Q&A with Sue Steel, Exec VP People & Culture @ Nearmap
The question on everyone's lips today is, of course - what are you doing for International Women's Day? But I think more importantly, we should be talking about what we're committed to doing to #PressforProgress and change?
We decided to use this occasion to mark Evolution's series launch, that celebrates the women who inspire us in business, tech, leadership or social change.
Since meeting Sue early 2017, I've been in constant awe of what she's achieving. Not only was she one of the youngest managers to lead a team of 32 staff on the SIMEX trading floor in Singapore at the age of 25... Fast forward a few years and she's leading the staggering growth and strategic direction of Nearmap in Sydney.
Nearmap has doubled the women in the exec team over the last 2 months and is a true representative of a diverse culture.
I managed to wrangle Sue for a moment to pick her brain;
As a woman, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in life/business?
Sue - "In life and business I have faced many challenges and not all of them great. Stay true to yourself. In today’s world it is very easy to be pulled in many directions at once. Make sure you stay focused. You can have it all; you just need to prioritise and have excellent multi-tasking skills. Remember the big picture and always believe in yourself"
Who inspires you and why?
Sue - "Anyone, male or female, that is driven and wants to achieve an outcome. I love hearing inspirational stories and how persistence pays off. I am a firm believer that if you invest in what you believe in you will be rewarded. I love hearing how teams or sports players face times of adversity and how they achieved their outcome. These I find extremely inspiring"
What’s the best advice you can give to young women looking to be successful in your industry? Sue - "Don’t stop. Put your hand up for everything. Don’t doubt yourself. Only you know how good you can be, so show that side of yourself. Surround yourself with like-minded people and learn. Never stop learning"
What networking groups/meet ups are you a member of that you’d like to see more young women join? Sue - "The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), where I mentor and coach young women. It really comes down to time and what you feel you are going to benefit from. Try everything first before making a decision. Be open to networking and see where it leads you, be open to seminars, breakfast hook ups, be receptive to meeting new people and foster relationships"
Do you have any book recommendations/articles you’d encourage women to read that impacted you personally?
Sue - "I am rolling out a Strengths based culture across Nearmap so a lot of my time at present is spent reading about how to develop people’s strengths to make them even better in their professional careers and personal lives. I’ve read everything to do with Clifton StrengthsFinder, by Gallup as well as First break all the rules, Strengths finder, Strengths based leadership just to name a few.
The last autobiography I read was Gail Kelly’s, Live, lead Learn.— she was the first female CEO of one of Australia's big four banks, Westpac. I loved it!
I also recently finished the complete stories of Clarice Lispector. Clarice was a Brazilian writer and I really appreciate her innovative style of writing.
What's Nearmap's mission today?
Sue - "At Nearmap we are grateful for the amazing achievements of our staff every single day, but International Women’s Day is a special opportunity to recognise the outstanding contributions of our female staff. We are building mapping technology that transforms the way people work — but we also want to transform the degree to which women are represented in the technology industry.
As an ASX-listed global technology company, we’re proud to say 34% of our team are women, including leaders across our commercial, technical, product, finance, and administrative teams. Today we celebrate all women as we celebrate their work, and thank our entire staff for creating a professional environment where everyone has the opportunity to thrive."
It's an absolute pleasure to partner with Sue and her team, they're truly helping to make a difference through their various diversity initiatives and there's plenty of exciting things to come!
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