Each for equal - ensuring there is an open and collaborative culture for all

Mike Young

By Mike Young
Group CIO

Each for equal - ensuring there is an open and collaborative culture for all

An equal world is an enabled world - that’s a key aim of this year’s International Women’s Day. As a male leader of a global technology function, I want to do what I can to make this possible for the many talented women in my team and, indeed, any potential candidates considering a career at Centrica.

It’s personally important to me to get to know my people, understand the challenges they face and if I can, help them to make changes to empower them in the workplace.

My leadership team and I want to create an empowered, open, and collaborative culture. A key part of this is ensuring we have gender diverse teams and that we make it possible for everyone to make the most of the career development opportunities available to them.

I recently said to my 900-strong global team, if they have ideas on how to improve the way we work, I want to hear them so we can make positive changes. This week I will be meeting with our tech leaders to understand how best we do this. I’ll be involved in making what may seem on the face of it smaller changes, that make a difference to everyone.

The majority of my leadership team are men and we know we have a lot to do to make our team a place where women can thrive. By 2030, it is our ambition is to do two things; firstly, to inspire and develop 100,000 people with essential STEM skills and secondly, we want to attract and develop more women into STEM with 40% of STEM recruits to be female. To help do this, we’ve got a strong Centrica Women’s Global Network which includes the likes of Audrey Wilson-Weir, Amy Oehler-Mangini, Arti Sharma, Molly Caston, Carol Bolton, Rumeet Anand, and Bláthín Pierce who are all helping to push the boundaries and I am grateful for their endeavours.

I am very pleased that my colleague Belinda Finch, CIO Group Functions and my Chief of Staff, has been appointed as the Chair of the Centrica Women’s Network. I know Belinda will make a significant contribution to the network and it has never been more important to have a strong advocate for women in technology in this position.

We also have a strong mentoring network led by Joanne Rose and our guilds network, led by Chris Patten - a place where everyone, male, and female can speak openly about technical subjects and culture change.

My aim is to ensure all our people feel empowered to deliver for our customers, we work collaboratively, and we have an open culture where people can challenge ideas, debate, look at different perspectives, and get the job done.

There are many people who do this every day in my team and I always encourage people to lead in this way. My colleague Amy Oehler-Mangini recently led a pioneering team to successfully implement Centrica’s digital assistant in North America. This involved working with our customer operations team to implement new technology that will help our people improve customer interactions.

I’m always impressed by the everyday actions of the women in my team who play a key role in driving our digital transformation. Having diverse teams is very important to me and I do my best to encourage this whilst understanding that it takes time. For change to happen we all must play our part and I encourage my teams to do everything they can to create a gender balanced workplace.