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Male allies to women in tech: Dan Macklin, Chief Technology Officer

Dan Macklin

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Our 4th male ally, as part of our special showcase is Dan Macklin, Chief Technology Officer at My Clever Group. Dan shares some absolutely pivotal advice for men aiming to be better allies to women in tech.

What’s your role and where do you work?

I’m the CTO of My Clever Group.  I normally work in Stoke On Trent but am working from home at the moment!

How did you get into tech?

I suppose I got into tech because of my love of chaos!  When I was young I wasn’t good at keeping my room tidy.  So when I was introduced to computers, I found this virtual world where I could structure everything exactly how I wanted.  I wasn’t bogged down by my parents’ constraints of tidiness or order,  so was free to solve problems exactly how I wanted.  

What is it about tech that you love?

I love that tech gives you the freedom to innovate on a global basis.  You have this incredibly malleable medium that you can mould how you want.  This flexibility allows me to experiment quickly and build products that impact at a global level.

What role do you think men have in creating a more inclusive tech industry?

I think that men have a huge role to play in building a more inclusive tech industry by inspiring people from different backgrounds to get involved and then giving them space to be part of the team.  In addition men who are in leadership positions need to make sure that female tech careers are sustainable.  Often I see women leave tech because they become disillusioned with their careers.   We need to make sure that women stay in tech for the long run by ensuring pay and promotion are based on skill not gender.

You’ve been highlighted as a great example of an ally and mentor to women in tech. Is this something that has come naturally to you, or have you been inspired and encouraged by others?

I would like to think that I am a natural ally, but in all honesty for much of my career I didn’t see the problem. It was only after daughter was born I began to see the lack of diversity and started to try to do something about it.

What do you believe to be the benefits of encouraging and supporting women in tech?

One of hardest things in tech is finding the right problems to solve.  There are literally millions of great ideas out there, but only a limited number of solvable problems matter to a lot of people.  The companies that find the right problems are wildly successful, the rest are just building great solutions to problems that nobody cares about. 

In my experience, teams with diverse backgrounds are best placed to find and solve these “right” problems because they have the right blend of perspective, understanding and life experience.  It therefore makes economic sense to encourage women into IT to make sure that teams get the right diversity mix.

What tangible and actionable advice would you give to other men in tech to be better allies to women in tech?

The advice that I would give to men is to open their eyes to the problem.  It took the birth of my daughter, and her love of tech to shake me into action.  So –

  • Take a look at the teams that you are working in and establish how diverse they are.  
  • If you don’t like what you see, track down women who have successful careers in technology.  
  • Ask them how they succeeded and the barriers that they had to overcome.  
  • This new found empathy will help you work out what to do next.  

At My Clever Group we are really lucky to have an abundance of female leaders like Nicky Hoyland – our CEO, Suzi Archer – our Head of People and Talent and Hannah Smith – our Group Marketing Manager, so I don’t have to go far to get great advice!  

As a Leader, what is your biggest challenge to contributing to gender diversity in your team and in the broader workforce?

Recently we have been recruiting for a number of senior engineering roles in our team.  When we went to the market, we were surprised by how few women we had applying.  After a lot of effort we were able to recruit a diverse team, but the availability of senior female engineers did give us some sleepless nights.

What do you believe companies should be doing to ensure they are more inclusive and therefore creating more diverse workplaces?

In our experience, it all comes down to creating a good culture. Companies should strive to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy a long-term career in technology.  They should progress people on merit and have recruitment and promotion policies that eliminate bias.  Most importantly, companies should try to work out how much a lack of diversity actually costs them.  When they do this they will quickly see the economic benefits that diverse teams bring.

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