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 Julie Legault, President, Techni Contact Canada and AMX Canada
Name: Julie Legault
Job Title: President, Techni Contact Canada, President AMX Canada
Years in the Industry: 8
The Quote That Most Inspires You: "You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." - Marcus Aurelius
What drew you to a career in consumer electronics?
I have always been surrounded by consumer electronics from a young age as it was my father's passion. In 2009, I was presented with an opportunity to share his passion and join the company. It's exciting and challenging to be constantly introduced to new technologies. It forces us to keep in mind our shifting value proposition to our customers.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
I have asked myself this question before and I think the answer is no because I chose not to look at things through that lens. Of course that is not to say that my gender has had no impact on my career. It has also been a plus.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
I try to ask more questions than make statements. I aim to be very collaborative in my management style. But honestly, I am not sure that this is related to my gender. I think women in general downplay themselves, their capabilities and strengths, so as not to appear too "aggressive," a word with very negative connotations for many women I know. I would like to see that change.
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?
This relates back to my previous statement. Women are increasingly accessing positions of authority and power, in technology and in other industries. But a significant change in our industry will naturally come along with a generalized trend in women occupying more positions of power, along with growing confidence in their ability to achieve their ambitions.
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?
Its great! People often remember my name, and I think it may be because I stand out a bit as a woman.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
The artist and designer Monika Bielskyte, who recently spoke at the TIDE Conference at ISE this year. She's interested in building bridges, between cultures, disciplines, and generations by creating future-world prototypes within an immersive media technology space (augmented, mixed, and virtual reality). Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, is another woman in technology that inspires me to be a better, more humane, leader, and to "lean in!"
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you'd like to dispel?
The biggest myth, in my opinion, is that women lack the education or interest for a career in technology. Another big one is that women are still accused of being pushy for demonstrating leadership skills. This can get exacerbated in a male-dominated industry.
What's one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I think young women would thrive with more women mentors, or just more mentors in general. Mothers can be devoted careerists, girls can love new gadgets. Girls can be techies, too. Maybe we just need to give more visibility to the many women leading the trail.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Definitely, particularly for those willing to adapt and who are able to operate outside of their comfort zones.