On this weeks episode of Women Talk Tech, we speak to Liz McLachlan about the importance of mentorship and sponsorship. Liz is the Managing Director, Ecosystem Partners and Platforms responsible for leading all facets of the Accenture Ecosystem in Canada. This includes setting strategy, forming and managing partnerships, supporting sales around Accenture’s assets and driving the Accenture Innovation agenda with the Ecosystem Partners.
Growing up, Liz was an athlete and wanted to be a sports journalist. In university, she played varsity soccer and pursued an English and Political Science degree. Liz had hopes of going to journalism school but ended up in Western Canada after university working in sales. Liz discovered that she could be very good in sales based on her skill set. Upon her return to Toronto, her first job was at Bell Mobility Paging and this was the start of a phenomenal career in tech and telecom for Liz.
Liz speaks about her 20-year journey in the technology, software and telecommunications industry and her move to Accenture. It is at Accenture that she is actively working on diversity and inclusion issues. Liz strongly believes that companies can’t just publish their diversity and inclusion numbers in a case study and leave it at that. Companies need to document the culture inside of the company so women can figure out what the look and feel is, what roles they see themselves in, if there are role models from a racial point of view, and more.
“I think it’s really important to have role models and get a feel for the culture of the company before you join it so you can see what a day in the life of this company is like, because it’s one thing to publish policy, but it’s something different to get a feel for what it’s actually like inside the company.”
Liz says that what ultimately drew her to Accenture was that she was able to quickly identify a sponsor who would help her on the path to partnership. Mentorship and sponsorship are important tools that all women should be identifying to help them move forward in the tech sector. These are cornerstones for women to find their way in a company and more businesses should be formally putting these programs in place.
Women Talk Tech has launched a 2020 Action Plan that addresses what companies can be doing right now to attract more women to tech and keep them there. Liz’ podcast and her support of sponsorship and mentorship are timely as this is one of the four key cornerstones in the Women Talk Tech 2020 Action Plan.
If you are a leader in a tech organization, we strongly urge you to consider formal mentorship and sponsorship programs for women as part of your 2020 objectives.
ABOUT LIZ MCLACHLAN
Liz is a Managing Director for Ecosystem Partners and Platforms and Accenture Canada. Prior to Accenture Liz spent nine years with TELUS where she managed some of the most high-value, strategic business partnerships such as Accenture, Avanade, Microsoft, IBM, HP, and Dell EMC. Liz is passionate about diversity and inclusion and is an active speaker and volunteer in the LGBTQ & Women’s Communities in Toronto. She was a founding member of the TELUS LGBTQ Employee Resource group called ‘Spectrum’ and was a member of the national leadership committee. While at Telus, Liz co-chaired the TELUS Women’s Employee Resource Group for the GTA Chapter from 2014-2015. She was an active Advisor to the Board for the not-for-profit organization, ‘Out on Bay Street’ (now known as Start Proud), for three years as a senior advisor. Liz used her experience developing corporate partnerships to act as the Director of Development and Partnerships at OutSport Toronto, a non-for-profit organization promoting LGBTQ sports leagues in the Greater Toronto Area from 2013-2016. She was the keynote speaker at “Lesbians Who Tech” Conference in 2018 in Montreal, a Presenter at WXN Summit, Keynote Speaker at Ivey School of business WIMS Conference, and in 2018 and was Master of Ceremonies for Accenture’s International Women’s Day in 2018 and 2019 in Toronto. You can connect with Liz on LinkedIn here.