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Debbie Street

Co-Chair of CGI Women’s Network and Vice President, Consulting Services, CGI

The representation of women in the IT industry still has a long way to go, and it’s our job to help ensure women are heard and supported.

“Our Women’s Network is run by a committee of 20-plus members, of different ages, tenures, roles and backgrounds. That helps us get diverse thought and opinion from our employee base,” says Debbie Street, Co-Chair of CGI’s Women’s Network and Vice President, Consulting Services for Central Government clients.  

Street adds: “I think our industry has come on leaps and bounds from when I started 25 years ago, in terms of flexibility and recognising different talents. In those days, there was conscious bias, people were not considered for roles based on, for example, gender. I feel the real improvements at CGI come from a culture of openness and having conversations about bias in day-to-day activities. This helps us to move forward.” 

Initiatives for women 

The Women’s Network runs many initiatives to support women in their careers at CGI. One example is providing annual ‘Promotion Panel Know-how’ sessions, which give practical tips to help women prepare for promotion.  

Street explains that the Women’s Network has a reach outside of CGI, including helping ‘levelling up’: “Our members go to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) events to encourage girls to consider careers in IT. At a recent STEM camp we ran for young girls, two of twenty school girls had considered IT as a career option. But by the end of our discussion, ten were potentially interested in the idea.”  

CGI also works to bring career-changers and returners into the industry, particularly women who have had a career break and are looking for new opportunities. 

From my perspective, DE&I is about
having a range of thought and opinion.

Making a positive impact 

Another goal of the network is to work with clients to help them progress their women in tech agenda. “We also drive positive social value. For example, we standardised our process and gifts for new parents, working with a small social value partner, every time we send a gift to a CGI member that helps orphaned and abandoned children around the world. If we look beyond ourselves and act with consideration and kindness we believe people, social enterprise and businesses can go a long way.” 

Street adds: “From my perspective, DE&I is about having a range of thought and opinion, from people of diverse backgrounds, race, gender and ethnicity. All of our people are capable of challenging thinking and coming up with creative ideas; if we were all the same, we would lack that,” she concludes. 

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