Lyndsay Weir is global data and analytics manager at Nestlé. At the Women in Data conference in November, she was named as one of the new list of female industry role models, the 20 in Data and Tech. She told DataIQ how being a female leader and role model can be done in a quiet way.
DataIQ (DIQ): Firstly, congratulations on being selected for the 20 in Data and Tech list. What do you feel about being included this year?
Lyndsay Weir (LW): I am incredibly humbled and honoured to have been selected as part of the 2019 20 in Data and Tech. As a women who has a very untraditional background when it comes to a STEM career, I hope to use this platform to inspire others who are wanting to pursue a career in data or technology, but for some reason or other feel like they don’t have the right skills, personality or background to do so.
DIQ: You are now viewed as a role model - is that a status you inhabit easily and were already active around (for example through mentoring or similar activities)?
LW: It’s not a status I inhabit easily. Naturally, I am more reflective, more introverted and prefer to drive thought and conversation through the written word, be that via an article, a book or an essay on a topic close to my heart. This is where I have arguably been most active, but often it’s not met with as much recognition as being out there in person talking about the same topics.
Susan Cain’s recent Ted Talk, on the Power of Introverts (a must-watch if you haven’t see it) reflects a lot on how I feel about being a role model and an active champion for women in Data and Tech. She perfectly captures a feeling many young girls’ in this area have shared with me.
As Cain says: “Women who are naturally quiet feel as if they can’t be feminists or be powerful because of it. We really need to undo that perception.”
Many personalities in the field of data and technology tend to be more introverted, logical and reflective. They crave the details and the time to learn why. Unfortunately, we’ve sometimes made those whose style is naturally quieter feel as if they aren’t natural or bold leaders.
Over the last few years, I have been trying to use my platform to highlight that you don’t need to exhaust yourself trying to be something you’re not for a job. Too often, I was told to speak more assertively, act bolder in meetings and change my presenting style to be more of a “female leader” and to have a place at the table. I have been trying to show that this isn’t necessary and there’s a place for both extroverted and introverted women leaders.
I have mentored and supported a few incredible individuals and spoken at events, and now look forward to doing this more in 2020 to help drive more change in this field, especially with young girls and tech.
DIQ: How important do you see initiatives like Women in Data to be? Are there still gender and diversity issues to resolve within the data and tech sectors?
LW: Incredibly important. The issues themselves are more apparent than ever, as seen from the somewhat startling statistics shared at the Women in Data November conference.
DIQ: You have a background in digital data and marketing analytics - do these lend themselves easily to a global role since digital platforms are themselves global?
LW: I wouldn’t necessarily think that they do, as although some platforms, strategy and technology can be driven effectively at a global level, data law, privacy and operations need to be handled often on a country-by-country basis.