IWD: Fostering an inclusive environment at Kindred

Estimated read time 4 min read

To mark International Women’s Day, Lesya Liskevych, head of product analytics at Kindred Group, explores the critical role of diversity and inclusion in transforming the gaming industry and the strategic advantages it brings to innovation, culture and success
The post IWD: Fostering an inclusive environment at Kindred first appeared on EGR Intel.  

Reflecting on my journey into tech, I realised that joining a tech company was less about a deliberate career choice and more about a quest for learning, opportunities and applying my skills to solve complex business challenges. The tech landscape presents unique hurdles, underscored by the World Economic Forum’s forecast that global gender equality may not be realised until 2154.

Despite not being initially aware of these challenges, my determination, partly fuelled by my Ukrainian heritage of resilience and ambition, pushed me to persevere. Yet, I recognise that not all women eyeing a tech career have this same foundation of confidence.

So, what must we do as female leaders in tech and broader organisations to elevate more women into senior roles and improve our gender ratios?

The answers, though straightforward, require time to materialise – hence the distant 2154 milestone for gender parity. Kindred’s commitment, supporting Women in Tech Sweden for eight years, aims to shift internal gender dynamics and influence the broader tech landscape. Each year, our booth at the event becomes a hub of activity, with Kindred’s leading women eschewing barriers and inspiring attendees to envision a career in tech. Our Accelerate graduate programme has been a testament to these efforts, welcoming 33 graduates since 2019, achieving a 50/50 gender split last year and maintaining a 96% retention rate. This slow yet steady progress underscores the long-term commitment required to foster a diverse and innovative workforce.

The 2023 Women in Tech survey highlighted a critical barrier: 22% of respondents identified early misconceptions and a lack of education as deterrents for women entering tech. This emphasises the need for increased role modelling and showcasing the breadth of opportunities, training programmes and support available within the broader tech industry, beyond the specific demands of the gambling sector.

As leaders, we pledge to demonstrate to all young individuals how inclusivity sparks innovation and leads to the development of superior solutions. In the gambling industry, where the call for women’s voices and allies is ever pressing, our theme for the year at Kindred is #InspireInclusion. We’ve engaged our senior leaders in defining inclusivity personally and committing to actions in 2024 that embody this principle. It’s evident that real change hinges on both commitment and accountability; embedding these values deeply into our culture.

Strength in numbers

Participating in Kindred’s Alchemy Leaders programme in 2021, I experienced firsthand the transformative power of allyship and mentoring. In tech, especially among women confronting ‘imposter moments’ – a term I prefer over ‘syndrome’ – the focus is too often mistakenly placed on technical skill at the expense of cultivating supportive relationships. The peer coaching within Alchemy’s programme revealed that challenges are universal across leadership levels, and only through allyship have I gained and offered sponsorship across the organisation.

Kindred’s tech organisation of circa 800 employees is currently at a 73% male to 27% female ratio – up from 24% in 2022 but there are still lots of opportunities to improve. Focusing on our analytics department, we’ve reached a 50/50 gender split in leadership roles and continue striving for equality across the entire division.

In areas like data science and machine learning engineering, we have boosted female representation from 0% to 37% in just three years – a clear indication of the dynamic, high-performing teams we’re building through adjustments in our hiring practices, such as adopting gender-neutral language and expanding our candidate pool beyond those with direct gambling experience.

Kindred’s path towards gender balance and inclusivity in tech is deliberate and layered. Through strategic hiring, graduate programmes, leadership development, community-building activities and role modelling, we are seeing improvements and are committed to fostering a workplace where diversity is not merely tolerated but celebrated. Looking ahead, our resolve to drive innovation through inclusivity remains unwavering as we continue to inspire and effectuate meaningful change.

Lesya Liskevych joined Kindred in 2017 and currently heads up the product analytics team. Her leadership spans clickstream data collection and transformation, experimentation, and product insights. Liskevych is a proud member of Kindred’s WomenKind Network steering committee, where she passionately advocates for increased representation and empowerment of women in the tech industry. Her dedication to advancing diversity and inclusion underscores her commitment to fostering innovation and excellence within the field.

The post IWD: Fostering an inclusive environment at Kindred first appeared on EGR Intel.

 

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