When Londoner-in-Berlin Olivia Schofield speaks, people sit up and take notice.
Fortunately, when we caught up with her at the conference, she was happy to share some of her top tips on the personal skills that have led her and others to success.
Olivia runs two organisations, Vocal Women and Spectacular Speaking. In her talk, she highlighted the problem of unconscious bias, which works against women as well as other often marginalised groups.
“Apple made a health app and it took into account all sorts of health angles but it forgot those few days a month that women have their ‘days’ and that was an oversight and unfortunately a bias – more men were involved in the making of that product. There was also the hand dryer that only recognised white hands underneath it and it wouldn’t go off.”
She says it is this unconscious bias which shows the pressing need for greater diversity in tech.
“The people working, developing and coding these products are often the average male, white… so that’s why we need a lot more diversity in coding and in IT. So it’s great to see that you really made an effort here at Codemotion to get a lot more women on the stage and a lot more women in the conference. Women need to step up more, because they need their voices to be heard and they need to influence coding and those products.”
There is a variety of skills that can bring about great success, says Olivia. But there are three that are crucial: communication, getting rid of your ego and, last but not least, mindset.
“Communication builds connection. Connection between you and your team, between you and your client, between you and your audience – connection. So speaking in public – many people are terrified of speaking in public – they want to get away from it “not me, not me! Choose someone else”. But actually, when we do speak in public, we can inspire and we can influence and we can be seen to be an inspiring leader, so this is the key thing that is important to your success.”
The second point that’s important to your success is get rid of your ego. So many people are all about themselves and their ego and how they look and how they come across. But actually, the best leaders’ egos don’t play a part.
“The third thing is mindset. If you don’t believe you can be successful, then you probably can’t, because it’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So it’s very good to think of yourself as someone that is able to be as successful as anyone else is, you are not different, you are unique, you are individual, you have something to bring. And so the more that you can say “I am myself, I bring myself to the table and I will do my very best,” I think the more success you will have.”