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Lora Barclay: From ‘Hablo Español’ to Talking Tech 

Lora Barclay. Photo: Waterstons

by Lora Barclay, Business Systems Lead & Client Partner at Waterstons

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and, as a bilingual speaker, I became passionate about learning languages. So, by the age of 14, I had decided that’s what I wanted to teach.  

I moved from France to Scotland to support my career, as the UK school system would allow me to reach my career goal more quickly and easily. 

I had the pleasure to work in a language school for a couple of years and loved it. The kids were great fun, and I then went on to run adult classes which were a laugh! 

The school was sold, so I took a temporary job with IBM as a Support Contract Administrator, and was quickly promoted to the EMEA Dispute Coordinator. 

When my six-month contract came up for renewal, I realised I really enjoyed this job – and that I was very good at it! I had always enjoyed technology but never thought you could work in the industry without doing open heart surgery on a computer. 

At a near two-year anniversary, it became apparent that promotion to a full time IBM contract & managerial position was mostly driven by your gender rather than performance. It was then that I realised sex discrimination was actually a thing. 

Lora Barclay. Photo: Waterstons

This made me angry and fuelled my drive for progression.  

So instead of letting it get me down, I started to strive to break the cycle by simply not entertaining organisations that would not reward me or give me access to progression opportunities based on being a woman. 

I am now a Business Systems Lead & Client Partner with Waterstons, supporting numerous clients with their technology needs. I also manage our internal business systems to make sure our people have the tools they need to do their job easily. 

We can make a change, and we need to drive the change, so: 

  • Don’t be defeated 
  • Surround yourself by female role models or, better still, a female mentor within a senior role. They will provide the best advice to navigate the male-dominated world of tech as they’ve already done it. 
  • Raise a positive profile for yourself and others around you to be the mentor and inspiration for the next generation.