At Vapour, we’re as known for our people as we are our toolkit. Experienced, dependable and undeniably human, they’ve played an integral role in driving the company’s success since 2013. And this month, we’re delighted to be celebrating two major milestones that pay perfect testament to that remarkable journey.

During their decade of service, Carol McGrotty, head of digital transformation and innovation, and James (Jimmy) Wood, senior sales support, have made their mark on colleagues, customers, and channel partners alike.

With over 20 years’ experience, Carol’s first foray into the tech and telecoms space was a chance secondment role with NTL (now Virgin Media). Making the leap to join Vapour in 2014, she spent seven years as our head of operations, before being promoted in 2021.

From managing the technical, field and administrative teams to defining the operating model to run TechOps and business support functions, she’s now referred to as the ‘lifeblood’ of the Vapour team by many; a true ‘dot-joiner’.

As well as spearheading major projects including Vapour’s own strategic rebrand — a visual overhaul, as well as a mechanism to reposition the brand in a crowded space — Carol has delivered insightful talks with the likes of Mills & Reeve and Channel Live, as well as penned pieces for publications including WeAreTechWomen and TechBlast. She’s therefore a true ambassador for women in tech.

Meanwhile, Jimmy has remained a critical component of our customer care team. Hyper-focused on combating the smoke and mirrors that cloud the tech space, he’s built a career around demystifying. Stripping away the jargon, he ensures our solutions are simple, effective and understandable — because you don’t have to be a techie to appreciate the value of streamlined technology.

With his knack for translating complex concepts into plain language, he empowers our customers to make informed decisions and fully embrace the advantages of our user-friendly toolkit. Long gone are the days of tech being intimidating or exclusive. Recently, we were also proud to see him awarded a distinction in his Team Leader / Supervisor (Level 3) qualification.

Jimmy’s expertise doesn't end there, though. Keeping a constant eye on emerging tech, he actively contributes to shaping the future direction of our products and services too. His commitment to staying ahead of the curve has led to the implementation of cutting-edge features and improvements within our toolkit, ensuring our clients benefit from the latest advancements, while keeping our own business fresh.

Commenting on the duo’s milestone, Vapour CEO Tim Mercer said: “Challenging the status quo and pushing for better has always been a key part of our DNA. But that doesn’t just ‘happen’. More importantly, it doesn’t occur overnight. It takes a team of talented people — with grit, empathy, and dependability — to keep the wheels in motion.

“The success of Vapour is not merely a result of cutting-edge technology but is deeply rooted in the people who breathe life into our organisation every day. The past decade has seen us evolve, adapt, and thrive in a dynamic industry, and we owe much of that success to individuals like Carol and Jimmy.”

Carol's strategic vision and Jimmy's relentless pursuit of simplicity have been instrumental in propelling Vapour to new heights. And as we strive for further innovation and customer-centricity, we’re excited to see what the next decade will bring for the team. 

Curious to meet the wider Vapour collective? Meet the faces behind the business.

Given the ever-changing make-up of the modern workplace — not to mention the advancing role of AI and other progressive technologies — the skills and mindset of an effective CEO could begin to look very different over the coming years. Tim Mercer, CEO at cloud tech firm, Vapour, offers his thoughts…

The role of a CEO has never been straightforward. In fact, individuals seeking a linear career path with no unexpected hurdles to overcome, need not apply. However, people who demonstrate adaptability, foresight, resilience, and a strong sense of leadership – even during the toughest periods of change – could have what it takes.  

But as we look ahead to the years to come, the qualities and strengths of an effective CEO look set to evolve further still – for some, beyond recognition. 

A thirst for data

Decision making plagues the time of senior executives worldwide. In fact, Raconteur’s survey of 1000 senior leaders reported that 40% of C-suites’ time is spent on decision making – a challenge compounded, no doubt, by the fact 44% claimed to be suffering from data overload. Interestingly, an overwhelming proportion – 85% – of the same respondents, said they believed they could generate 20% additional revenue if technology aided the decision making process. 

Look back in time a little, and a 2019 Deloitte study revealed that 67% of execs were uncomfortable acting on data from advanced analytical systems, perhaps because they have relied on experience and gut instinct for so long. So, is the tide now changing? 

AI is influencing so much of our personal lives after all, which suggests a growing willingness to trust it – even if many of us still are merely ‘dipping our toes in the water’. Maybe the time has come to embrace AI and complementary technologies such as machine learning – they don’t have to make every decision, but they could at least augment the CEO’s decision making process. 

This doesn’t mean going ‘cold turkey’ and throwing decades of human intelligence out of the window. We know full well that data is open to interpretation, for instance, and this is where intellect and experience will still play a critical part. But, whether CEOs like it or not, we will probably have to allow AI a seat at the boardroom table, in the not-so-distant future. In some organisations, this could even change the composition of the wider board, with vacancies opening up for chief data scientists and the like. 

Evolving leadership styles

With the advent of such roles, thought should also be given as to how this may affect leadership styles. Will different types of leaders emerge? And will there be new routes ‘to the top’ as a result?

In truth, the backstories of CEOs have probably become much more diverse in recent times anyway. Some figureheads are true entrepreneurs – constant innovators. There are those with a far more sales-focused or commercial skill-set. Philanthropists with unswervingly strong ethics. Leaders with a ‘win at all costs’ mentality, who want to grow business ‘kings’. Others with a ‘follower’ style, who are more content simply not to lose. 

This diversity should be championed and encouraged further, because for too long, the CEO demographic has been dominated by white males from a superior schooling background. This needs to change. Only 7% of FTSE Top 100 CEOs are women, for example, and not one of these is a woman of colour. 

So, what will the statistics look like over the next five years? And how will small to medium sized businesses continue to shake up society’s perception of what is and isn’t acceptable ‘at the top’? When it comes to opinions surrounding how organisations are run, the public’s voice is getting louder. While the role of a CEO is absolutely a position of power, that power should not be taken for granted, or abused. 

A cultivating culture

While only a subjective viewpoint, it is my opinion that the days of leaders acting boldly and without consequence – shaping companies to suit merely their own persona – are long gone. Such approaches certainly seem to come under fire more often, with a softer, more cultivating style becoming increasingly common – especially among new millennial leaders. The priority to nurture and empower, with empathy, is surely more important than a desire to dominate. 

Think about the way ‘undercover bosses’ really learn about how a company works. The process is so often eye-opening because it affords the opportunity for CEOs to understand and consult with the workforce. And in today’s ever-changing world, the support of a capable team, helping to steer an organisation and its CEO through the turbulence of the unexpected, has probably never been so important. 

The role of an advisor

Every business would undoubtedly benefit from a trusted advisor too – an external confidante who can mentor and support this consultative approach to leadership. Data suggests that the number of executive professional coaches worldwide increased by 54%  last year, which implies a growing reliance on such a role.

Why? Because being a CEO can be lonely. You may have a capable senior management team (SMT). A reliable and high-performing board. But find the right advisor – someone you can rely on who has perhaps been in the same position as you, and/or who could offer a different perspective – and this has the potential to be game-changing. Maybe the whole SMT could even benefit from a leadership coach.

This won’t be a comfortable process for many – it can almost feel like a psychiatrist-patient relationship, with the leader asked to bear their soul, without judgement, in the search of support. For some CEOs used to wearing a mask that cannot slip, it might prove difficult to open up. 

But we are all human after all. We want people to follow us, as leaders. And maybe, as the world of work changes around us, it is more inspiring to follow a leader who is authentic, and real, than someone we cannot connect with. 

In truth, every CEO is different, and that is probably why the business environment is so diverse, and exciting. Some will conduct the role in only the way they know how, while others will treat every day as a school day and continue to adapt. Completely new C-suite execs will come onto the scene too, with fresh ideas and their own approaches. But in a world where tech – not to mention society – presents new challenges and opportunities on almost a weekly basis, this medley is probably exactly what we need. 

On Saturday 3rd June 2023, Military vs Cancer hosted a remarkable event, the Loch Lomond Challenge, to drum up vital donations for those affected by cancer. 

With over 70 participants including military personnel, veterans, civilians, and our very own Graeme McCabe and Jason Fenwick, the fundraiser encompassed a range of activities – including canoeing on Loch Lomond, walking a portion of the West Highland Way, or a combination of both. Here’s a little run-down of how the day unfolded, recapped by Graeme, our cloud UC voice engineer…

A gruelling day filled with kindness and camaraderie 

The teams began their journey from centre 81 in Garelochhead, having enjoyed a hearty breakfast courtesy of the event's main sponsor, Be11a JS. The atmosphere was brimming with excitement as participants embarked on their chosen challenges, fully fuelled for the day ahead.

The arduous walk – led by experienced mountain leaders John, Nicola, and Phil – spanned 11 gruelling hours, with each step representing the determination and resilience of the participants. Meanwhile, the paddle and split participants – guided by Grant, Andy, Tom, and Kenny in the canoes, accompanied by Neil, Dean, Jamie, and Claire in the support Rhibs – conquered their challenge within a 10-hour timeframe. 

Loch Lomond’s serene beauty provided a stunning backdrop as the participants paddled their way to victory, with their efforts symbolising the strength and unity in the face of adversity.

The success of the Loch Lomond Challenge would not have been possible without the unwavering dedication of the support team. These individuals tirelessly drove the support vehicles, ensuring that participants received the essential food and water at the designated rendezvous points on time. Led by Military vs Cancer's own Dizzy, alongside Rory, Martin, and John, these unsung heroes played a vital role in enabling the participants to accomplish their goals.

Looking ahead to future fundraising 

The event surpassed all expectations, doubling the number of participants from the previous year. The overwhelming support and generosity from donors resulted in an impressive surplus of £15,000 – with £688 of that total comprising our Vapour duo’s efforts.

Military vs Cancer plans to build on this success and has already begun preparations for the next challenge in 2024. Keep a close eye on the charity’s social media platforms for updates and information, as they strive to make the next event an even greater triumph in the fight against cancer. You can also take a look at the upcoming events on Vapour’s cards, here.

Lastly, Military vs Cancer would like to express their sincerest gratitude to everyone who contributed to the event's success. The participants, the support team, the sponsors, and, most importantly, the generous donors who made this endeavour possible. Every contribution to the tally and act of support makes a tangible difference in the lives of those battling cancer, and your unwavering support is truly commendable.

Fancy adding to the total? Vapour's associated JustGiving page is still live and accepting donations here, if you’re able to spare anything large or small. 

If you know anything about Vapour, it’s that we don’t do things by halves. That’s why, on Monday 6 March, we’re doubling up on the fundraising efforts at HQ — with two events underway to help drum up funds for Military vs Cancer.

In the spirit of our business development manager, Mark Taylor (sorry, Mark!), we’re donning our most outrageous patterned cotton fabrics, for Vapour’s sh!t shirt competition. As well as employees and friends of the business, plus residents at the mill we call home, we’re encouraging as many people as possible to wear something fun to work, and donate £2 to our JustGiving page.

Come on, we’ve all got one somewhere! So, dust your favourite piece off ahead of the big day, add a few quid to the tally, and share your pictures on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, using the #VapourFundraising hashtag. Don’t forget to tag us! 

The excitement doesn't end there though. We’ll also be putting our culinary skills to the test and running our very own bake sale at Vapour’s Huddersfield office. From fairy cakes and fondant fancies to fresh pastries, fruit scones, cheesecakes, and more, our bake sale hopes to be the hit success it was last year. And who doesn’t like to indulge in a sweet or savory treat from time to time?

If you’re keen to get your hands on some of the goods, you can find the stall in the reception at Heritage Exchange in Lindley, from 10am-5pm. If you fancy whipping up some extra food to bolster what’s on offer, we’d appreciate any donations on the day too.

Having recently shared the news of our partnership with Military vs Cancer, we’ve seen a surge in the number of queries eagerly anticipating what’s in store for 2023. And the Vapour team has been busy behind-the-scenes, planning exactly that.

Over the next 12 months, the collective will be rallying together to drum up as many donations as possible, through a host of individual, business, and public activities. But they can’t do it alone. By sharing our fundraising calendar, we’re not only holding ourselves accountable to our promise, but we’re also hoping to see a few extra faces spurring Vapour on from the side-lines.

Whether you earmark one date or all eight, donate fifty pence or one hundred pounds, both Vapour and Military vs Cancer will be grateful for any support received – with all funds providing relief to cancer patients, their families, and formally-appointed carers across the British Isles.

Here’s what awaits us in 2023…

February – quiz night

Taking to Mad Frans in Leeds on Thursday 2 February, we’ll be putting our general knowledge to the test for our first charity event of the year.

If you’re keen to be involved, pencil it in your diary and keep your eyes peeled on our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for more information. Or, if you’d rather have the invite land straight in your inbox, why not sign up to our monthly newsletter, The Download?

March – bake sale

Get your mixing bowls and oven gloves at the ready, because in March we’re bringing back the Vapour bake sale. Savoury or sweet, kitchen favourite or twist on a classic, we look forward to seeing a full table in our HQ reception on 6 March.

As well as welcoming donations via a table-top tub, you’ll be able to add to the tally through our JustGiving page.

March – sh!t shirt competition

Come on, we’ve all got one in the back of the wardrobe somewhere! Also on 6 March, we’re encouraging Vapour employees, as well as other residents at the mill we call home, and friends of the business, to get involved by wearing a sh!t shirt to work.

So, dust yours off ahead of the big day, add a donation, and don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on social using the #VapourFundraising hashtag.

May – Leeds Marathon

If you’ve followed us on our social channels for a while, you’ll know we have a couple of avid runners amongst the Vapour team. Business development manager, Mark Taylor, and voice engineer Paul Goodrick, will be lacing up their trainers for the Leeds Marathon on 14 May.

The official 2023 route is a looped course that starts and finishes at Headingley stadium, totalling 26.2 miles in length. With training already underway, we’re looking forward to seeing who finishes in the quickest time! Unsurprisingly, they’ll be on the hunt for sponsorships too.

June – Loch Lomond challenge

Ever kayaked around Scotland’s famous Loch Lomond? Neither have we – but there’s a first for everything! We’ll be putting on our wetsuits and picking up our paddles for this event hosted by our charity partner on 3 June, along with 80-100 other willing participants.

Whether you want to come and cheer us along, can spare some top tips and words of encouragement, or have any generous donations, we’d be grateful for your support.

September Yorkshire Coast relay

On 1 September, some of the team will be passing the baton on a scenic route along the Yorkshire Coast. Starting at Whitby and finishing at Bridlington, the 40+ mile stretch will be a challenge of endurance and mindset – and any sponsors will be very welcome. Let’s hope the weather picks up by then!

September – cocktail making masterclass

It wouldn’t be a Vapour events calendar if there wasn’t a sniff of networking involved. Returning to Mad Frans in Leeds on 21 September, we’ll be inviting friends and partners of the business to channel their inner mixologist for one night – with an expert demo of the hottest drinks around.

If you’re thirsty for a ticket, watch this space!

September – Autumn ball

The 2022 event, hosted by Military vs Cancer, raised an incredible total of £28,583.15. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 16 September 2023 has already been earmarked for a second instalment of the ball.

Hosted at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, tickets cost £60 and are currently on sale – email info@militaryvscancer.com for further details, and to purchase. We look forward to seeing as many familiar faces as possible, suited and booted for the worthy occasion.

You can find our JustGiving page, here.

From Leeds Digital Festival to London’s International Cyber Expo, the Vapour team is certainly not one to shy away from an industry event.

But it’s not always about scoping out cutting-edge innovations and knowledge-sharing with leaders across the tech space. Sometimes, partners as generous as software giant Veeam come along, and invite you to a VIP get-together just to say ‘thanks’.

Their recent offering saw our business development manager, Mark Taylor, and business development exec, Holly Eyre, head to The Jam House in Birmingham – known for its intimate jazz, blues and rocks gigs.

Along with 90 hand-selected guests from across different realms of IT and tech, it was a privilege to be rewarded for the completion of certain targets, as well as continually driving innovation in the sector.

It wasn’t all fun and games though, as our dynamic duo still had plenty of wisdom to impart at Vapour HQ, upon their return. Here’s Holly’s round-up…

Think of a workload, and you can bet Veeam can protect it

We were reminded at the event that Veeam is not just available to support end-to-end data protection needs, but also has several standalone products to help tech teams sleep better at night. And these are perfect for small businesses reliant on a specific programme or public cloud, such as Salesforce – which is a must for any sales team.

At Vapour, we also regularly deploy backup solutions for Microsoft 365 and Teams – an essential strategy for schools in particular, where critical files are always at risk of loss, deletion, of malicious malware. Because the recovery process is completely granular and fast, there’s minimal downtime too.

The ultimate automation and control solution to safeguard operations

Speaking to various IT firms in attendance, we learnt the value of monitoring and analytics with Veeam ONE. Proactive alerting mitigates security threats before they turn into real issues, and real-time visibility offers complete control over data and infrastructure – for both physical and virtual environments!

Plus, with capacity planning and forecasting, you can remove the guesswork when strategising future tech needs and purchases.

Maintaining close partner connections is crucial for growth

There’s no denying that Veeam is making waves in the market right now, but the organisation wouldn’t be where it is without its partners. Creating and nurturing strong relationships with fellow industry leaders is a key part of building, marketing, and selling Veeam solutions and Veeam-powered services. And by maintaining close connections with account managers and constantly providing version release updates, Veeam ensures end users are always kept in the loop.

When disaster strikes, Veeam helps to maintain business as usual

Ok, so we knew this one already! But being in Veeam’s presence solidified exactly why we’re so proud to have it as part of the Vapour Cloud.

From natural disasters to cyber-attacks, it’s impossible to predict what lies around the corner. But secure cloud technology has the power to deliver that all-important resilience when it’s needed the most. Backups undoubtedly play a key role in this – protecting business-critical applications with an SLA-focused solution, which offers peace of mind for our customers. And there’s no-one we’d rather power our solutions than Veeam.

Our partner knows how to throw a great party!

It was a privilege to meet the Veeam team in person – especially senior manager, Pamela Napier, and senior cloud and commercial marketing manager, Clare Angood.

As if the free bar and food spread wasn’t generous enough, we were surprised with a raffle draw – where Mark managed to bag a Lego Millennium Falcon – and a private set from Comedian Jason Manford. Although, sitting front-row was probably foolish, in hindsight – as it was a very participatory performance!

Thanks once again to the very thoughtful, and endlessly innovative, Veeam, for hosting such a stellar event.

If you want to explore more about our Veeam-powered backup solutions, click here.

It’s our newest recruit, Holly’s turn in the spotlight this month. Here, she delves deeper into her career trajectory to date, passion for gaming, and hopes for the future of the tech industry.

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I had been looking for a career change from hospitality after completing a master’s degree in business management and marketing. I knew I wanted to work in the technology sector, as I find the culture to be extremely collaborative and empowering – a world away from the stuffy traditions and hierarchy that I was used to.

I contacted a sales recruitment company that supports eager post-graduates to find the perfect placement, and they put me forward for a whole host of opportunities – including Vapour. As soon as I got talking to Tim and Carol, I knew Vapour was the organisation I wanted to work for!

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

I grew up around Windows 95 and 97, playing old MS-DOS floppy disks on a PC weighing almost as much as me! My Dad taught me a lot about how to get into the nitty gritty of these machines, and as soon as broadband took off when I was around 10 years old, I was hooked.

Now, when my parents have issues with their own laptops, they pass them to me in the hope I can get them up and running again. I should start charging them for the service really!

I’m also quite an avid gamer – indulging sometimes for whole weekends at a time.

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

I love building relationships, and believe that you work for people – not for organisations. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to meet such a great team of individuals, each an expert at what they do.

This position really is perfect for me. The combination of ongoing learning opportunities, coupled with the ability to chat to and meet inspiring people every day, is what makes me feel so fulfilled.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

There are already great changes in the fabric of the tech workforce – with national and local organisations like ‘girls who code’ and ‘Northcoders’ getting females interested in IT and helping women to break into the tech sector.

A bigger variety of tech modules should be taught in both primary and secondary education, with areas such as coding being a separate subject and available at an earlier age. It is so integral to the way we live now, that education in the UK really needs to get a move on and catch up!

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

Vapour has the expertise to deliver what we do to the highest standard, always giving the best advice to clients and developing honest and sustainable relationships. We are innovative with the tools that we have, continuously finding solutions to meet such a wide variety of needs.

The way in which the team works together is also recognised by our clients, with our culture embedded throughout customer journeys as well as our own operations.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

entertainment on demand. It has completely disrupted and redesigned the way we consume media – giving power back to the consumer, providing such a rich variety of content, and allowing alternative creators to make a living from doing something they love.

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is...

a top-of-the-line gaming PC!

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is...

I have to agree with my colleague Sam on this one, and say Tesla.

The stirring disruption to an industry, that was so unsustainable just a few years ago, has been exciting to watch. Musk’s unabashed promotion of freedom of information will no doubt continue to ruffle feathers.

The biggest misconception in the channel is that...

tech solutions are always complicated and can only be understood by a select few.

By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more...

connected, collaborative, and resilient. As seen over the last couple of years in particular, flexibility and future-proofing need to remain at the top of every business agenda to stay ahead of the curve.

It is Sam’s turn in the spotlight this month, as he tells us about breaking into the tech industry, his love of gaming, and why Tesla’s innovations have been a real stand-out over the last 12 months…

How did you first get into the world of tech?

It’s always been more of a passion than anything. I loved gaming and anything sci-fi related from a young age, and as I grew older, I found a keen interest in building PC’s too.

So, when it came to planning out my career prospects, it seemed like the obvious choice to look at avenues in tech – not least because it’s such a fast-growing industry. I saw Vapour doing great things, and wanted to get my foot in the door.

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

The Atari Joystick was my bread and butter for years. Pacman, Dig Dug – I used to play them all!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

I’d say willingness to learn and try new things.

Both the tech industry and Vapour as a business are constantly evolving, and innovation never stands still – even the experts don’t know what’s on the horizon at times. That’s why it’s crucial to be open-minded to change and exploration.

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

The jargon. Technical language needs to be simpler across the board.

As much as tech is integrated into the world, there’s a lot of people who don’t know where to start – including employees. When I joined Vapour, I sought the role out directly because the team is so straight-talking and has a proven track record. Others might not be so lucky in getting that entry-level foot in the door.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

First-class products are a given with Vapour, and the results they achieve are testament to their success.

But something that really stands out for me, above all else, is the level of customer service we offer. You can rely on the team 24/7, and customers are constantly firing positive feedback our way.

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is...

The Gameboy. It was so ahead of its time in terms of portable gaming, and I spent hours on end during car trips as a child on it.  

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wish list is...

A sturdier pair of headphones – mine always seem to be breaking!

A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is...

I’d have to say Tesla. Having studied environmental sciences at university, electric cars are something that really pique my interest. From supercharging stations to the energy storage Megapacks, they’re always doing something to disrupt the industry!

 

It is Jordan’s turn in the spotlight this month, as he tells us about his days of playing FIFA 2004 on a PlayStation 1, his hope to see flying Tesla cars, and how he thinks the best piece of tech invented is the smart phone. 

How did you first get into the world of tech?

I initially wanted to be an electrician. Whilst I was doing my electrical courses in 2012, I was pleasantly introduced to my colleges 3x 48u racks full of cables, switches, and routers. Ever since I set my eyes on this, I was fixated. I asked my electrical tutor more questions about the rack than I did about 3 phase induction motors. 

And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?

My earliest memory has got to be playing FIFA 2004 on the PlayStation 1. I was bad at this game and probably experienced too many angry moments by not being able to score goals on easy mode. 

As well as this, the first time I can remember being exposed to tech was having my first mobile phone – a Nokia 65000 – and downloading the soundtrack to ‘War of the Worlds’ from a well-known free website called ‘LimeWire’. I had to transfer it onto one phone and then Bluetooth it over to my own phone – this took 3 hours!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?

I wouldn’t pinpoint one skill specifically. To thrive I think people need to have multiple skills. For example, Vapour is full of individuals with a broad range of skillsets, and this is where I feel I fit in well. 

I would say being diverse would make people thrive in any environment, especially at Vapour where technology is at its forefront. 

And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?

I wouldn’t change anything. I think the direction we’re heading in should help develop the world and help us understand what we need to do in the future. 

Although, I would like to see flying Tesla’s in a few years so if Elon can hurry up with that before I’m to old to drive and need a bus pass.

Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?

I think Vapour can service and manage any business model, with its vast range of technology offerings. There aren’t many companies out there that can offer this many and be good at it. 

Vapour offers numerous products that are great and still provides excellent service to the market. 

Complete the sentences:

The best piece of tech ever invented is... a Smart Phone

The next purchase on my (personal) tech wish list is... an 8k TV 65”, keychron k2 keyboardA tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Amazon

Vapour’s head of transformation and operations, Carol McGrotty, recently took part in a Q&A session for a feature on women in tech, with PCR magazine. If you missed it, you can read the article in full here...

1. Please could you provide name, job title, company

Carol McGrotty, Head of Transformation & Operations, Vapour

2. What is your professional background and how has this contributed to your current working position?

I joined the tech sector at the start of 2000, following a seven-year period working in insurance.  Initially, this was in a provisioning role delivering projects to enterprise and public sector customers, whilst also contributing to process improvement workstreams and new-to-market product launches. 

Having curiosity, a drive for purposeful transformation and a collaborative approach within the industry are still fundamentals in my position at Vapour today, as much as they were back when I began my tech journey.

3. What are your experiences of being a female tech leader?

For me it has always been a very positive experience, and I often refer to the fact that I am lucky in this regard – on reflection I wonder why this is, as surely it should be the norm for all females in this industry. When I started out in tech I had some very strong, knowledgeable and inspiring female leaders around me – who also then became my mentors.  Having had this grounding from the start of my career in tech has made me feel extremely passionate about being the same to other upcoming females.

4. What challenge have you encountered, if any, being a female in the tech sector?

Not so much of a challenge, but as I attend events, meetings and focus groups, I can often be the only female in the room.  At first, I could have seen this as a challenge – coupled with making it clear that you aren’t in attendance simply to take the minutes! But this is where relationship building comes to the fore, as does knowing your topic well, showing passion, listening to other peoples’ view points, and not trying to be someone else. As a female in tech if you’ve earned your right for a seat at the table, then you absolutely should be there.

5. What are your interests and passions in regards to working in the tech channel?

A key part of my role at Vapour is promoting our culture, leading by example on our company values and behaviours, and encouraging and supporting our teams in doing the same – through initiatives, committees, focus groups and sponsors. This aligns to another of my real passions, sustainability – not just at Vapour, but also within the industry as a whole and among our clients, by supporting their digital transformation with sustainable decisions.  Our ESG strategy and execution is paramount.

6. How can the channel drive greater diversity in the sector?

We need diversity in the sector from the floor level to the boardroom, to ensure there are a diverse range of views – this is particularly the case in tech, where innovation plays such a vital role.  Having this as a value and behaviour within the business, shows the support that comes from board level, and the role everyone can play.  By opening up discussions at department meetings, and even having a committee in place to be involved in driving change where needed, it is important to think outside the box to accommodate everyone, and continue to push for diversity and consider all needs.

7. How can the channel look to attract more females into leadership positions in the channel?

There is evidence to show that having females in leadership and board positions can improve performance and attract more female talent into businesses, particularly in roles that would previously have been deemed male-orientated such as engineering. 

Having policies such as split maternity/paternity leave, advertising job salaries to be transparent and ensuring female mentoring programmes are in place, all helps, as well as supporting on leadership and training programmes, and reviewing how job adverts are written (in less masculine language). Our male colleagues can be allies in this too – it is not just a female subject to drive and champion.

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