Meet Our Newest GEM Ambassador!
GEM’s most recent Champion, HP Canada hosted our April GEMinar for GEMgirls. As the President and CEO of HP Canada, Mary Ann Yule is among a very small group of women at the helm of a tech company. We are very excited and proud to welcome this outstanding leader as our newest GEM Ambassador.
We sat down with Mary Ann to learn more about her personal journey, her thoughts on mentorship of girls and women, and the community work happening at HP Canada.
Did you yourself have access to mentorship on your journey to becoming a senior leader?
I’ve had a unique career path and journey to leadership. As the child of working-class immigrants, my parents brought me up with the attitude that I could pursue any career I wanted. Early on, I learned that my goal of becoming a business leader was not going to be an easy one. Despite my parent’s encouragement, I struggled to find female representation and mentors in the technology space. Now as the President and CEO of HP Canada, I stand as a mentor and advocate for young women to enter and stay in the tech industry.
What do you think are the most prevalent challenges facing young women as they navigate the tech industry?
Far too often I’ve witnessed young women pass up on opportunities to work on STEM projects because they doubt their own capabilities. In some cases, strong candidates turn down a project because they don’t see themselves reflected in the leadership or the diversity of the team. The truth is the technology industry needs diverse perspectives now more than ever. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to HP’s culture. I see this mirrored at GEM, which allows marginalized women to gain access to mentors and training that can reinvent how they see themselves and their potential.
What influences your motivation to support GEM and the mentorship of young women?
I strongly believe that young people are inspired and motivated by role models. If you can see it, you can be it. All leaders have earned the privilege to pay it forward by both blazing a trail for the next generation, while also lending a hand. As the global sponsor of our Young Employee Network at HP and having participated in CEOX1 Day, I have seen first-hand the impact both simple gestures and investments can make in the lives and careers of others. I’m looking forward to joining GEM’s community as an Ambassador and inspiring more girls to pursue tech.
How would you position mentorship to women in your peer group as a tool for supporting the strength of a younger generation? What would you say to encourage them to become mentors themselves?
Driving progress starts at the top. HP intentionally created the most diverse board of directors in the U.S. tech industry, made up of 54% total minorities including 46% women. Despite hard-won progress, it’s critical for more women in leadership roles to act as mentors to continue to level the playing field. By doing so, not only do we give opportunity to marginalized women, companies realize stronger business performance driven by diversity. There are many returns on the time invested in being a mentor. I have gained valuable insights and fresh perspectives on issues and opportunities from the young women I mentor. By working together, we have the power to influence positive change in our organizations that will pave the way for greater equity in all industries.
On a personal level, how does being a mentor make you feel?
I take great pride in being a mentor of employees and professionals from all different walks of life. There is nothing more rewarding than helping others realize their potential and seeing them succeed.
Can you tell us about community initiatives that you're implementing at HP Canada?
Leading with purpose has been part of HP’s DNA from the very beginning. Our founders embraced diversity as part of the HP Way because it drives innovation. Innovation at HP springs from people bringing their whole selves to work, collaborating and contributing their varied perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. Diverse teams create transformative solutions that better serve our customers and communities.
Are you interested in joining GEM’s community like Mary Ann or supporting the next generation of female leaders? Contact us to learn more about GEM’s program.