How VF Continues to Make Room at the Table for Women in Tech
Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ve been profiling women across the company. We sat down with VF Corporation’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Velia Carboni, to hear her perspectives on women in the male-dominated technology space; how she encourages women to enter the industry even if they do not have existing technology experience; the ongoing expansion of employment opportunities in the industry; and the way her team at VF is breaking down barriers in recruiting.
Q: How have you seen the technology industry change for women over the past few years?
A: I’ve seen that women are not only welcome but sought after for their insights and valuable perspectives. We’re seeing a greater focus on hiring individuals with empathy, as well as customer relations and project management expertise. We have also seen a shift in the technology space to full remote work. This makes the industry even more appealing for households with two working parents or for a single parent juggling professional and familial responsibilities. So often it is women who step back from the workforce because of family needs. This environmental flexibility creates new opportunities and allows us to cast a much wider net in the recruiting process.
Q: What kind of roles are prominent in the tech industry right now which don’t require a traditional tech background?
A: There are so many available roles that don’t involve coding! So much of technology right now is about the customer journey. We’re seeing an expanded need for people with user experience design, content management, product management, and vendor management expertise. Candidates across these verticals do not need direct tech industry experience, so long as they have transferable skills within these areas. We’re seeing many women applying to these types of technology roles, and it is truly helping to diversify the industry overall.
Q: How is VF creating a recruitment process that supports the changing landscape in technology?
A: Over the past two years, we have seen work environments and teams reset to enable flexibility, and it is our intention to remain remote-friendly. We’ve also put an even bigger focus on relationship building with staff we might not see daily. At VF, this shift has opened our eyes to untapped talent. Across all the career paths in the tech space, we are putting an emphasis on recruiting people who might seek a bit more autonomy with their schedule, including women who might have stepped back from work or are primary caretakers at home. We’ve also expanded our recruiting to put a bigger focus on candidates with prior experience in vendor relations and customer service. The expanded emphasis on these arenas is also drawing more women into the tech industry.
Q: What advice do you give women who want to enter the tech industry?
A: The industry is ripe with opportunity, so don’t be afraid to pull your seat up to the table, even if you’re not a coder! There is tremendous growth potential in this space. It’s good to challenge how things have been done historically and provide fresh perspectives. Female insights are becoming increasingly important in the tech industry, especially as women are usually the number one purchaser/shopper in the household. Business and brands can’t communicate as effectively with female consumers without women being involved in the process. We need female perspective across the customer journey, from concepting experience and mapping the path to purchase, to finding the right vendors to keep the user experience moving seamlessly. Just because you haven’t worked in tech before doesn’t mean you can’t start now. We welcome your expertise and creativity!