At Box, we believe great ideas can come from anywhere in the company. We enable Boxers to champion their ideas and drive their career, supporting them in any path.In this series, we spotlight Boxers to showcase what #LifeatBox is all about.With that, we’re excited to introduce you to Verity White, a Partner Sales Director, based in Australia.
Why did you join Box?
You can't be successful in business without taking risks! I had to step outside of my comfort zone to continue to drive myself and grow. After 8 years at the same company, I had reached a point in my career where I had done every partner sales role & type, across two continents, and in order to keep learning, I needed a new challenge. I was in discussions with the majority of all of the major technology companies in Australia and overseas when I interviewed with Box. Box was the one company that was completely different and stood out because the entire interview process showed them to be laser focused on culture and their value "Be an Owner."
It was clear Box puts a priority on driving a collaborative environment where everyone is working toward the same company goal, executing at the fastest pace in the market, and being the absolute leader of driving equality and diversity for women in the workplace. You can clearly see this reflected in the recent and continued awards and accolades that Box has achieved in this space.
What are the key issues surrounding recruiting women in the Australia and New Zealand tech industry?
Not only do we have a shortage issue, but the women in tech are generally not elevated to leadership roles as quickly. This issue is compounded for younger women in the workplace who are interested in ascending to leadership roles. Our workforce is changing and I want to challenge the barriers that are facing young women. I do this through a number of ways, one being the Box hiring process. I am part of the interview loop for all ANZ roles and proactively relationship build with other women in the Australia technology and business world. I aim to build a strong pipeline of female candidates for future role consideration at Box. I take great pride in ensuring a fair and balanced approach to our interviewing and selection process and having a good balance of candidates.
How has Box supported your career and the careers of other women?
Box treats gender equality as a strategic business issue and not a token side project! Box is much more concrete about accelerating female talents into leadership positions and have in place support structures to do so.
We have a series of initiatives to support the Women at Box including an employee resource group called "Box Women's Network" or BWN. The purpose of BWN is to share knowledge, education, personal experiences and ask for help where needed. We have a dedicated BWN slack channel available to the group with an objective to create a community for Box women to support each other as we each navigate our professional and personal growth. In addition, we have regular events in person and via Zoom with a goal to facilitate open dialogue. Our most recent BWN event was a social coffee cocktail making class which Boxers from the BWN joined in all different locations, time zones and varying roles all over the globe to come together and participate.
I am also fortunate in my position to be part of the Box Global XLT (Executive Leadership Team). As a result of this, I am able to be part of some exceptional programs like Box Women's Network XLT where we also have BWN XLT Networking Events. This provides an opportunity to provide feedback to our senior leadership team, and have ongoing connections discussing strategic topics.
Finally we also provide female Boxers the opportunity to be a part of a formalized Mentor program called ERC Mentorship dedicated to BEN (Black Excellence Network), BWN and Latinx. This is unlike anything I have seen anywhere I have worked before! We are encouraging Boxers to make the most out of the program by investing the time in yourself, taking full advantage of your mentor and utilizing program resources—including a great community of peers! This cross-functional and collaborative approach in our employee resource communities enable a stronger foundation for support.
Box personally has taught me how to have an empathetic and collaborative leadership style, taking learnings from some of our best female Boxers through the above programs.
Who is a woman that has inspired you to get to where you are today?
Clare Barclay who is now the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft UK inspired and influenced much of the early shape of my career. I worked for Clare back in the UK when she was the SMB Director. Now nearly 10 years later, she has risen greatly in her career and arguably to be one of the most influential UK CEOs. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the benefit of working for Clare, who taught me many lessons, such as "to never take no for an answer," to be confident, bold and assertive, and also gave me some of the most constructive feedback of my career.
From a non-technology background, I really admire Naomi Simson and her approach to leadership. Naomi Simson,as an entrepreneur founded the online experience and gift retailer RedBalloon in 2001 launching it as a tiny online business and running it from her living room. It took exactly two months and four days before her startup even had a customer! Today, Red Balloon is worth $25 million, and employs over 50 staff. That level of tenacity is truly inspiring.
What is the key message you would give women pursuing leadership roles?
I think the key message is that you don't have to feel ready to be ready; women often won't apply for roles unless they feel they are 100% qualified. I want to help support and inspire women to aim high and go for the senior roles they are just as capable of doing. I have always gone for roles that have been considered "senior beyond my years" and I have had many comments and much pushback. Companies should encourage women to take ownership of their own career and development, but also support them through structured D&I programs, such as mentoring. Having strong mentors, coaches and champions has been a huge contributor to the progress I have made during my career. Great coaches are your external eyes and ears providing a more accurate picture of your reality and recognizing the fundamentals. A great coach should break your actions down and then help you build them back up again. Help build on your strengths and address weaknesses.
Thank you, Verity, for taking the time to be a part of our Boxer Spotlight series. We look forward to seeing what you'll do next at Box!