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Before becoming Nokia’s senior vice-president of global marketing and marketplace activation, Charmaine Eggberry had built a reputation for championing the development of talent and building the profile of women in technology.
As vice-president and EMEA managing director at BlackBerry parent company RIM, Eggberry established the Women in Technology awards in 2005. She did this because inspiring women to join the sector made more sense than simply reeling off the dire statistics of a lack of female leadership.
“The tech industry doesn’t do enough to attract female talent. Statistics show that of the best and bright women joining, they tend to leave at the age of around 35 and aren’t necessarily rejoining,” Eggberry notes.
“As a responsible employer, you have to have a balanced company to reflect your audience. I started the BlackBerry Women in Technology awards to create role models, so we could tell positive stories. They weren’t all superstar chief executives but women making grassroots differences.”
The awards have not been run since 2008, but Eggberry maintains that the message is still relevant. Indeed, last year she was appointed as a board member and trustee of the Marketing Academy, which is now in its second year of offering year-long scholarships to 30 young marketers and is supported by Marketing Week.
Eggberry is a mentor and has one-to-one sessions with several of the scholars. She claims that having a good mentor is key to being successful in business, naming RIM’s chief operating officer Larry Conley and CEO Mike Lazaridis as her own previous personal mentors.
“The Marketing Academy isn’t just a mentoring scheme, but it exposes talent to a level of discipline in marketing they wouldn’t be exposed to normally,” says Eggberry.
“The people who have come to me have had specific business issues they wanted guidance in, from reviewing business plans to making decisions about their next move. One scholar had a big issue with how marketing is seen in his company and I had to help him overcome that and help him understand that marketing is both a science and an art.”
Eggberry says that her success has also been partly down to finding the right balance of her passions – technology, business and marketing.