Q&A with Cheryl Rosenthal-Warlow, VP, CTO Office @ GfK

HomeContent HubBlogQ&A with Cheryl Rose…

Firstly, please introduce yourself.

I am the VP of the CTO Office at GfK, an always-on, AI-powered intelligence platform and consulting service for the consumer products industry. At GfK, I am able to combine my two passions: technology and change; and cultivating talent for the future.

In this role I am responsible for ensuring we meet our financial targets and have an efficient flow of information between the tech teams and other functions. I work as part of the Technology leadership team and in conjunction with Controlling & Finance, HR, Procurement, Risk, Legal, Compliance and Internal Audit teams to ensure good controls, governance, tracking and monitoring are in place.

I was born in Brisbane, Australia, and moved to Sydney in the early 1990s. In 2000 I made the big leap to London, England, with my husband and son. Since then, I have worked in various technology roles at Euromoney Institutional Investor and in 2018 joined the team at GfK.

Although I love the hustle and bustle of London, last year I moved to a small town in Derbyshire where I can enjoy all that the Peak District has to offer.

What are you looking forward to at Women of Silicon Roundabout?

It’s an absolute privilege to have been asked to speak at Women of Silicon Roundabout. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to meet and learn from different women in technology. It is also great to have the platform to share and hopefully inspire others from my session – I hope that attendees will find it interesting and take back some of the key lessons to their companies.

Most importantly, I am grateful to be a part of a global diversity movement in tech. Events like these are so important as we strive to create a more equitable and diverse industry. I am proud to be part of this movement, supercharging careers for women in tech and redefining the technology industry.

What advice would you give to someone looking to step up their career in tech?

Firstly, I believe it is important that individuals who are starting their careers in tech need to decide themselves what paths they want to take – whether they would like to retain hands-on tech skills throughout or move into management and leadership. This is key as the two roles are very different, with different paths. Management isn’t for everyone, so it is crucial people recognise where their skills are best placed.

Finding a mentor or a sponsor could help with this decision, and it is important for new starters to develop good relationships with these mentors. The industry itself is incredibly multifaceted, with change happening constantly, mentors are great as they can help guide you on what the next best steps are as you look to develop your career.

As the industry continues to change, it is also crucial that people are open to these new ideas and grow with the industry. Finally, I always urge people to embrace failure, rather than run away from it. I believe this is where we can learn our greatest lessons and become better employees and people.

What do you see as the biggest challenge currently facing women in technology?

A challenge that women have long faced in technology centres around confidence and a feeling of belonging. Too many times I am still the only woman in the room. There are more women in technology but not enough at senior levels. Now, we need to encourage women to have more confidence in their abilities to take on new challenges. It is important we find a balance of women at senior levels to provide role models (and sponsors) for the younger generation.

Equally, it is still mostly women who will take time out from work to raise children (or for other caring responsibilities). We risk missing out on a vast amount of experience if we don’t then give them a path to come back into the workforce. GfK has recently partnered with Women Returners to specifically start tackling this problem.

I am hopeful that the post pandemic world of hybrid working will go some way to supporting a better balance for everyone.

Sadly, I still think there are different expectations for women when compared to men. I found at times that you have to work harder to be heard. Although this attitude is not as widely adopted now, you will still find, for example, a woman who is strong and forceful with her opinion is seen as being very abrupt, which is often different for men with similar characteristics.

The theme of the event is Resilience; what does resilience mean to you?

For me resilience is about learning from past mistakes, without dwelling on them. I like to adopt a ‘get on with it and move forward’ mentality. I do believe humans are generally very resilient, just look at how we have dealt with the pandemic and lock downs, for example. We totally changed the way we worked almost overnight and now we have learned to work in a different way.

Finally, what can attendees expect from your session at Women of Silicon Roundabout?

Throughout my career I have been passionate about cultivating new talent and for me, my job satisfaction comes from helping others. I am going to share my expertise in this area and outline best practices for inspiring the next generation of technologists.

This topic is incredibly important, particularly as the industry strives to be more representative of society. I hope that attendees will find my session valuable, take my experience in this area back to their companies and begin to make some significant steps as we all look to inspire new talent, of all genders, cultures and backgrounds.

Join Cheryl Rosenthal-Warlow for her session “Shaping Talent For The Future” at Women of Silicon Roundabout on 22-23rd November.

About Laura Richardson
Laura is part of the Content Team for the Women in Tech World Series. She is passionate about creating inclusive spaces for everyone.

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