"As a leader, you won't be successful by yourself. You win by lifting people.": Q&A with Karin Hilton from Elsevier

November 12, 2019 | Karin Hilton, Elsevier


One of our Gold sponsors of European Women in Technology 2019, Karin Hilton, Senior Technology Director at Elsevier, spoke to us about what excites her about the industry and her advice for people both within and pursuing a career in tech.


Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m English but I’ve grown up all around the world so I have some international quirks! I have a son of 25, whom I am immensely proud of but he is grown and flown. Rather than be an empty nester, I have 2 Great Danes and 3 cats. 


What’s a typical day at work like for you? 

There is no such thing as a typical day at work and that’s probably the key for my world. I can share some patterns though: 

- I plan to have a crisis, because there will always be a crisis, no matter how big or small. It helps to have space to deal with it. You can always use the time for other things if the best result happens.

- I plan time to work closely with at least one person to mentor, coach or help someone learning something new. As a leader, you won’t be successful by yourself. You win by lifting people – and they carry everyone to success.

- I set aside some time to think ahead: solving a puzzle or a problem in the now is fun, but not enough to win. You need to think ahead, be clear about your objective and work your way backwards. Success isn’t only about immediate execution, it’s also about taking the time to step away and think.


What excites you most about working in the tech industry?

I don’t feel like I work in the tech industry – I feel like I work with technology in many industries. Tech is everything we do nowadays – from banks to farming, technology is so ubiquitous. I work with something that makes the world go round, and that gives me energy. 


What is the best part about working for Elsevier?  

Work has always been a bit of a 'vocation' for me: to be energised, it has to be more than just making money – it needs to do something that my brain equates with 'good'. Elsevier makes a real difference: both directly, helping researchers be successful and indirectly, with the fruits of successful research helping society and creating positive human impact. 


Why have you decided to get involved with European Women in Tech?

I’ve been involved with EWIT for quite a while! The first time I went, there were probably around 20 booths and a few hundred women in the audience. Now it’s hosted in a major conference hall and absolutely packed with women. It reflects the fact that women are a core part of the world of technology!


What will you be speaking about at the conference and why have you chosen this topic?

I’ll be talking about women, gender and the impact in the world of research. We increasingly realise how much we fail to take into account diversity in all its shapes and forms and that failure slants the results, sometimes delivering false outcomes. We can change that – and drive positive outcomes as a result. 


What would you say to women who currently work in the tech industry? 

Welcome, keep going – take a deep breath when it gets tough and remember that you can do it. There are moments where I wonder if it’s time to leave the world of tech and settle for something a bit 'simpler', and the answer I’ve always reached so far is no. It’s not just that the grass probably isn’t any greener, but that nowhere else comes close in terms of opportunity. Be courageous, and challenge where you want to see change, be who you want to be. 


What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech? 

One of the areas I’m really passionate about is how to help mid-career women to move from their existing areas to a tech-oriented role. My advice is to go out there and do a little bit of research because most women actually know more technology than they think – and they completely under-estimate the value and strengths they bring to the table from their previous career. 

Join 4,000+ industry professionals for two days of career-boosting workshops, inspiring keynotes and networking opportunities at European Women in Technology on November 26-27.


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