days
0
-66
-1
hours
0
-8
minutes
-1
-5
seconds
-1
-9
search
Profile: Hazel Savage, CEO and Co-Founder of Musiio

Women in Tech: “80% of all jobs are never posted publicly”

Dominik Mohilo
women in tech

Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Hazel Savage, CEO and Co-Founder of Musiio.

A research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Hazel Savage, CEO and Co-Founder of Musiio.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Hazel Savage, CEO and Co-Founder of Musiiowomen in tech

When did you become interested in technology?

I’ve probably been interested since my family got our first home PC when I was in high school. Or maybe when I got my first phone, an Ericsson A1018 (Google it!), when I was around 11. I’m that funny in-between age, I remember not having the internet and mobile phones, but I was young so tech feels native to me.

Tech is often a means to an end for the Music Industry, which is my specialisation, it’s how we listen to music, share music and now derive and pay money for music, it’s a complex ecosystem, but very early on in my career, I realised that the people I enjoy working with the most, the driven, smart and ambitious were found in tech companies.

How did you end up in your career path?

I’m from the North East of England, and proudly so, I still have most of the accent. I had a delightfully normal upbringing, although the scope of ambition coming out of my home town wasn’t huge in fact if you follow UK news you might be aware of the UK Government jobs quiz (which is featuring heavily in recent memes, deservedly so) in 1996 it had me pegged as a bus driver, I took it this year and it suggested I become a professional Football referee. It’s like the person who makes these quizzes hasn’t heard of the internet, and whilst it was naive and limiting in the 90s, it is unforgivable in 2020.

I don’t come from a background in Music or Tech, music especially can be hard to break into without connections, but it turns out relentless hustle can get you similar results.

Unfortunately, both Music and Tech are still predominantly male industries, but I try to see this as an opportunity, not an inevitability to accept.

Did you receive support from your family and friends?

My family is amazing and hugely supportive, both my parents are great role models for me, I am always aiming to have my Dad’s hard-work ethic and my Mum’s kind soul.

With friends, it’s a mixed bag. I still have some great friends that I have known since I was 6 or 7 years old, and lots of great friends from the various companies I have worked for over the years, my Shazam buddies, my HMV buddies, but probably like any adult, you lose a few too, usually due to the career and path I have chosen.

Unfortunately, both Music and Tech are still predominantly male industries, but I try to see this as an opportunity, not an inevitability to accept.

Did someone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

Of course! But I am one of those people who when I hear “you can’t” I think “I can,”. Although that said, my professional career naysayers have nothing on the music naysayers, if I had a dollar for every “You aren’t holding that guitar correctly”, “You shouldn’t be playing that instrument”, or “You shouldn’t be in a band”, I’d have a lot of dollars.

The worst are always the women who are out to put down other women. Those I’ve met in my career showed me the person I don’t want to be, and I try to hire with diversity in mind, and also offer to mentor to other women where I can.

A day in Hazel’s life

I like to think my proudest moment is yet to come and I can’t even imagine what it will be, but of the ones that have already been…there are a few. Working in a record store when record stores were still around, at that time, like any minimum wage job it was looked down upon, but now I see how lucky I was to have that experience that no longer really exists.

And at the other end of the spectrum, I am proud of raising 2 million dollars in funding for Musiio.

Why aren’t there more women in tech?

I think it goes back as far as education, in subconscious ways women are pushed out of certain subjects, areas of study, or even clubs and they face the same naysayers I faced very early on, and sure, I could ignore the messages telling me “I couldn’t” but not everyone can, and frankly why should they, it’s a disadvantage from day 1.

I have great hope for the next generations, gen Z and gen Alpha. They are so smart, and most of them men, women and non-binary folx who sometimes intern with Musiio over their summer breaks, almost without exception they can all code, regardless of the role they join for, Music Team, or Sales and Marketing even, and I am always so impressed.

Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?

Lack of role models is a challenge. My role model for a woman boss is still Captain Janeway of the Starship Enterprise (Star Trek for all the non-Trekkies) because she’s an incredible leader, and I have never worked for a female CEO like that.

In startups the challenge is that early-stage founders often hire people who are ‘just like them’ and since most founders, and funded founders are male it’s super common to see startups of 5 to 10 people or more and they are all male. So it’s hard for women to access these roles, and even if they do, working with an all-male team with no-one who is particularly experienced at working with diverse teams. That’s a challenge too.

Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?

I think it would be better, but it would be a slow better that takes years to unfold. I read the other day that historically and even recently all drug trials were primarily conducted using men and then it’s just assumed that the drug will interact and work exactly the same on women, which apparently is not always the case, so there will have been a loss of women’s lives that we can’t even attempt to measure.

More women in STEM will lead to questions such as “shouldn’t we test this on men and women” because there are now women in the room. Just as the impact will be significant it will also be hard to measure.

I have great hope for the next generations, gen Z and gen Alpha.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current debate?

I think it depends on what country we mean, I live in Singapore and diversity means different things to what it meant when I lived in Australia and the UK. Each country has its own approach and challenges with diversity.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?

As with all the Gen Alpha’s, learn to code! It’s such a valuable skill. Also when starting out, look for great startups to join. It’s said 80% of all jobs are never posted publicly, so learn to tap the unlisted job market and find opportunities (and there are tonnes of ways to do this), and then…hustle.

More Women in Tech:

For even more Women in Tech, click here

Author
Dominik Mohilo
Dominik Mohilo studied German and sociology at the Frankfurt University, and works at S&S Media since 2015.

guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments