In the April 2018 issue of WiFi HiFi Magazine, we highlighted excerpts from our interviews with several influential women in the tech industry in Canada. Every Friday, we'll be publishing our full Q&As with each of these women, as well as additional women in Canadian tech. Here, we chat with Fiona Jeffery, CEO and co-founder, Affinity Electronics of Canada
Name: Fiona Jeffery
Job Title: CEO and co-founder, Affinity Electronics of Canada
Years in the Industry: Over 28 years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." (Bill Gates) "It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intellectual, but the most responsive to change." (Charles Darwin)
What drew you to a career in consumer electronics?
It wasn't my first choice, I said I would help my father out for the summer.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Most definitely. Today, the "Me Too" movement has exploded, and society is aware of how women have been talked too, gestured at, and approached by men. It knocks your confidence and self-esteem down a few notches. Most women do not come out of this stronger. But some do, and have the will to push on and be successful.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
I'm not sure how unique it is, but you need passion for the products and compassion and empathy for the clients, as they are just doing their job. One needs to be organized and personable. You want your clients to reach out for honest, reliable information when asked.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs in order to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
The same pay and career path opportunities as the male counterparts have available to them.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
It's about time to train and bring up the women who deserve promotions based on their expertise, dedication, and passion.
Are there women in the tech industry who inspire you?
There have been a few of us women in the industry who have stayed friends and who we have used as sounding blocks and to share ideas. No one stands out as being truly inspirational, but as a group of us, we solved all the problems!
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you'd like to dispel?
That we are not tech savvy. Today, with all the technology, women are more familiar with current products and applications than ever before.
What's one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I just wish that after all these years, women would have the same opportunities available to them in management roles.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Yes and no. Yes, for a healthy industry moving forward, and no at the pace at which women are moving up the ranks.