As we approach International Women’s Day, we take a moment to celebrate Zoe Halstead, the DevOps Director at Business Computer Projects (BCP) and Product Owner for Accord. Zoe’s remarkable journey with BCP spans over 35 years, reflecting personal growth and success and the ever-evolving and inclusive nature of the tech industry, particularly within BCP.

Ecology to Technology

Zoe’s academic roots in biological sciences and environmental studies initially set her on a different trajectory. Reflecting on her journey, Zoe shares, “Originally rooted in biological sciences, my background was more scientific. I did an ecology degree with environmental and pollution control as a postgraduate course.” Faced with limited prospects in environmental consultancy, Zoe navigated towards technology through a conversion course, marking the initiation of her extraordinary odyssey at BCP. Starting humbly as a trainee developer, she climbed the ranks to assume the pivotal role of Development Operations Director.

While Zoe’s entry into the tech industry was initially out of necessity, it eventually led to a thriving career marked by progress, management, and innovation. Her journey serves as a testament to her ability to adapt, and on a broader level, it reassures all working women that career paths are fluid and one’s starting point does not have to limit one’s destination.

Ecosystems and IT

Zoe draws parallels between her ecological background and the IT sector. She observes, “There’s a lot of similarities between ecology and being in the IT industry working in wholesale.” Her analogy compares the intricacies of ecosystems to the complexities of the wholesale industry’s supply chain, highlighting the need for cohesive systems to achieve common goals.

Zoe’s journey from a developer to the Development Operations Director at BCP has been marked by continuous learning. Realising that her strengths were understanding systems rather than coding; she transitioned into business analysis and solution design. This shift illustrates the importance of soft skills in technology, influenced by her perspective as a woman in the industry.

Championing Diversity and Inclusion

Fully aware of the challenges faced by women in her industry, Zoe proudly asserts, “Being a woman has never been an issue at all for me. At BCP, it’s very much a meritocracy. If you’re capable, you get rewarded.” Her story marks her ascension and echoes BCP’s broader ethos of embracing diversity within its team.

The Importance of Customer Engagement and Industry Involvement

Zoe finds direct interaction with customers the most rewarding aspect of her job. She believes understanding and meeting customer needs is a cornerstone of BCP’s success. Her involvement in the entire process, from ideation to implementation, underscores this belief. Zoe’s forward-looking approach is evident in her interest in exploring industry trends and participating in events crucial for technological innovation and growth.

As the Development Operations Director, Zoe is committed to staying ahead of industry trends. She actively participates in trade shows and events, always seeking opportunities for learning and growth. Zoe’s passion for exploring new ideas and staying up-to-date with the latest developments benefits her role and the entire organisation.

Embracing Industry Insights and Networking at Women in Wholesale Event

Anticipating the Women in Wholesale event, Zoe recognises its significance by challenging stereotypes about wholesaling. “I think with wholesaling, when people think about it, they think about warehouses and, you know, assume that there isn’t a place for women in wholesaling. Negotiation plays a significant role in wholesaling, demanding a range of soft skills across different positions in the sector, skills that are equally valuable for both men and women,” she highlights.

The event, designed as a unique networking opportunity, encourages meaningful conversations, fostering connections and sharing insights. It challenges preconceptions and offers a platform for women in the industry to showcase their expertise and build a supportive network.

A Refreshing Approach to Career Advancement

Discussing her approach to career growth, Zoe shares a philosophy centered around job enrichment rather than a relentless pursuit of promotions. “I’ve never gone for promotions as such. But I’ve gone for job enrichment whenever possible,” she states. This personal ideology reflects a desire for continuous learning and a preference for variety in daily tasks. Zoe’s proactive stance toward her career, evident from her early investment in training courses, showcases her commitment to personal and professional development. A thirst for knowledge characterises her journey at BCP, her willingness to embrace challenges, and her determination to move beyond the status quo. Furthermore, her ethos reflects the broader culture at BCP, where growth is encouraged and avenues for advancement are plentiful.

Looking Ahead: Advocating for Women in IT and Wholesaling

As Zoe looks to the future, she passionately advocates for a more expansive representation of women in IT and wholesaling. Recognising the importance of highlighting roles that resonate with a diverse talent pool, Zoe’s journey at BCP is a powerful example of how diverse perspectives contribute to innovation and success in the tech industry.

Zoe’s story is a beacon of inspiration this International Women’s Day, not just for her achievements but for the inclusive and forward-thinking culture at Business Computer Projects. As we celebrate women’s accomplishments, let’s remember the environments that nurture and propel these successes forward and keep striving to create such spaces.