Diversity and the Women in Tech Movement With Andy Baldin
Andy Baldin is Vice President, EMEA at Ivanti. He has worked in various roles in the technology sector for the last 39 years, and during that time, he has lead many successful teams.
I have had the pleasure of working on Andy’s team for just over eight years, and throughout that time, Andy has always been a big support to me by encouraging and coaching me. He is also very supportive of the women in technology movement, so post-International Womens Day, I wanted to get his thoughts on diversity in the IT industry.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
AB: I feel I have been in the IT industry forever. Started out as a programmer, realised I wasn’t that great at it, and moved into support, then management. Spending a lot of time with the sales and marketing teams, I spent time in both sales and marketing roles, which included two stints in the USA, one for one year, the other for two. Now I lead the EMEA sales team and work with great people, so it’s fun.
On the personal side, I’ve been married for 35 years, have a wonderful daughter (33) who’s a vet, and a rather large dog (Akita) called Richie. I like playing golf, but don’t get enough time to get any good at it. Overall, I can say I have a good life, and have had the privilege of meeting some great people of all genders along the way.
Why do you support the women in technology movement?
AB: For one thing, diversity is good for business. But on a more personal note, I am a father to a wonderful daughter and I want her to live in a world where true equality is part of the natural order of things.
Talent has nothing to do with gender. I have had the pleasure of working with many talented women over the years and one that immediately springs to mind is Susan McGuire, Ivanti’s Global VP of Field Marketing.
Tell us a little bit about the benefits of having a diverse team.
AB: Diversity is so important, and not just gender diversity but ethnic, background, etc. Research shows that diverse teams are more successful, and I see this in practice. Diversity leads to different perspectives and different ways of thinking that drive successful businesses, and I think businesses that do not embrace diversity are missing a trick. Having a diverse team means that you have hired based on talent, rather than on other factors.
We hear a lot of talk about “lad-culture” in our industry. What do you think about this?
AB: Unfortunately, there is still a lot of this around the tech industry. You often see examples of this around IT exhibitions. How many times do you see women dressed in what could be described as “sexy outfits” to entice men on to their stands? And do we see men dressed similarly to attract women? Would that work? I have also seen an MD try to flick an elastic band at an HR director’s breast during a management meeting. This type of behaviour is neither professional nor appropriate.
How do you think this industry can encourage more women into the sector?
AB: First of all, hiring managers need to hire on talent and passion – not gender.
But it all starts at a young age. We need to help girls identify and develop an interest in technology. It is great to see Ivanti getting involved in STEM projects, especially when our female staff volunteer for STEM clubs and STEM days. It really helps young girls to have a female role model and learn about the many ways they can enter into a career in technology. I’d also like to see more of the men in our industry spread that same message. If anyone has an interest and desire to work in the technology sector, they should be encouraged and helped to make that happen.
Who inspires you?
AB: When asked this question, the first thought that I had was the people around me, with whom I work and interact. There are so many great people in our organisation and the ecosystem that we work in, it makes me feel proud to be able to spend time with them. Outside of this, Jim Rohn and Zig Ziglar have both been a significant influence in how I approach life in general.
What are you reading right now?
AB: Outside of data for Ivanti operational reviews, the last book I read was Journey To Ixtlan by Carlos Castanada. I also have Stop Snoring The Easy Way on my reading list. Currently, I have just started to To Kill The President by Sam Bourne on a recommendation from a colleague.
Anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
AB: We live in a world that has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. There is greater acceptance of the differences between us all, and I hope that this continues. Everyone can play a part in making this a better world to live in by being acceptance of the diversity of human beings. If we stop judging and start working from the point of view of acceptance, then we will communicate more effectively, see each other as real people, and create a better world for ourselves, our children and the future generations.
As the French say, “Vive la différence!”