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.
At the beginning of 2021, the rebrand and repositioning of Vapour marked a significant turning point in the nearly nine-year journey of our company. Fast forward to 2022, and the investment is still proving to be as crucial as ever in helping us dominate the conversation in a crowded sector.
But for head of transformation, Carol McGrotty, it’s people that play the most crucial role in branding transformation success. In an exclusive webinar hosted by legal professionals, Mills & Reeve, on February 9th, she delved deeper into driving innovation at Vapour through brand and highlighted the importance of employee buy-in…
Although the decision to embark on a digital transformation project can be driven by a whole host of challenges – from rapid growth and emergence into new sectors, to a pivotal change in business perspective – it’s often the people behind the organisation who act as a catalyst for change.
Only by undertaking an honest review of a brand’s current positioning and identifying a need for transformation, can real evolution take place – innovating just for innovation’s sake will not only burn a hole in your time and resources, but it will also result in a ‘paint job’ finish that makes no commercial and/or cultural difference.
For Vapour – and any other business – this is no overnight process. Prepare well and give the project the time and attention it deserves – rather than treating it as a sideline objective – and company leaders will soon reap the benefits of streamlined operations, enhanced company culture and improved bottom line.
For Vapour’s own strategic roll out, we devised a ‘365-day plan’ which was broken down into three smaller, more manageable stages, to enable us to analyse every facet of the brand’s evolution and maintain momentum from start to finish.
Customers also play a pivotal role in driving transformation, particularly when it comes to such jargon-filled, technical industries. Not only did we want our rebrand to demystify cloud technology and restore that ‘human touch’ we set out with, we also wanted our reputation to extend beyond our ‘toolkit’ to showcase our team, and help attract and retain the best talent.
Therefore, gathering insight from our colleagues and customers on wider perceptions of Vapour was an essential part of the process – unveiling a concerted recognition of passion and talent, while addressing an apparent confusion over visual branding and restrictive product names. Putting the customer at the forefront of our ambitions meant we could also preserve the longevity of our digital transformation and bolster our sense of authenticity by giving them a stake in mapping out our future.
But a considered approach to driving innovation doesn’t just involve the rigour of senior level employees and customer insight – every colleague with a passion for the idea is able to tell the story upon launch. Think of them as your business’ most important ambassadors, and encourage them not only to embrace this new chapter, but to openly share their ideas to help spearhead further innovation.
To hear more of Carol’s expert advice, and to catch up on commentary from other industry peers, watch the webinar in full, here.