International Women’s Day 2021 Interview with Cecille McCutcheon, COO/Director and Co-Founder

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Did you know that  75% of the tech industry is made up of Males? That is why at Plezzel, we are incredibly fortunate to have a female leader Cecille McCutcheon, as our COO/Director and Co-Founder. Co-Founding Plezzel back in 2010, whilst also bringing three young kids into the world is pretty amazing and with International Women’s day this week we spent some time finding out how Cecille made her career where it is today.

International Women’s Day 2021 

International Women’s Day (IWD) has become an important fixture in the global calendar to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Each year, organisations, public bodies and individuals all over the world use the day to reflect upon and push forward for gender equality. Every IWD has a particular theme. In 2021, the theme is: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

The world of technology still has a long way to go before it achieves equality. That makes female leadership in the tech space particularly important and worthy of celebration. At the moment, the industry is made up of over 75% men. The themes highlighted on International Women’s Day are an opportunity to reflect on female leadership and gender equality in tech.

Meet Cecille 

At Plezzel, we are incredibly fortunate as a tech company to have a great female leader in our COO/Director and Co-Founder Cecille McCutcheon. Cecille is extremely smart, methodical and analytical while at the same time humble. She’s not one for the limelight but she really is the heartbeat of the company. Cecille’s story serves as an inspiration to the mission of gender equality and female empowerment in tech. 

Cecille has over 20 years of experience across many industry sectors including banking, finance, manufacturing, retail and real estate. Her career is defined by hard work, dedication and motivation. She’s worked in the UK and the Netherlands, as well as at home here in Australia. 

Cecille is never more comfortable than when she’s leading a team or overseeing projects, drawing on her wealth of knowledge as an accountant, business analyst and project manager to find the best solutions to complex problems. This combination of diverse experience and passion about creating great customer experiences is what makes Cecille such a high achiever and fantastic leader.

We asked Cecille a few questions about her amazing journey from an accountant to a leader in tech. 

 

An interview with Cecille

How did your interest in tech begin, was it something from childhood or something you fell into?

I never envisioned working in technology when I was younger. I was trained as an accountant and I realised early on that being an accountant wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I was fortunate that my first employer was changing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and I got thrown into that project to cover the accounting side. 

Ever since then I have spent over 25 years working on various systems implementations and projects across many different industries. This includes implementing off-the-shelf products, building green field projects and building products. Technology platforms that work with a team is something I enjoy and find very satisfying.

What moment did you decide that starting up a new company was the career move you wanted to make?

It was a gradual decision, it came to the point where an opportunity came at my previous employer to take a voluntary redundancy. When I weighed up all the options, I decided to take up the offer and focus 100% on the business full time.

You have three beautiful young kids, all ages similar to Plezzel. How did you manage motherhood and a new company at the same time?  

I don’t know! LOL! When I reflect and look back it has only been due to family support. Greg and I have been fortunate enough with a supportive family, my mother in-law, sister in law and dad have been there to help with the kids and all their extracurricular activities.  

I also learned the art of time management, keeping focused and efficiency. That and time-boxing. I learned that family time is family time and once kids were in bed, that was the time I could focus on getting other things done.

Do you have any mentors that helped shape your career?

Interestingly enough all my mentors have been male. Maybe that was because of the lack of female representation in IT in the early years, but I have seen that change in the past 10 years or so. The best mentor I had was someone who made me question my personal views at the time and helped me widen my outlook.   

At the time (I was in my late 20’s/early 30’s), I was not very confident and felt that I had to perform at 110% in all areas to be any good at anything. He helped me see that my perception of things were not reality and my 80% was actually better than most other people’s 100%.

Do you have any advice for other females wanting to get into tech and or start up a new business?

Persistence and grit. Just believe in yourself and what you are trying to create. Realise it will be hard work and there will be sacrifices along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice when you need it. When you’re starting a business, it’s hard to predict all the challenges that will come up along the journey and no-one knows all the answers up front. So reaching out to people who have the knowledge or have travelled that path before certainly helps. Just be prepared to tackle each new problem that comes along as a learning opportunity and not stress too much if you don’t know the answers. 

Now you have been doing this for over 10 years, what do you think your next steps are?

I think I will start to look at areas where I can provide mentorship and guidance to others, where I will be able to give back to the wider community. I find females think differently to males and are able to multitask more effectively than male counterparts. I would love to get more females on board at Plezzel especially in the development space, however I am finding that there are not a lot of females out there in the talent pool with an IT degree. I am currently working with the local university to seek out females as part of their graduate program.

At Plezzel, we strive to have women in leadership roles making the big decisions. Over half of our leadership team is female and we know this is part of our success.

By – Plezzel Marketing Manager
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