This year, five FanDuel women attended the Women of Silicon Roundabout 2019 conference. The conference aims to inspire and energise women in the technology industry by providing the opportunity to network, participate in workshops, and attend a number of seminars run by women in different roles and at different levels across the industry.
The conference was split between the following themes: Technology, Business, and People, which were then broken down further to The Future of Tech, The 2019-Tech Pulse, The Evolution of Work, Founder Focus, Taking Charge of Your Future, and Diversity, Inclusion and You.
The conference venue was impressive. With over 100 sponsors in attendance, 4000 attendees expected across the two days and stalls offering frozen yoghurt and smoothies, the atmosphere was buzzing! My aim for the conference was to focus on the People and Technology themes, get some tips on how to be more effective at work, and understand how the technological landscape is evolving.
The opening speech from Karen Brady, Vice Chairman of West Ham United Football Club, set the scene well. The power of having ambition, determination and the ability to keep going were demonstrated by Karen, who at the age of 23 was managing her first football club. Her message to the group was that you have to champion your career and have the willingness to do your best every day.
The two talks I learnt most from were by Genevive Kangurs from TSB, “Improving the Customer Experience” and Miryka Rule from Just Eat, “Secret Sauce to a High Performing Team”. Genevive spoke about the importance of making a human connection with customers; that you gain brand loyalty based on human interaction. She gave an example of a banking customer whose father had unexpectedly passed away without a Will. When the customer met with the bank, the staff reassured the customer that they would sort everything out, and not to worry about anything. Taking the pressure off the individual at a difficult time led to trust, and the customer stayed with that bank for many years. The connection had been built and the trust was there for a lifetime.
The importance of making sure you spend as much time as possible with customers was also highlighted. With true insight into your customers and their pain points, you have credibility within the business to make fast decisions. At FanDuel we have a fantastic team of UX researchers who ensure customers’ needs are heard. Genevive talked about how ‘Product Owners’ changed to ‘Experience Owners’ at TSB, ensuring a holistic view of a user journey between different touchpoints across the product with the aim of reducing silos. This move was done for the benefit of the users who live and breathe the product every day, ensuring seamless journeys for them.
Miryka spoke about the importance of building psychological safety within teams, highlighting unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence as the 3 key components needed to have a successful team. Miryka also spoke about the 3 C’s when interpreting communication: context, culture and consistency. Understanding all three can help interpret different styles of communication. Miryka gave an example of a situation where she had simply replied ‘Done’ to an email asking her for a favour. The individual felt the reply was too blunt and fed this back to Mirka’s manager. Miryka was surprised to receive this feedback, so she analysed the situation. She realised that the individual had made an effort in her email to bond with Miryka by asking how her weekend was and apologising for adding to her workload during a time when she knew Miryka was facing a deadline. Miryka didn’t realise that by simply replying ‘Done’ she had offended the individual. She hadn’t taken notice of the context of the email. It may sound like quite an effort to have to match communication styles with those that you are communicating with; however, it can help build successful relationships.
I would recommend the Women of Silicon Roundabout conference to any individual in tech. The conference was very engaging, discussing and debating topics that relate to everyone.
Other inspiring quotes/lessons learnt:
- Approach every day with fresh eyes
- “They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel”
- You need to make the jump. If you wait until you are 100% ready to push yourself in your career, it will never happen.
- “Diversity is the output of inclusivity”. Without an inclusive culture, we will not sustain diversity.