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. We've published our full Q&As with each of these women, as well as additional women in Canadian tech. Here, we chat with Mary Ann Yule, President and CEO, HP Canada.
Name: Mary Ann Yule
Job Title: President & CEO, HP Canada
Years in the Industry: 20+ years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: "Well-behaved women seldom make history" - (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich)
What drew you to a career in technology?
Opportunity in the tech industry was, and still is, vast. The idea of being part of something that was really gathering momentum was exciting, and that feeling hasn't changed.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Early on in my career, I didn't feel like I had the right to share my opinion or ideas in a meeting full of men. Needless to say, I overcame that fear pretty quickly when I came to realize that speaking up was the only way to make my voice matter.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
I think that men and women are wired differently, and we are socialized to have different strengths from a very young age, which has created stereotypical profiles. That said, one of the biggest strengths I bring to HP Canada is my ability to inspire others. Whether it be getting the sales team pumped up to surpass targets or mentoring an aspiring female leader, I am able to connect with folks from all walks of life.
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?
It's critical to embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to be open to, and encouraging of, everyone's perspectives and opinions. Diversity and inclusion is a business imperative for HP, and we operate on the principle that diversity creates meaningful innovation and improves our company, products, and services. Corporations that prioritize diversity position themselves to better understand the needs and motivations of customers and more fully reflect the markets they serve. HP has the most diverse Board of Directors of any technology company in the U.S. and in Canada. We are proud to share that more than half of our senior Canadian leadership team is female.
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?
Challenging, challenging, and challenging. Largely, it's challenging because of stereotypes of females in tech. But also, I can be challenging. I like to put up a good fight and challenge the status quo.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
Generally speaking, I am inspired by those who lead with purpose and aim to reinvent or challenge the status quo. For example, Indra Nooyi, the former Chairman & CEO of Pepsi, validated my ideas that working women can have it all. She inspires me because she shares both the personal and professional aspects of her career journey to role model what's possible for the next generation.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you'd like to dispel?
One of the biggest misconceptions about women across industries is that once they have a family, their career is no longer important to them. There are countless examples of Canadian women who have positively disrupted this notion, myself included.
What's one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I wish that the value of sustainability was something that people would pay for. HP is Canada's most sustainable technology company, and sustainability is core to our company values. I think that moving forward, everyone needs to be more conscious about their sustainable impact and make thoughtful decisions about the products they buy and companies they support, to try and make a bigger impact on the world we live in.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Absolutely. While there is still work to do, companies like HP are championing diversity and inclusion, and giving people more opportunity to let their unique skill set shine.
As for the technology industry, the potential has never been greater to both reinvent entire industries while standing up for what's right and good. Looking to security specifically, while many technology companies are prioritizing security by design, the industry is constantly challenged to keep up with increasing connectedness that opens new areas of vulnerability. HP offers the most secure devices on Earth, and that has always been a big priority for us as a brand. It makes me optimistic for what is to come moving forward.