Women in IT – Clare Metcalfe

Next in our series of ‘Women in IT’ blogs is Clare Metcalfe, Operations Director here at Phoenix and a finalist at the 2019 CRN Women in Channel Awards …

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the IT industry for 33 years.

What roles have you held?

I have been very fortunate to have been able to work across a whole host of departments covering all manner of roles.  These have ranged within Sales, Finance, Training, Technical Support, Administration and Purchasing departments all within the IT industry.

Having had such a breadth of roles has really allowed me to understand the industry from all angles and certainly has been the enabler to my current role of Operations Director.

How long at Phoenix?

It’s been 22 years now.

What made you choose IT?

IT chose me really. I applied for an administrator role that happened to be in the IT industry and the rest, as they say, is history!

Did you face any challenges when starting out in the industry?

In the 80’s working in an office environment could be challenging for a young female… thankfully the social etiquette in general has transformed since those days.

However, I very much believe that the IT industry was and still is an amazingly exciting and forward-thinking industry, those within it adapt and embrace changes readily which alleviate challenges that may not have been so easily overcome perhaps in more traditional areas such as manufacturing.

What changes have you seen in the industry and Phoenix over the years?

The transformation in technology in the last few years alone has been remarkable.  If I look back to what was seen as cutting edge 30 years ago, I can only laugh.

I recall needing to format 5.25” floppy disks using DOS commands in order to save my data. I had to label them up, make a backup copy, which sat next to the ‘live’ copy and groan when they had both become corrupt!

Now I use OneNote which saves instantly and be called up on anywhere and anyplace.  And then when this “Windows” package was installed on my large footprint of a computer I was told I could flip between more than one application at once.  I can still hear myself say “but why would I need that as an option as I can only work in one application at a time?” …and whilst I am typing this my task bar at the bottom of my screen has icons as far as you can see.

One area that I am glad that has not changed is the identity of Phoenix, it’s culture, it’s people and the truly remarkable way that we all pull together as a team.

What can be done to encourage more women into IT?

By showing that “working in IT” is not male orientated, heavily leaning towards developer/technical requirements. Technology is integral to the way we live at home and at work.  We need to communicate the capabilities of all the new technology that is out there and how working within IT we can affect and improve people’s lives, their environments, their futures.

Also by demonstrating that the world of IT is exciting and there is a role for everyone across so many different departments such as sales, legal, finance and marketing.