Friday, 19 November 2021 01:17

Celebrating male leaders and entrepreneurs in the world on International Men's Day, 2021 #IMD2021 Featured

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Just as we did for International Women's Day, and as we did with articles seeking the best advice from Mums and Dads on 2021's Mother's Day and Father's Day, we now turn to celebrating International Men's Day with commentary from technology leaders in Australia.

As iTWIre celebrated International Women's Day in early 2021, with several other articles here we're proud to celebrate International Men's Day today, too.

iTWire also sought to celebrated tech leaders sharing the best advice they ever received from their Mothers and their Fathers,, it's now time to turn to International Men's Day, which is celebrated in Australia and 80 other countries on Friday 19 November, 2021.

The theme from one Australian version of the International Men's Day site is "better relations between men and women", while the theme from another Australian version site is "Talking about Men", but of course, it's deeper than that, and we see this reflected in the thoughtful submissions below.

iTWire has invited male and female leaders from technology companies in Australia to share their thoughts on International Men's Day, to issue any comment they would like, but also to explore any of the themes below:

  • What did male mentors in your life teach you that made a real impact, helping you to become the person you are today?
  • What are your thoughts on better relations between men and women?
  • What are the challenges you face as a modern male in today's technologically enhanced world that you've overcome?
  • What challenges still face men in the world today that technology can help solve or overcome?
  • If you're of another gender, what challenges have you seen men face in the world of tech and business that should change for the better?
  • How has technology made you a better man, a better leader, a better father, partner, knowledge worker, creator and human being?

We let contributors know they could feel free to answer any of the questions above, or even to take their own tangent, or even answer questions of their own design.

The following tech leaders contributed, and their individual commentaries are printed in full below, so please read on!

  1. Simon Howe, Vice President Sales APAC, LogRhythm
  2. Jacqueline Anderson, Nintex Senior Director, Global HR
  3. Arjun Pathmanathan, Account Manager Team Lead at Lightspeed
  4. Anthony Spiteri, Senior Global Technologist, Product Strategy at Veeam Software
  5. Marcus McNamara – Head of APAC – Sana Commerce

1. Simon Howe, Vice President Sales APAC, LogRhythm

Q. What did male mentors in your life teach you that made a real impact, helping you to become the person you are today?

A. I know I am not alone when I say that my father was and still is one of my most influential male mentors. He joined the Royal Navy at 17 and spent his entire career of nearly 50 years in the service. His example taught me lessons in loyalty, discipline and patience. He always displayed a sense of duty to weather the ups and downs and persist in the face of adversity. We talk about “grit” in a sales career and my father was a great example of this. As an engineer by training it was also pretty handy that he could help me fix my first beat up old second-hand car and that DIY gene has stuck with me. Much to my wife’s annoyance as we have more than one “nearly fixed” appliance around the house.

Of course over the years there have been many other male mentors in my work and career. My attitude is that there is something to learn from anyone you meet and the people you work with and for are top of that list. I know I have learnt from each of the managers I have worked with past and present.

I’d also like to call out my first diving instructor when I was first entering the world of scuba. Tyrone Canning used to say to me “No matter what. Don’t panic. Stay calm and keep breathing” Simple enough advice but whether its lost inside a deep wreck or pulling 7 figure deals in for end of quarter that is simple advice that I regularly remind myself of.

Q. What are your thoughts on better relations between men and women?

A. I’d like to rephrase this question to “What are your thoughts on better relations between people”. Our communication with “anyone” should reflect respect. Respect for that person’s point of view and situation. The more we can put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes and understand their perspective the more productive and effective the relationship and communication becomes. This applies whether its between men and women, adults and children, between peers, colleagues or friends. It should not and does not matter what gender, race, age or nationality. Mutual respect and understanding is the foundation of good relations.

Q. How has technology made you a better man, a better leader, a better father, partner, knowledge worked, creator and human being?

A. Technology has provided benefits to me in many ways. As a father and husband the modern working environment and flexibility of remote working has afforded more time with family. Not missing those important life milestones and anniversaries has been a blessing. It also means that when you’re on the road and traveling you are never more than a FaceTime away.

Technology brings the world to your fingertips, as a parent you can share more knowledge and education directly to the screen of an iPad or tablet. Naturally this comes with a downside but if you balance fresh air, sports and screen-time you can derive the benefit without the downside.

Outside of work technology feeds into sports and pastimes. I mountain bike so I can track personal bests and race segments with mates on Strava. I can track the F1 lap times in real-time; or track my sons cricket scores and stats via an app. Technology can immerse you more deeply into a given sport or interest than ever before so you participate more completely.

And finally on the subject of being a better human being technology has allowed me to more easily pursue interests outside of family, work and sport such as conservation and the environment. These interests are enabled by technology through forums and information sharing. Today, I can be involved in more of these interests and as a person feel more satisfied that I am exploring these activities in some way. All enabled by technology!

2. Jacqueline Anderson, Nintex Senior Director, Global HR



Very often men hold positions of power in companies. When they align that power with advocacy, they can help create a new power structure that is much more diverse than in previous days.

My male mentors didn’t teach me more than my female mentors did but they did advocate for me and, because we often tend to listen to people who are like us, it meant that I was instantly trusted in a large group of senior people. This opened up doors for me.

I would encourage all men to think how they can open doors for other diverse groups of people.

Also, as the world adjusts to technology-enabled remote working, men will find there is more opportunity for them to step into caregiving roles and challenge stigmas around these areas by taking extended parental leave to become primary caregivers to children, or to work flex hours to spend more time with their family.

This will not only be incredibly rewarding for fathers, but also normalises caregiving for any gender.

3. Arjun Pathmanathan, Account Manager Team Lead at Lightspeed said:

I am fortunate and grateful for growing up with two beautiful sisters and two loving parents, so from day one I was taught how men and women should treat each other: with respect.

Better relations between men and women in the tech and corporate world is something that we still need to work on, but we are making massive strides. The benefit of technology is it allows us to see the problem and help it. Here at Lightspeed, we have a dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion team to help facilitate this new wave of thinking. Being on this team has shown me what it means to “be a man”.

Being a man/leader does not mean you have to be stern and stoic or show no vulnerability. Empathy is not a weakness; it is a strength. “Being a man” means you are ready to stand up for those who are marginalised or don’t have a voice, and help each other show respect no matter sexuality, gender or race.

Another common challenge is men’s mental health. The lockdown has been hard on all of us and it takes a community to get through it. What I have seen from the tech world is inclusiveness and the creation of safe spaces for men to talk about this;

Campaigns like International Men’s Day, which highlight these issues, give me an abundance of hope we are moving in the right direction.

4, Anthony Spiteri, Senior Global Technologist, Product Strategy at Veeam Software

There is no doubt that in the current context, leaders must take pause and be extremely cautious when approaching a cultural event like International Men’s Day. From my personal perspective, it is not just about celebrating the achievements and contributions of men to the nation, society, family and marriage – it is a forum that gives impetus for discussions around promoting basic humanitarian values, no matter your gender, age or ethnicity.

While historically relations between men and women in the tech industry have been siloed, after more than 20 years in the field, I can say with great confidence that your gender has no longer matters. What matters is how you perform on the job and the outcomes you deliver for your clients. We should take advantage of the distinct strengths women bring to the IT industry, but we should never expect them to conform to defined gender roles. This was something I was taught by my mentors early in my career.
Reminiscing about male mentors that have made a real impact on my life, my first boss immediately comes to mind. He taught me to be confident, believe in my own abilities and was particularly pedantic about having purpose at work and in life. Always commit fully to tasks and complete them with your utmost effort. He also taught me the importance of integrity, which has helped me foster positive workplace relationships and provides a strong moral compass when making importance business decisions.

From a human perspective, technology allows us to collaborate and interact with people and places in a far more immersive and personal way than 10 years ago. As a father with a demanding occupation, technology allows me to interact with my children via voice or video call which has opened a completely new dynamic to our relationship. It has made me a softer, and more approachable figure for my kids. Rather than the technology itself, working in the tech industry has helped me become a better leader, worker, creator, and human being. Our knowledge has advanced so dramatically, and a sense of balance has been restored to equality. Veeam is just one example of big tech companies that celebrates the achievements of all people – no matter their distinction – which has helped me remove stigma’s and evolve into a better individual.

Ultimately, technology is driving greater self-awareness. If you’re not careful about what you say and to whom online, you can be brought down in no time. Yet, when used appropriately it enables ubiquitous success for both personal and business profiles.

5. Marcus McNamara – Head of APAC – Sana Commerce

Q. What did male mentors in your life teach you that made a real impact, helping you to become the person you are today?

A. I have found that the most important lessons learnt are from those who are able to be transparent, honest and resilient through failure, adversity or mistakes. There can be a tendency to idealise success only once its been achieved, but to me the journey and challenges along the way are far more important and should be embraced.

Q. What are your thoughts on better relations between men and women?

A. Professional relationships between men and women, and specifically with regard to diversity and inclusion is not something that can be addressed in isolation by one gender. It demands a collective responsibility towards achieving equality, which requires transparent conversations, a commitment to learn and humility.

Q. What are the challenges you face as a modern male in today's technologically enhanced world that you've overcome?

A. The paradigm of technology and communication has enabled an ‘always on’ approach to working; which has become the norm for many organisations and teams in a corporate environment. I believe this can have an enormous impact on family life and one’s ability to dedicate time to their personal lives without professional distraction. Balance is important, and in our current tech driven, world a conscious effort should be made to balance our “professional personas” and family environments.

 

 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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