International Women's Day: Nilpa Patel, Logicalis

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we chatted to women from across the industry about their start in the industry and what they’re most proud of. In this interview,  Nilpa Patel, strategic partner manager for the UK at Logicalis, tells us how a desire to get into the workplace and start earning changed her focus from law to business. 

Nilpa, tell us how you got started? 

I always wanted to be a lawyer. The idea of advising clients on criminal and civil law had always appealed to me. To be honest, technology felt boring and geeky.  However, the thought of training and studying in law for 6 years (at least) was too long for me, I was hungry to get into the workplace, building relationships and to start earning money. 

So in the end I completed a degree in Business & Information Technology – a complete U-turn I know. At 18 I was offered a role as an Internal Account Manager within the IT industry.  I was like an excited kid in a sweet shop!  

For me, the biggest advantage of choosing the IT sector as a career is the low cost of education and it’s an ever-evolving industry with so much to learn on the job. I’ve certainly found that networking is key. 

What are you proudest of?

My proudest achievement was when I moved into the Professional Services Manager role which meant stepping outside of my comfort zone - all whilst managing to teenagers as a single mum. Learning new skills and getting to grips with the world of professional services really did put me to the test.  However, I have been fortunate to have had great mentors and an amazing management team who have supported my development. They believed in me to push myself that little bit further and most importantly with confidence.   

My current role as a Strategic Partner Manager with the passion to develop life-long relationships with clients, vendors, and partners alike is a great fit for me.  I manage the strategic partner relationships with vendors as well as the Ecosystem partners.  Having started with a few vendors 18 months ago to a handful during the pandemic, has had its challenges, nonetheless, it’s has been equally rewarding and I very much enjoy the role, thanks to the great support around me.

How has the journey been?

As a female icon within the IT industry and diversity in the mix, it has been tough at times. Often the majority of key stakeholders; managers, executives, CEO’s are male (within the big IT players).  Women think very differently, for me it's a matter of knowing your audience and knowing how they're going to react to information. I think you're more hyper-aware if you're a female in a male-dominated space.  I think for me, next would be developing my role further, perhaps towards an EMEA Strategic Partner Manager with a strong team behind me. 

What advice would you give to women starting out?

Have more confidence in yourself and make sure your salary is fair and reflective of your role and experience.   

Also, be true to who you are. Don't think you have to act, talk and think like a male to keep up. Because you need to be respected as a female. Females act, think and talk differently.  And if we are going to get the respect we deserve, we have to do so on our level.  It’s nice to see more organisations promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace, it’s vital to have an inclusive environment where everyone feels able to participate and achieve their potential.

 

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