IN TALK WITH KATHLEEN DELANEY, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AT KOFAX: SUPPORTING WOMEN IN THE TECH INDUSTRY
As Kofax CMO, Kathleen Delaney is responsible for all global marketing functions, including product marketing, demand generation, digital marketing, social media, marketing operations, events, and public and analyst relations. Kathleen Delaney is one example of how women can successfully lead in technology.
Men mostly dominate the world of technology. However, it does not mean that the role of women is not essential. Technology has a vital role in shaping society, and of course, the role of women is also needed.
Hence, technology companies are being challenged to build a more gender-balanced workforce and elevate more women into leadership positions.
As Kofax CMO, Kathleen Delaney is responsible for all global marketing functions, including product marketing, demand generation, digital marketing, social media, marketing operations, events, and public and analyst relations.
Before joining Kofax, she served as CMO at HireRight, a global provider of employment background checks, drug testing, education verification, and related solutions via a digital platform. Kathleen was also CMO for Vistage Worldwide, a global membership organization serving business leaders.
She has held executive-level marketing roles at several major financial and risk management companies, including Aon Risk Solutions, LexisNexis, and Dow Jones and Company. Kathleen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Econometrics and French at Rutgers University. She also holds an MBA in Finance/International Business from the Leonard Stern School of Business at New York University.
Kathleen Delaney is one example of how women can successfully lead in technology. Let's join The S Media Team's conversation with her.
In your opinion, how important is technology in influencing societies and economies?
Tremendously so! Over the past two years, we saw businesses accelerate their digital strategies and the crucial role IT played in overcoming the economic paralysis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. As technologies and innovation become more embedded in people's lives, societies adjust, and people embrace new ways of working, interacting, and communicating with each other to meet the demands of the new digital era.
Policymakers are taking a progressive position to make technology an ally for economic growth. In Indonesia, for example, emerging technologies have dramatically reshaped its financial strategies—from manufacturing and urban planning to e-commerce, which spurs the designing of appropriate policies to support the country’s digital transformation strategy. The Asian Development Bank expects technological transformation to grow the Indonesian economy to USD2.8 trillion by 2040.
What stands in the way of more female leaders?
While there are efforts to advance gender equality, statistics have shown the gender gap still exists. Is it because women don’t have access to opportunities that pave the way for leadership roles? Is it a lack of intentional mentoring to ensure women have the skills they need to take on more responsibility? Is it those precious child-bearing years really do set them back, which may make some women feel they have to choose work/career vs. family? Unconscious bias? Meaning some leaders – men and women alike – simply don’t recognize the behaviors in their own organizations that favor one group over another?
I believe it’s all of the above and so much more. I’m not a fan of generalizations, and if the answer were straightforward, the debate would not be as robust. The realities created by the questions above may indirectly impact women's aspirations, thus causing them to perceive limits in their opportunities for career growth or push them to withdraw from the workforce completely. Organizations play a crucial role in providing an inclusive work environment to support the entirety of their workforce and their career growth.
Other misconceptions include associating women with certain skills or lack thereof that hinders women from gaining a seat at the table. Such stereotypes or unconscious biases have resulted in several institutional barriers and gender biases prevalent in societies today. Organizations need to do more to ensure everyone is given equal opportunity for skill development and leadership opportunities.
Many stories claim that workplace gender discrimination has increased throughout the pandemic. What is your opinion?
I don’t think there’s anything about the pandemic that would increase gender discrimination. However, I do know the issue of childcare hit women at a disproportionally higher rate. And single parents – they definitely had challenges! So again, you potentially had a situation where women were self-selecting out of the workplace, and since so few are in tech, to begin with, the issue would be magnified.
What impact will the pandemic have on women's future economic opportunities?
While we still have a long way to go in overcoming pandemic-related challenges, technology has normalized the work-from-anywhere (WFA) model. Organizations are expected to embrace this model, and hybrid work is expected to be more mainstream in the post-pandemic era. According to a 2021 survey by EY, 67 percent of respondents in Indonesia believe work culture has improved and job satisfaction remains high in the country. With more Indonesian companies transforming their Human Resources management system to accommodate flexible work arrangements, more women, especially those with familial responsibilities, will be able to have a better career and income prospects.
As companies increase the adoption of technology such as automation in transforming and streamlining workflows, an organization’s greatest asset is still its people. Many businesses are investing in reskilling and upskilling their workforce, which will help employees successfully transition as transformation strategies are rolled out.
We believe that your company is very supportive of women's career development. Could you please tell us more about that?
Kofax believes women are an integral part of the workforce, especially in the technology sector, where women are in the minority. In the past year, Kofax has organized two virtual roundtable sessions with female leaders to speak about their experiences and challenges within the male-dominated technology industry. It’s vital to have these conversations to highlight Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) blind spots within organizations and create more opportunities for women by breaking the gender bias. We also have a very robust “Women at Kofax” internal affinity group to support women across the company. And we actively seek out diverse candidate slates for open roles, pushing recruiters to find the best talent across the market.
What benefits do you think a corporation that strongly supports gender parity in the workplace would have?
Initiatives that aim to address the gender gap can benefit organizations. In recruitment, for instance, D&I projects can attract a wider talent pool. In developing new market opportunities, having a diverse team can expand perspectives, improving the understanding of all customer bases. Workplaces that promote an inclusive culture lead with an innovation mindset make them more willing to experiment and become pioneers in the industry.
In the wake of The Great Resignation, companies that actively support gender equality have better chances of attracting and retaining talent. Workplaces must evolve, and as transformation takes place, the deeper levels of inequality that exist within must be addressed.
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