20 Mar 2024
by Takayo Takamuro

Mentoring the next wave of female leaders in the tech industry

Takayo Takamuro, Managing Director of Telehouse Europe, highlights the vital role of mentorship in guiding more women into leadership roles. 

When I started my career in Japan, it was quite unusual for women to work in sales and IT. We were expected to fulfil only support functions. But despite the cultural norms facing me at the time, I was determined to pursue senior roles. The IT world requires more female professionals to offer balanced opinions on the challenges facing the sector, which can then power technological advancements and innovation. The problem was that I never had any female mentors to guide me.  

That’s why mentoring is key to encouraging more women into senior positions and ensuring they stay there. I strongly feel that, for the women who are treading the path of management, having a female mentor by their side can help them explore opportunities which they may think are inaccessible to them. With only 16% of women having had a career in technology suggested to them initially, encouragement is so important to let them know that they can strive for senior positions. 

It’s vital that once we capture the interest of girls early in their education and allow them to pursue that passion to hopefully join the industry when they’re older, we implement initiatives to help their career progression. Mentoring is crucial in enabling that.  

The benefits of mentoring 

Mentorship has become a global phenomenon, and rightly so for its ability to drive career progression for ambitious individuals. Many women feel out of place in leadership positions, and having a female mentor can help them overcome this sense of imposter syndrome and change the perception they may have of their current organisation.  

It’s also the case that management positions often require unique skills and knowledge, alongside a contextual intelligence, to succeed. Mentors can help their learners to acquire this specialised knowledge, which gives women the best chance of making a tangible contribution from their very first day in a senior position. Women who have attained leadership roles can guide the next generation of impactful women to succeed them. 

To further encourage mentoring, it’s important that we also inspire culture changes by showing the benefits of gender balance to stakeholders. A gradual cultural shift, which involves the identification of potential mentors to guide eager individuals, can open up career opportunities for women. True change can unfortunately be slow, but there is progress being made in industries. 

Turning the tide 

Right now, a female mentor in the technology industry is still likely to be someone like me, fighting against the tide to achieve their career objectives. With impactful change, it won’t remain this way for much longer. If we can incorporate initiatives, such as mentoring, we can encourage industrious women to take powerful strides forward and play their part in innovation and evolution. Soon, there will be nothing unusual about large technology organisations with women at the helm. 

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Takayo Takamuro

Takayo Takamuro

Managing Director, Telehouse Europe