Female exec prepares to change landscape

Female exec prepares to change landscape

CONSULTING and outsourcing giant Unisys has appointed self-confessed whirling dervish Terry Shubkin to oversee the New Zealand account management team.

Shubkin will provide direction for the client-facing team, which she describes as the lynchpin of the organisation.

“It’s where the company will fail or succeed. I wanted this role because Unisys needs local direction in this critical area. We have staff that are brilliant on the delivery side but need to be moved up a level to become more customer and business focused,” she says.

Last year Shubkin received the Unisys award for Asia-Pacific Sales Executive of the Year at the same time Unisys NZ won Subsidiary of the Year, which she says has helped put New Zealand on the international map.

“It means that people know about little old New Zealand. Additionally Unisys NZ has developed a business model for outsourcing engagements that is being rolled out worldwide.”

She believes the recognition Unisys is receiving from its corporate head office is due to a positive Kiwi mentality.

“Being smaller our team has a wider view of what needs to happen and we expect our people to do multiple things. Because you have so many people looking at the big picture you get a strong creative perspective and a get-on-with-it attitude.”

Aside from this role Shubkin is set to champion another cause — helping mentor and coach women in the industry — and believes New Zealand to be more advanced than other countries in this respect.

“Let’s face it, we have a female prime minister, until recently both our telcos were run by women and both Westpac and the Ministry of Justice have women in charge.”

Unite is a Women in Leadership programme that aims to provide a platform to raise awareness and discuss business issues with women in enterprise.

“Women approach things differently; I think by nature they tend to be more honest about their faults which can lead to a lack of confidence and it takes a bit of assurance and guidance to bring out their strength.”

She believes the industry is catching up though as more women enter the field, achieve high-level jobs and act as role models.

“There’s an element of the glass ceiling but from a senior point of view things are changing.

“Twenty years ago women weren’t getting into the industry so you didn’t have strong mentors, though it’s still a challenge to find them.”

For Shubkin mentoring can be an informal or formal process and she says in reality women tend to use each other as a sounding board.

“We still have the problem that IT is perceived as being for geeks. Young people need to be taught that you can actually have a career in IT without the programming side.”

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