Stephanie Ng, Senior Marketing Manager – Customer Acquisition
Breaking the boundaries of demand generation is Steph. As an emerging talent within the company, Steph leads a global team to bring in new customers and plays a pivotal role in connecting marketing to sales. As a marketer, she knows the dangers of stereotyping in marketing but is she immune to this in the workplace?
Steph, throughout your career, have you had to deal with more than just gender bias?
Although having mainly been part of male dominated industries, gender bias isn’t the only challenge that I have had to face. Quite commonly, age and the position title dictated how people would respond, which resulted in delays or a negative outcome for the task or project. Stereotypes often played a big part in this as it was viewed that you had to be of a certain age or have a particular position title to command the desired response. That saying of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ could not be more relevant in these types of biases.
Another prevalent bias I have experienced goes hand in hand with age and title, whereby your experience (whether work or personal) is not valued as highly than others when suggesting ideas or solutions. Your experience of 5 years versus a colleague of 10 years would immediately have less value. Fortunately, over the years there has been some considerable evolution in breaking through the bias.
What does breaking the bias mean to you?
From our early ages to adolescent years, we are taught right from wrong, what is polite or rude, and what is acceptable and what is not. At such a young age, we actually have no bias, we say things as they are and what comes to mind, yet as we mature, we are exposed to varying values, opinions and perspectives that ultimately shape our bias. Breaking the bias to me means, viewing situations or circumstances at face value. Not letting preconceived ideas, stereotypes or experiences alter the way you respond or deal with people or situations. Channel your inner unbiased adolescent self!
In what ways can people and our Environauts help break the bias?
I always encourage my team and team mates (as encouraged by my own manager) to challenge the status quo. Ideas, solutions or strategies can come from anyone. We all have our own unique pathway, made up of experiences or events that contribute to where we are today. This should never be dismissed or ignored. It could be one of your most valued assets and by breaking that bias, we can quickly find not only a more productive and effective solution, but also a cultural shift that supports collaboration from all backgrounds.
Jason Cooper, CEO
Finally, we ask Jason Cooper, Envirosuite’s CEO for his thoughts on breaking the bias. Since stepping into the role in 2021, Jason has been positively reshaping the culture at Envirosuite. One of the key pillars of this shift is recognising the importance of accelerating women’s equality and promoting an inclusive workplace at Envirosuite across all of its locations globally.
Jason, you were recently mentioned in the Australian Investors podcast, ASX Culture Killers episode, as an impressive CEO who takes feedback, communicates well and is establishing a culture that drives the company. How does gender equality tie into culture?
Firstly, I was surprised and humbled that Owen (host of the show) mentioned me in the podcast. I only found out about it when a friend called me about it. What I think Owen got right is that having an inclusive and empowered culture does drive a company forward. However, it’s not just up to me alone. I have a team of people across the company who are leaning into this and helping to shape the Envirosuite that we aspire to be - that is, a world leading and world beating technology company – inside and out.
I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the smartest people I’ve ever met including my executive team, which is quite diverse. Having women in leadership roles within the company helps to drive a well-rounded culture that takes into account different perspectives. I find female leaders can be more empathetic as well, making it a more psychologically safe workplace.
At Envirosuite, we have a gender target to employ 40% women by 30 June 2023. Some people may question targets, however, I believe they are critical to actively improving gender equality by focusing on strategies and measuring performance to promote women in leadership, employ a more diverse workforce and commit to advancements for all types of individuals.
Why is it important as a male leader to help break the bias?
When I reflect on this question, I realise that I’m in a much more privileged position than women just by merely being born male. Throughout my career, I have found women in the workforce to be strong, intelligent and hard-working. However, have witnessed them face discrimination especially in male-dominated industries and be stereotyped once they become mothers, yet expected to perform and show up against their male counterparts. Breaking the bias is not just about doing the right thing; it’s about being a good person. If you’re in a leadership position like myself, it’s critical that you lead by example and call out poor or negative behaviour when you see it but also to encourage other people to do the same.
In my fortunate position as a leader, I have the influence and agency to empower women, to create an inclusive space and elevate them to a seat at the table. I’m proud that Envirosuite has a diverse senior leadership team, however, I know that we can do more and need to ensure that this is occurring throughout the organisation at all levels.
What can men and women do outside of the workplace to help break the bias?
You’ll often hear me quoting Sheryl Sandberg and telling our Environauts to “lean in”. Breaking the bias is the responsibility of all of us, not just women and not just in the workplace. We all need to call out biases when we see them and actively work towards a more inclusive and balanced world. I’m encouraged that change is moving faster, especially in today’s digital age, however, I believe there’s still a generational shift that needs to occur. As a parent, it’s important that I teach my children, 3 boys, to be aware of gender inequality, stereotypes and discrimination, while giving them the tools to help others to create a future where everyone can thrive.
At Envirosuite, we recognise the integral role that women play within the company – bringing diverse thinking, human-centred decision making and inspiring women within and outside of the company to be more inclusive. Let’s challenge the now and all move as one as we #breakthebias together.