Women in Leadership: Walking the Walk in IT

Published April 7 2021
Rachel Julia Andrews, Vice President of Communications and Marketing
Rachel Julia Andrews
Vice President of Communications and Marketing
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Rachel Julia Andrews recently joined Alithya as Vice President of Communications and Marketing. Her great expertise in the field has earned her a mention from the Cabinet of the Government of Quebec as a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Within Alithya, one of her first challenges was to implement leadership initiatives promoting gender equality in the IT industry. We sat down with her to better understand the dynamics and process behind these inspiring actions.

Can you tell us about your arrival at Alithya and how the last few months have unfolded in the current environment?

I joined Alithya last July, as the team was beginning to adapt to the new reality of the pandemic. I was given a virtual welcome, which was as warm as I could have wished for. The bond of trust that I immediately established with my new team and my supervisor made my integration much easier.

Shortly after I started, the CEO told me about a project that was launched in October to “rekindle the flame” of women about leadership. The pandemic briefly put the initiative on hold, but he wanted to get back to implementing real measures highlighting the importance of diversity in its widest sense, but more importantly, to close the significant gender gap IT talent acquisition.

We immediately took steps to give women a voice, as well as to enable the entire company to speak out on diversity and parity issues. These initiatives were approved and encouraged by senior management and would be run entirely by Alithya employees, which I found particularly motivating.

What are Alithya’s recent women in leadership initiatives?

First, we tried to get employees involved by inviting them to submit songs by female artists with empowering themes to create a playlist on Spotify. The idea was to build momentum for the campaign and show that everyone has a role to play.

We also requested an audit of the company by Women in Governance, a non-profit organization that supports women in their leadership development, career advancement and access to Board seats. With concrete actions like this and transparent reporting of our results, we are renewing our commitment to corporate responsibility and parity.

The launch of a new global divisional intranet and the creation of a virtual meeting place will enable employees at all levels to become more involved and visible throughout the company. This will include the ability to speak out on parity and diversity issues and to join committees that address these issues.

More recently, we hosted a series of discussions and talks with inspirational speakers who help promote different aspects of women leadership. As a result of this initiative, we recorded a podcast with Dany Paradis, Senior Vice President of Alithya for Québec, who shared her journey in the IT industry.

In conclusion, how do you see the future of women leadership at Alithya?

In the short term, our corporate culture will undoubtedly allow us to attract female talent and leaders who share our perspective on parity and diversity. By providing a platform that people can make their own, we will be able to develop future leaders who can truly contribute. Based on my experience, this approach really works.