How We Will Forge Positive Visibility of Women

10/03/2021 | by Cathy McCabe

How We Will Forge Positive Visibility of Women

Hi, my name is Cathy McCabe and I am the CEO of Proximity Insight. Our suite of connected retail solutions help retail brands to seamlessly connect and serve customers anywhere.This International Women’s Day the theme is choose to challenge and it seems somewhat appropriate given how all of our lives have changed radically in the last year.

When I took the time to reflect on how I can choose to challenge myself there were three main themes that came to me and I would like to share these with you as part of celebrating International Women’s Day.

Firstly, I choose to challenge my internal thinking – It is abundantly clear that we continue to have to challenge external biases and prejudices but there is also a need to challenge ourselves. There is a need to step up, to be bolder, to believe that we can achieve what we want to, whatever that is for each of us, and really challenge ourselves to believe in our ability to create magic. Whether those dreams are crazy or conservative we always have to challenge ourselves to believe more and dream bigger.

Secondly, the need to challenge ourselves to do that little bit more to empower and celebrate women that are in our circles. We are daughters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, soulmates, sisters and friends and whether it is our work circles, family circles or our circle of friends we need to support each other particularly during challenging times when we are all juggling lots of priorities. So, in light of International Women’s Day, I challenge myself to find the time to touch base, to reach out and to just be there a little bit more than I have been.

Thirdly, we have to challenge ourselves to remember that whilst we need to be fearless, determined and resilient we can also allow ourselves moments to be vulnerable, anxious and reflective. In our personal life and our work life it can often feel like we are the glue that holds everything together and balancing family, job and personal responsibilities is usually super difficult so setting time aside to allow moments where you can relax, reflect and recharge, either alone or with friends is super important. It is not a luxury, it is essential.

So in a nutshell make 2021 the year to challenge your internal thinking, challenge your support network and challenge yourself to find time to recharge.

Finally, in light of International Women’s Day, I’m going to hand over to my female colleagues to discuss what it means to them to work in a company with a 40% female workforce, 23% higher than the UK average for the tech industry, something which we are very proud of.

Lucy Heard, Marketing Assistant

In my experience, Proximity Insight is a pretty great place to work. Not only do we have a fantastic product, but we have a brilliant team spread across the globe. I initially joined the company as a marketing intern in 2019, and one of the things that I first noticed was how 40% of the team was (and still is) female. There is nothing more empowering to a young, female graduate than being surrounded by a group of like-minded colleagues who share the same values and goals for Proximity Insight as myself, especially when the team is led by a fantastic female CEO, Cathy McCabe. I feel so lucky to have found such an excellent team to work with, especially in my first job post-graduation.

Mel Jensen, Product Manager

When I first started out in technology 20 years ago, I was often the only woman in the room (and once for a few weeks, the only woman in the building). Over the years the landscape has changed hugely; and I’ve seen the female to male ratio rise steadily.

Even so, Proximity Insight is the only company that I have worked at where the workforce is 40% women AND is female led, and perhaps because of that the dynamics are different to any other company I’ve worked with. I think the balance of men and women is extremely important, and that a female heavy workforce can skew a business environment as much as a male dominant organisation. At the end of the day, our customers and users are both male and female , and it’s important that our products have broad appeal – and that’s not easy to accomplish if your team isn’t inclusive.

It’s extremely exciting to be part of a team with so many inspiring, intelligent and accomplished women and men, not only because we work well together on interesting and innovative projects, but also because Cathy and the leadership team have fostered a people-first approach, family life and professional life feels integrated and that one isn’t at the expense of the other. This, coupled with the fact that we are developing exciting new digital products and working with some incredible brands on their digital transformation makes Proximity Insight the most inspirational and rewarding company that I’ve worked for.

Fran Mayller, Customer Success Manager

I had been thinking about moving from retail into technology for a while. However, it is really hard to transition into the technology sector when my experience was purely customer facing, luxury retail. The joy of joining Proximity Insight and working with the team is that I have had the opportunity to learn (such a steep learning curve!), apply my existing skill set and thrive in an industry I am fascinated by.

One of the greatest pleasures of my working life is to collaborate with my colleagues and to work in a company where 40% of the team are women as equality is extremely important to me. Having a female CEO leading Proximity Insight is very exciting especially in what is a traditionally male-dominated industry. Cathy is a role model and an indication of what can be achieved. She, alongside the rest of the team, inspire me on a daily basis!

Amelia Curwen, Global Marketing Manager

I feel fortunate to work at Proximity Insight for many reasons:

  1. The team is exceptionally talented as well as passionate about the success of the company, exposure to that kind of energy is motivational fuel.
  2. Everyone is as kind as they are talented. Our CEO, Cathy, has cherry picked the team not only based on merit, but based on finding the right characters.
  3. Equality is important to me and the gender diversity at PI is impressive given the averages of the tech industry and we’re by far the better team for that reason.
  4. There is always space to bring in your own ideas and if you’re willing to put in the work PI will provide you with incredible opportunities.
  5. ‘I work at a tech company’ sounds cool.

Teodora Filipovic, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships

Working in a tech company that brings together the opportunity to promote, build and exchange information between a client and a brand, otherwise known as clienteling, merges the two things I am passionate about; retail and those who make it possible.

The Proximity Insight team is exceptionally talented and immensely passionate, which shows full commitment and belief in our solution. Without our leadership team who leads by trusting and empowering each one of us to thrive and reach our goals, without our amazing sales team who is continually driving our technology solution and the vision, led by Cathy, our fantastic CEO, it would not be possible to continue to grow and improve the business.

We listen to our colleagues and our brands in order to evolve and make sure the purpose of our solution can be agile to impact and service the end customer in a seamless way – our foundation is built on the human-centric partnership. This is what I admire the most about working at Proximity Insight.

I always envisioned working in technology would require having specific skills, but ever since I took on my role, I’ve realised that it’s all about being relatable, accessible and flexible.

Cathy McCabe, CEO and Co-Founder

I am a first time CEO and therefore I don’t pretend to have all of the answers. If I don’t know something I will ask for help or guidance. In my role I am constantly learning and growing and I work closely with my co-founders, our team and with my external network to draw on experience and learnings. I have a very consultative approach and this underpins everything we do. We all work incredibly hard as a team but we work together and collaboration and freedom are important values which we stand by.

As the leader of a technology organisation the most important thing for me was to create a tech company that came from a very authentic place. Proximity Insight focuses on relationship building, on partnership and on adding value and as such we are very much human centered in our approach. We put purpose and people first, we believe that people are a powerful conduit and a good team needs to have balance. Diversity is a critical component of achieving balance and I am really proud that we have a great team and that it is 40% female. I receive a lot of compliments about our team members and the way that we work and our customers say that we are one of the best partners they have ever worked with. It makes me smile every time I hear this and I feel really proud of what the team has achieved. My aspiration as we continue on our growth journey is to ensure that we keep that balance and that we continue to provide opportunities for our team to grow with us regardless of gender, race or role. There are no half measures, we want everyone to love what they do and to be able to succeed as our company scales.

Cathy McCabe

Written by Cathy McCabe

Cathy has spent her entire career in global retail and IT. She is passionate about bridging the gap between digital and physical experiences by connecting customers, products, and services. Cathy was previously CIO at Jaeger and VP of Customer & Payments Technology at Burberry.

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