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Women leaders embrace technology of future

Businesses must embrace new technology and a fresh approach to education to thrive, a conference for women leaders has heard.

Francine Mason, chairwoman of the conference steering committee, said that the event aimed to explore future opportunities from both a global and island viewpoint.

Ms Mason, a partner at global accounting firm Rawlinson and Hunter, said: “This is the digital transformation era and this conference is about how we are going to have to change to be able to be relevant in the future.

“It is about looking to the future and making sure we prepare ourselves to be flexible.”

Ms Mason was speaking at the Chartered Professional Accountants Bermuda Women's Leadership Conference 2018, which was designed to highlight emerging technologies to Bermuda's female executives.

She added that Gayemarie Brown, chief executive and founder of Canadian technology firm Wintam Place Consulting, had discussed the “mind-boggling” adjustments that will need to be made because of technological advances.

Ms Mason said: “She explained that there are schools teaching subject areas that are no longer relevant.

“Our children are going to be working in jobs that don't even exist but we are still teaching in the traditional way.”

Ms Mason added that Ms Brown had talked about the future of clothing, including smart fabrics designed to log health information. She said: “There is a fabric that can detect diabetes and movement.”

Ms Brown also discussed the ease with which sensitive documents such as medical records can be hacked because every doctor has a copy of a patient's history.

She said: “With blockchain technology, all of those records can be combined together. They can't be amended, they can't be hacked — you are protected.”

Ms Mason added: “The message today is that this is happening and there is no stopping it. We need to make sure that we are engaged, ahead of ourselves.”

Other speakers at the event, held at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club last Friday, included Sandra DeSilva, the founder and chief executive of Nova, a Bermudian software engineering and consulting firm; Gitanjali Gutierrez, Information Commissioner; and Joanna Saldok, chief operating officer at HSBC.

Ms DeSilva said the value of good data had grown as technology had made it more accessible.

She said: “Data is the new oil; companies are starting to embrace their own data and the data around them.

“They are trying to be strategic with it. They are using it for their own internal efficiencies, to become more proactive, to go after business, to get a better return on their own investments and to be smarter than their competitors.”

One discussion, “Bitcoin, Blockchain Blah, Blah, Blah”, reflected many people's lack of interest and poor knowledge of the subject.

Ms Mason said: “It's about breaking it down so we can understand what our future holds.

“Businesses are moving towards it, we have legislation that just passed — it is coming here.

“We are regulating it here and we need to understand it.

“We are supposed to be the drivers so we need to make sure that as a community we understand it, work with it and evolve into it.”

Ideas exchange: Francine Mason at the conference (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

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Published September 26, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 26, 2018 at 8:05 am)

Women leaders embrace technology of future

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