The benefit mentoring, initiatives and data play in gender diversity across tech roles.
People and technology is one the key areas we like to focus on at Gaming Eminence, therefore one person who we felt would be best to speak with on this topic is Anna Sainsbury Co-Founder and CEO of GeoComply as we discuss women in technology, career paths in tech, Machine learning & AI and the impact of leadership to remove unconscious bias in tech roles.
GE) There was a study done in 2020, by Accenture and Girls who Code which outlines women hold just 16% of engineering roles and 27% of computing roles in US companies  If we focus into the gambling industry do you feel those numbers are a higher or lower representation at this point in time? How do you feel the industry has progressed over the past 5 years?
AS) I can’t comment specifically on how accurate the numbers are, as unfortunately no such studies exist for gaming as far as I know. What I know is that the industry has made real progress over the past five years and we see more women excelling at technical roles than ever; however, there is still much room for improvement. For gender equality, I believe our industry needs both top-down and bottom-up approaches. When I attend conferences, hosting intimate dinners with my core “Women in Gaming” network helps me discuss important initiatives and thoughts with other female executives. In turn, I continue to come out inspired to champion fellow women leaders’ advocacy alongside this group as for us women leading various gaming focused organizations, sharing strategies and experiences on diversity that benefit the entire industry has been incredible beneficial.
From the bottom-up, we look to make opportunities and funding accessible to those who need it most; some of which are marginalized girls and women. GeoComply does this through our corporate social responsibility arm, our IMPACT Division. In particular, our popular International Women’s Day events provide disadvantaged women with concrete resources, like resume reviews and mentorship networks, to pursue careers and succeed.
GE) Based on your experience with the gambling industry and your own company, what do you think the key is to providing greater opportunities for women to advance in technical roles? What in your opinion would an ideal career pathway look like for a colleague graduate to a CTO?
AS) As a company in high-tech, we always start with the data. It’s not just filling half our seats with women, but also examining where women are landing and how their career trajectories pan out. We’re highly international company and try our best to encourage young talent to travel. More than 10% of our employees relocate or work out of multiple global offices during their time at GeoComply! In order to pursue leadership roles like a CTO, a technologist has to centre their work around customers’ problems and deliver solutions that directly respond to specific needs. Agile product thinking is what we prioritize in mentoring, and having new hires rotate across different arms of the business has proven to be extremely beneficial in providing the vantage point that this role requires. These experiences help technical talent, especially women, to grow in strategic knowledge, which in turn, prepares them for leadership.
GE) What disadvantages in product development do you feel operators will face in leveraging new technologies such as AI and machine learning without a diverse technical team on the back end?
We love a good challenge at GeoComply — even the obscure ones, and we see and solve those on a day to day basis. Our solutions are created from real-life use cases from our clients and keen observations from our data team. The experience we have garnered over the past 10 years gives us a competitive advantage with our clients and a fundamental human edge to all our designs.
All in all, our data science is powered by synergy between machine learning and human intelligence. Relationships with customers are at the heart of all this and the power of experience and this human connection is tough to replace with AI. We can’t wholeheartedly pursue a problem without comprehending the difficulties that customers face and the experiences our technical team has seen, allows us to understand out customers needs and fin applicable solutions. The diversity we have within our team helps us solve problems more effectively; without it, our scope would be hugely limited.
GE) We are seeing women having an influence at the executive level within the gambling industry such as Entain’s Jette Nygaard-Andersen, Bet365’s Denise Coates, and FanDuel’s Amy Howe to name a few. How important is diverse leadership in organizations to provide an impact on removing unconscious bias in technical roles?
AS) I look up to Jette, Denise, and Amy greatly. There’s an incredible volume of research supporting the conclusion that diverse leadership benefits businesses: from the profit perspective alone, gender diversity brings in 30% more revenue for companies. To address unconscious bias, our most recent passion project is <Code> Like A Girl Vietnam — a growing community of female technology professionals based in Saigon, connecting young talent with leaders they can look up to and skillsets for overcoming obstacles. At GeoComply we regularly assess gender parity in every department, at every level, and for all hiring roles. This tells us how women are faring in our organization, what challenges they face, and what opportunities they can enjoy; moreover, maintaining pay parity will always be a top priority for us.
About our contributor
Anna Sainsbury is the Co-Founder and CEO of GeoComply, a tech unicorn providing state-of-the-art digital identity and fraud detection solutions to a range of industries. Based in Vancouver, Canada, with six additional global offices, GeoComply’s products ensure seamless compliance in gaming, content streaming, and fintech.
Alongside her innovative ventures, Anna is also deeply dedicated to philanthropy. GeoComply’s CSR division, Impact, directs corporate attention towards addressing some of the most difficult challenges facing women and children today. She is passionate about stopping digital child exploitation and advocating for gender equality. Visit https://www.geocomply.com/