Drew Fivey, Data & BI Talent Consultant, Mirai Talent & Co-Founder, she does data

Drew Fivey is a Data and Tech Recruitment Specialist at Mirai, deeply committed to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the tech industry. Passionate about creating opportunities for underrepresented groups, Drew recently co-founded ‘she does data.’ a nonprofit that supports and inspired women in data through education, mentorship, and networking. Her work aims to build more inclusive workplaces and encourage equitable practices within the industry. Drew’s commitment to these goals defines her approach to recruitment and her contributions to the tech community.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with Digital First Magazine, Drew shared her professional trajectory, insights on the importance of diversity and inclusion in tech, the best piece of advice she has ever received, future plans, words of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Drew. Tell us about your career path. What experiences have brought you here?

My career in the tech industry took a slightly unconventional route. After graduating from university, my journey was paused by pregnancy, during which I started my own e-commerce store. This venture was a profound learning experience in digital business operations. It was through this experience that I discovered my keen interest in the intersection of technology and business, which led me into the recruitment sector. I now work as a Data & Tech Specialist at Mirai, a boutique agency focused on actively promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the data and tech sectors.

Throughout my career, my passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) has been a constant driving force. I’ve always believed in the importance of building inclusive workplaces where diverse perspectives are valued and leveraged for innovation. At Mirai, I channel this passion into action, ensuring that our recruitment practices not only meet but champion these values. Establishing ‘she does data.’ was a natural progression in my commitment to this cause, aiming to inspire and empower women in data, a field where they are significantly underrepresented.

I feel incredibly fortunate to work in a role where I can make a meaningful difference in DE&I, helping to shape a more inclusive and equitable tech industry.

What are your thoughts on diversity and inclusion in tech? How important is it to have authentic conversations with leaders, professionals, and changemakers to create more acceptance across the globe?

Operating in the data space and being a data driven company, it’s important to highlight the gender disparity, as well as other areas of lack of diversity through statistics. We are always shocked to hear statistics like 65% of the STEM workforce are white men! (APPG Diversity and Inclusion)

At Mirai, this is why we are taking positive steps, to firstly highlight the problem and secondly take positive steps towards change. Diversity and inclusion can be a tick-box exercise but foundational principles that guide our recruitment strategies and the ethos of our company.

One of my favorite quotes and something that I live to achieve is “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance” – Verna Myers

Authentic conversations with industry leaders and change-makers through our platforms facilitate a broader understanding and acceptance across the globe, pushing for a more inclusive tech ecosystem. These discussions are vital—they help debunk myths, highlight success stories, and encourage more inclusive practices across the global tech landscape.

Women aren’t the only underrepresented group in tech – what can be done to make tech more diverse across race, class, and gender?

It’s essential to first address barriers that affect underrepresented groups across race, class, and gender. We must take this back to the roots of education, inspiring the younger generation from various socio-economic backgrounds, and showcasing spotlights on ‘role models’ of every race, so that the younger generation can picture themselves in tech roles.

One impactful way to broaden access to tech careers is through the promotion of free apprenticeships. These programs offer hands-on learning experiences and professional development opportunities without the financial burden of traditional education paths. Free apprenticeships are particularly valuable as they provide practical, real-world experience, making them an excellent entry point for individuals from diverse backgrounds who may not have the opportunity to attend college / university or pursue formal tech training. At Mirai and ‘she does data’. we are actively looking to partner with schools from low-income areas, so that we can inspire and encourage young individuals. Education can cultivate social and cultural knowledge and skills which can impact an individuals social mobility. It allows them to create relationships, build networks, and social connections that can open the door to various different job opportunities.

One way we can begin to enhance racial diversity by supporting and sponsoring tech boot camps and workshops specifically tailored for minority groups. These programs not only provide the necessary skills but also help build confidence and establish essential networks within the tech community.

Moreover, companies should commit to inclusive hiring practices that consciously aim to reduce bias—whether conscious or unconscious. One thing that we have been successfully implementing at Mirai is blind recruitment processes, where candidates’ names and other demographic information are omitted from their applications, to focus purely on skills and qualifications – we have have really positive on this method feedback so far.

By implementing inclusive hiring practices and supporting career advancement for diverse talent through mentoring and training, our aim is to create an ecosystem where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”

What are the top skills, both technical and soft skills, that are greatly needed in the current technology industry?

We are seeing a huge increase in sought-after technical skills including proficiency in data engineering, data science AI, machine learning, cloud computing. However, the soft skills that truly make a candidate stand out include creativity, curiosity and problem solving.

As well as this, we are seeing a need for critical thinking, adaptability, leadership, and the ability to collaborate effectively across diverse teams. These skills are crucial for driving innovation and adapting to the rapidly changing tech landscape.

How do you think we can attract more young women to the STEM field?

To encourage more young women to pursue careers in STEM, we need to start by breaking down stereotypes and increasing visibility of female role models in these fields. It’s about reframing the industry to highlight its inclusivity, creativity, and impact. This begins with changing the narrative around what it means to work in tech. Instead of solely focusing on the technical challenges, we should also emphasize the creative problem-solving, collaborative work environments, and the ability to make a meaningful impact on society—whether through developing innovative healthcare solutions, advancing sustainable technologies, or creating accessible educational tools.

Through Mirai and ‘she does data.’ we are looking to host more events, mentorship programs, and hands-on workshops that expose young women to the possibilities in STEM. We are building a unique platform where females can champion each other, sharing success stories and journeys that may not be your typical route to industry, and allowing young females to see themselves in STEM leadership roles and inspire confidence and sense of possibility.

In your academic or work career, were there any mentors who have helped you grow along the way? What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to receive guidance from several key mentors who have profoundly influenced my professional outlook. They taught me the importance of resilience and lifelong learning. The best advice I received was from my director, Emma, who told me ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ which has profoundly influenced my passion to drive change in the industry.

The meaning of leadership can change from one era to another, how would you define the meaning of leadership today?

Successful leadership today is about inspiring and facilitating change – it’s important now more than ever to take a coaching approach when it comes to leadership. A modern leader must be adaptable, transparent, empathetic, and compassionate, and must prioritise sustainability and ethical practices. At Mirai, we strive to embody these qualities by creating a culture where everyone is encouraged to share ideas and where diverse perspectives are celebrated as essential to our success.

By focusing on developing individuals’ strengths, coaching leaders enhance team performance and adaptability. This leadership style builds trust, improves communication, and empowers team members to take initiative and innovate, leading to sustained organisational success.

What is it that motivates and inspires you in your everyday life?

At Mirai, many of our practices are rooted within Japanese culture, indulging Ikigai and Kaizen, our purpose is for everyone in the team to have an aligned ikigai and ‘reason for being’.

My ikigai comes from the success stories from individuals within our community at Mirai and ‘she does data.’ and making a difference to the industry. Whether it’s seeing a candidate thrive in their dream job or breaking barriers in their tech career, these stories fuel my passion. They reaffirm the impact of our work and inspire me to continue advocating for change in the tech industry.

Fun fact about you?

A fun fact about me which many don’t know, is that I have ADHD, which I proudly call my superpower! It enhances my creativity and gives me a unique ability to hyper-focus. It allows me to think outside the box and approach problems from innovative angles that others might not consider. ADHD also gifts me with boundless energy and the ability to juggle multiple tasks at once, making me highly adaptive and versatile. It’s like operating with a brain that’s wired for high-speed broadband! This helps a lot in recruitment as I am able to rapidly shift focus to find and match the perfect candidates with incredible opportunities and find solutions for clients that others might otherwise overlook.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Looking ahead, I plan to leverage our shared passions at Mirai to scale ‘she does data.’ into a global platform, expanding our presence to the U.S. My goal is to not only increase the number of women in tech but to also ensure they have influential roles in shaping the future of technology. I also envision myself advocating for policy changes that support diversity and inclusion at higher institutional levels.

What advice would you give to women who want to enter the tech industry?

For women aspiring to enter the tech industry, my foremost advice is to cultivate a strong foundation in both technical and soft skills. Embrace learning; the tech field is ever-evolving, so continuous education and skill development are crucial. Seek out coding bootcamps, online courses, and certifications that can enhance your proficiency and competitiveness in areas like software development, data analysis, or cybersecurity.

Networking plays a critical role in the tech industry. Join tech-focused groups, attend industry conferences, and participate in tech meetups in your area. Platforms like LinkedIn can also be valuable for connecting with industry professionals. Don’t hesitate to reach out for informational interviews as many professionals are willing to share advice and insights.

Finding mentors is another key step. Look for mentorship programs through organisations like ‘she does data.’ or other tech associations that focus on supporting women. A mentor can provide guidance, career advice, and introductions that are invaluable as you navigate your career path.

It’s also important to develop resilience and confidence. The tech industry can be challenging, especially for women who are underrepresented in this field. Believe in your skills, advocate for yourself, and don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Remember, your perspective is unique and necessary to drive innovation in tech.

Lastly, contribute to the community. Whether it’s through coding contributions to open-source projects, writing articles, or speaking at events, getting involved in the community not only builds your skills but also raises your profile in the tech ecosystem. It’s a powerful way to make connections and establish yourself as a tech professional.

Most importantly, believe in yourself!

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