ISACA successfully organized a SheLeadsTech event focusing on career development of female IT auditors in Shanghai earlier this month. This was a milestone event in China, believed to be the first female-themed event of this scale among IT auditors in China. Executive speakers from ISACA, a leading accounting firm, a bank, and an insurance company conducted speeches and a panel discussion on selected topics.
Tara Wisniewski, ISACA Senior Vice President, Global Affairs, attended the event and introduced the SheLeadsTech strategic program for the audience. More than 50 professionals attended the event, including some senior male professionals in the industry who provided great support. The event was delivered in both English and Chinese.
Some takeaways and observations from the event:
1. Representation of women in the tech workforce is higher in more developed areas than in less developed areas. Female professionals may leverage the advantage of working in Shanghai to expand their horizons and connect with established valuable groups of professionals.
2. Representation of women in technology leadership roles is increasing.
3. Some global organizations have women’s leadership programs to assist women in growing their careers. These programs share common goals to empower women and create platforms for female participants to collaborate across the globe.
4. Women need to realize their unique values to perform work and communicate in and across organizations. For example, women may have an advantage in terms of interpersonal skills, which is important in gathering information and evidence from various people and roles required for IT auditing.
5. The ISACA Shanghai Community works to provide a platform for women in tech, especially in IT auditing, risk management, governance and in supporting female leadership.
Here is what we recommend female professionals in tech to do based upon the above takeaways and observations:
1. Identify existing and nearby women’s leadership groups and programs from either employers or communities, such as ISACA local communities or chapters, or both, and actively participate in the programs. Reach out to people from the programs and build professional relationships. Attending events is a great way to learn from and communicate with the experienced professionals.
2. Intentionally improve soft skills. Attend relevant courses, learn and practice how to persuade people in order to meet specific business goals, how to perform better in presentations, how to communicate with people in more rational ways, etc.
3. Keep learning and improve expertise. Get familiarized with new technologies and trends. For example, learn IoT technologies, and give thought to how IT auditing may be different in IoT environments. Learn big data technologies, and consider what may be unique in terms of data lifecycle and data governance of big data. The ISACA Journal is a valuable resource that provides useful knowledge and experiences covering these areas and can trigger more thoughts.