Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us, Sophie! Firstly, please introduce yourself.
Thank you. I’m Sophie Ross, Global CEO of FTI Technology, a segment of FTI Consulting. We are a global team of experts in Digital Insights and Risk Management, who provide corporate and law firm clients with tech-forward consulting and services that address critical areas of digital risk. This can include data privacy, discovery for litigation and investigations, as well as other solutions for information governance, compliance and legal operations. We operate in every major region around the world, and across our dynamic practice areas, we advise clients through their most complex challenges, while helping them balance innovation and business needs.
What are you looking forward to at Women of Silicon Valley?
I think any time you gather a group of women who are passionate about their industries and leadership, exciting things will happen. I’m looking forward to hearing from other women about how their organizations have dealt with the challenges of the past several years, as well as what programs are really moving the needle in terms of advancing more women into leadership roles. Having a chance to benchmark what’s working and what’s not will be really insightful. Overall, it’s going to be a great opportunity to learn and connect.
What can attendees expect from your session?
There’s been so much disruption — both in terms of technology innovation and immense challenges — since the start of the pandemic, and most companies are still reeling from the effects of that. In working with our clients, we’ve seen how all of these issues have collided to create unprecedented challenges, most of which have data at their heart.
During my session, I’ll talk about some of the consequences that have come out of this landscape, and discuss the things business leaders need to be thinking about and doing in order to recondition corporate culture, refine governance and continue pursuing innovation.
When you think about our theme for 2023, The New Frontier, what excites you about the future in tech, business and/or leadership?
I find the pace of change to be very exciting. Every new development carries the weight of new problems to solve and new opportunities to mine. This is actually true across technology advancement, business strategy and leadership. We’re in a very fast-paced world right now. That may be overwhelming to some at times, but if we take a positive slant, it can also keep things interesting and help people stay engaged and curious.
What would you say to your younger self about pursuing a career in tech and the future of women in tech?
The technology industry is changing very quickly. Even though I was a child who was naturally drawn to STEM fields, I could have never imagined some of the advancements that we’re seeing today. I’d tell myself to always expect the unexpected and always stay flexible, because technology is constantly evolving.
That’s what I love so much about working in this field. It’s always new. And that’s what I think is so exciting about being a woman in technology. There are more and more opportunities for women to look ahead and solve problems in unique ways. That’s not to say there isn’t more progress needed — because of course there is — but I’m very motivated by how far things have come for women since the years when I was one of the only women pursuing an engineering degree at my university.
What would be your one piece of advice to our attendees who might be feeling anxious about the insecurities of today?
No matter the environment or the turbulence around any industry, each person has an ability and an opportunity to make an impact. Many women are inclined to question themselves or be less vocal about what they can bring to the table, especially during times of uncertainty. So, my advice is to remember that you can make an impact. Think deeply about your strengths and trust in them. Feel empowered by the unique value that you bring, and do what you need to make your voice heard.
Women of Silicon Valley is built on community; what advice would you give to our attendees on building your network and furthering your presence?
I truly believe that leadership is all about collaboration, which of course requires a network and connection with your colleagues, mentors, mentees, clients, prospects and leaders you admire. I would say don’t be intimidated by hierarchy, but rather look for ways to collaborate with people you want to know better. This could be finding an opportunity to spearhead a joint project with a counterpart at another company, or engaging people in a corporate citizenship effort. If you look around, you’re sure to find common ground with many different types of people, which can open up endless possibilities for collaboration and networking.
Register for your place at Women of Silicon Valley now and join Sophie for her session, “Altered State: Digital Risk Management in the Wake of Business Disruption and Technology Acceleration” on May 25!