I would if I was going into the office.
Everyone is suffering from video and webinar fatigue, but it’s essential to take a break. RingCentral heavily promotes making sure people get a break from meetings by running fun activities and giving additional days off to look out for our wellbeing.
Overall, I think it’s important to try and separate work where possible and have a clear start and stop throughout the day. It’s easier said than done though, and I am guilty of being addicted to my phone and laptop!
Although IT is a highly male-orientated industry, I think that it is starting to change. I was once part of a team where I was the only woman, and now it is getting to a stage where you see more of an even gender split. Click To Tweet
Originally published Mar 12, 2021