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Empowering women through professional networks: why Capgemini is sponsoring the WICT Network UK & Ireland.

Sarah Wood
July 03, 2024

Capgemini is proud to announce we have joined the ranks of WICT Network UK & Ireland’s strategic sponsors, in a step that reflects our unwavering commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion. WICT provides a network to support, encourage, and promote women across the cable, telecom, media, and broadcast industries.

The network partners and collaborates with industry experts to host compelling events and offer networking opportunities for their members, in a mission to inspire, connect, and grow talent across the board and enable women from diverse backgrounds to reach their potential.

Here, Capgemini’s Client Partner, Sarah Wood, and Strategy & Transformation Consulting Director, Claudio Costa, whom both have relationships with WICT UK & Ireland, reflect on their shared experiences of professional networks and mentorships, and explore the benefits these can bring.

Each with more than 25 years’ experience in the Telco and Media sectors under our belts, we recognise first-hand the benefits that professional networks and mentoring can bring. Many mentors, both formal and informal, have helped us navigate our careers and we owe them a great deal for their guidance and direction. In fact, our experiences, though very different, have been so beneficial that we’ve individually become mentors for others and learned a huge amount from these partnerships, too.

That’s why we’re thrilled that Capgemini is now a sponsor and member of the WICT Network UK & Ireland. Joining the network will allow us to evaluate and seek improvement in our own operations, as well as provide us an avenue to inspire women, grow careers, and connect our communities.

Plus, as a strategic sponsor, Capgemini colleagues can take advantage of complimentary spaces at WICT Network UK & Ireland events, contribute to podcasts and speaking slots, and gain access to the network’s extensive range of mentoring and mentee opportunities.

Why are professional networks so important?

In the rapidly changing technology, media, and telecom industries, professional networks are of great importance to the career development of women whom, despite the large increase in gender equality, are still left out of these fields at a high rate. According to WomenTech Network, at the current pace of change, it will take more than 131 years (as of June 2024) for the economic gender gap to close. However, professional networks play a vital role in narrowing that gap; fostering acceptance and creating opportunities for women to prosper.

Mentoring women in tech has been transformational to us. Through their self-discovery, we’ve both seen many people overcome self-doubt, identify their strengths, and plan to achieve goals they never thought possible. In addition to technological skills, we’ve witnessed people’s leadership abilities taking root – more confident in moving around difficulties and using those same difficulties as a powerful way to shift their mindset, to encourage others and push forward. The ripple effect is heart-warming, as they become models and advisors to future generations in the industry.

Professional friends are often very dependable and serve as a great source of support and strength. We can build up a community of learning, growing, and confiding in one another – removing barriers and unleashing the talent of women in tech; an indicator of a better and more equal industry.

Such professional networks themselves turn into platforms upon which women can deal with matters that are otherwise crucial for career development, including mentorship programmes, training courses, and up-to-date industry insights. Furthermore, these networks are often linked to sector organisations which consequently contribute, tailor, and support training, seminars, and industry talks against in-demand skills and knowledge while providing additional visibility on new job opportunities.

Joining a professional network also encourages women to step out of their comfort zones and connect with like-minded people who have experienced similar challenges and who have similar aspirations. The mutual association builds a sense of community and improves confidence.

Professional networks effectively address the issues of inclusiveness in the work environment by way of policies promoting gender equality, and by creating a platform for women to express themselves and collaborate on collective challenges. These drive change towards countering current issues like bias, discrimination, and lack of representation in top positions.

They’re also great enablers of mentoring and coaching, and initiatives like WICT’s Mentor Connect or Global Women TechLeaders’ Top Tech Mentoring empower women in technology by providing necessary mentorship and support in reaching career milestones. Plus, these programmes encourage the development of a shared community in which mentoring, collaboration, and lifelong learning are essential characteristics of progressive careers.

Such mentorship programmes are aimed at developing soft skills, overcoming fear, motivating, and communication. The programmes provide well-planned environments where women can thrive from advice from peers who have already dealt with the same challenges and who have similar goals.

Are mentorship programmes and professional networks still necessary?

Yes. Just look at the stats…

  • Representation: Women hold only 26.7% of tech-related jobs, and their representation in major tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft can be as little as 33%.
  • Leadership: Women are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions, with figures as low as 26% in some major tech companies.
  • Pay Gap: There is a 16% gender pay gap in the tech industry, higher than the UK average of 11%.
  • Bias and Discrimination: A significant percentage of women in tech report experiencing gender discrimination or bias, with 76% having faced such issues in their roles.
  • Retention: Women are 1.6 times more likely to face layoffs than men, and 57% of women in Technology, Media, and Telecom plan to leave their jobs within two years due to poor work/ life balance.

How you can engage with professional networks and mentorship opportunities

Engaging with professional networks is straightforward and highly beneficial. Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Join as a member. Many networks offer different membership levels based on career stages and goals. For example, WICT provides access to a global community, events, mentoring, and training opportunities.
  • Attend events. Networks often host events, workshops, and conferences that provide opportunities for learning, networking, and professional development. Participating in these events can help women expand their professional circles and gain new insights.
  • Become a mentor or mentee. Engaging in mentorship programmes, either as a mentor or mentee, can be incredibly rewarding. These programmes facilitate knowledge exchange, skill development, and career advancement.
  • Volunteer and lead. Many networks offer opportunities to volunteer, lead events, or contribute as speakers or blog authors. These roles can help women build leadership skills and make a positive impact on the community.

One cannot underestimate the role of professional social networks in shaping and cementing women’s careers. They provide the critical resources, self-esteem boosting, and inclusiveness among women that eventually leads to their success.

Both Capgemini as an organisation, and us as its advocates, are excited for the opportunities this new strategic sponsorship will bring. Through it, we can continue to support the network and play our part in championing greater gender balance within the sector.

Our relationships with professional networks and mentorships

For Sarah, mentoring relationships have stemmed not only through her own professional network but through partnerships that her employers have had throughout her career, for example the 30% Club and The Girls Network. These partnerships not only provide mentoring opportunities for both mentors and mentees alike but also provide a vehicle for extending an individual’s professional network and have been incredibly rewarding for her personally.

For Claudio, mentorships have been born from partnerships with organisations like The Princes Trust, and others – offering many mentoring opportunities, as well as mutual network expansion opportunities. He continues to be an active participant in such activities, both to learn and support others.


Sarah Wood

Client Partner
As a Client Partner who has worked in the Telco and Media sector for over 25 years, I recognise first-hand the benefits that professional networks and mentoring can bring. I have benefited from many mentors, both formal and informal, who have helped me navigate my career at various points along the way and I owe them a great deal for all the guidance and direction that they have provided. In lieu of the enormous benefits that I have received from my mentors, I have also acted as a mentor for others and have learnt a huge amount from these partnerships too.

    Claudio Costa

    Strategy & Transformation Consulting Director
    As an international chartered management consultant who has been at the forefront of large-scale transformations across Telco, Media, and other sectors for over 25 years, I recognise the extreme value that professional networking and mentoring can bring. Over the years, I have been privileged to have received guidance from many mentors – both personal and professional, and their positive guidance and direction has greatly assisted me during my career. I have also had the privilege of mentoring others, learning immensely from these partnerships, as this is a two-way relationship and a continuous learning process.