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International Women’s Day In-Conversation Series: Adele Hoyle

Throughout March, we will be shining a special light on key women dominating the legal tech space; who are forging innovation and inspiring change. We are kickstarting the celebration with Smokeball's Chief Product Officer, Adele Hoyle.

At Smokeball legal practice management software, we strive to create a workplace culture that fosters growth, leadership and equality. Year-round we’re committed to championing the strong and diverse women who play such an integral role in our company’s success.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022, marks the date to celebrate International Women’s Day. A global day honouring women’s achievement, raising awareness against bias, and taking action for gender equality. Collectively we can all, #breakthebias.

Kicking off today for each week in March, we will be shining a special light on key women dominating the legal tech space, who are forging innovation and inspiring change.

With Abigail Molloy in the chair from Smokeball’s People and Culture Team, she chats with Adele Hoyle, Smokeball’s Chief Product Officer, in our first episode.

“My career in legal software started 15 years ago, and I’ve currently been working at Smokeball for five years. I’ve always had a passion for solving problems for law firms and building products that clients love. I have been fortunate to continue to develop our powerful legal practice management software and lead a high performing team here.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Adele’s story and her best piece of advice to women interested in entering the legal technology space.

How did you get into tech?

I always felt that I was destined to work in the tech industry, as growing up with a dad who loved technology and wanted to be the first with the latest and greatest. In my early years, I took a temp job in a software company before university and had the opportunity to study for a computer science degree; the rest is history!

As a software developer, I am inquisitive and like to ask questions on ‘what’ the problems are and ‘how’ we can provide innovative solutions to fix them. Product management was my calling, as the role is a hybrid of software engineering and conversing with people to understand the core problems they are looking to solve. The product manager and their team identify the customer needs and the larger business objective that a product or feature will fulfil. They then articulate what success looks like to the developers, who transform that vision into reality.

What challenges did you face at the start of your career?

I entered a male-dominated industry as a young female, and gaining respect was challenging. I felt that I had to prove my knowledge and skills daily. Knowing my worth and developing trust was key to breaking down those barriers confidently.

The dynamics within the technology industry are changing and far more diverse now. When starting your career or a new position, it's important to ask yourself how you can apply your unique strengths and competencies to help the business thrive. Think about how you can further build on the product by learning to establish yourself as the go-to expert in a given area. As individuals, we need to focus on our own capabilities and what we know we can do well.

Do you see the benefit of having allies or mentors?

Yes, find allies in your life (personal or professional) that are motivators and empower you to work through your situation and learn how to navigate it with confidence. We must understand every person and industry is different. Allies and mentors are more than people you can relate to and get guidance from; they can be your strongest advocates and most trustworthy partners. The benefits to having a mentor are apparent: from increased opportunities, overcoming obstacles in the path toward success, education, and skill-building.

What is your most significant achievement to date?

My most significant achievement at Smokeball is seeing the growth of the business, from start-up to a leading legal tech company and being one of the main drivers promoting innovation. I have a passion for encouraging people to be their best in an industry they enjoy and to be able to provide opportunities for those seeking it.

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Mar 08, 2022