Our report finds that there is a lot of skepticism around women in technology. How did you overcome that? 

With only 20 percent of engineering degrees awarded to women, being an engineer made me realize that women need to challenge some stereotypes in the workplace and deliver a social impact on their profession. Going into technology, I was aware that it is a big challenge. However, I have enjoyed every step of it because having that awareness helped me see beyond bias and misconceptions. Instead of fearing doubts and fighting skepticism, I strived to be original and show my true commitment and passion for technology — my mind was set that I was going to break stereotypes. As women in technology, we might be outnumbered, but we can lead, we can inspire, and we can contribute at the highest level. Instead of being intimidated by my male counterparts, I reached out to them, learned from everyone around me, and went further to collaborate and network. Our male counterparts will mentor and support us when we defeat stereotypes and work together, not compete against each other. 

How do you ensure that your digital transformation initiatives align with your organization’s overall strategic goals and values? 

Digital transformation initiatives touch every person, system, and process in the organization. Communication is key when it comes to making an impact and driving change cultures that align with strategic goals. As women, we are naturally great communicators. I capitalized on that ability to connect with stakeholders across the organization to ensure buy-in from everyone at all levels, as well as listened to them to align the digital transformation initiatives with their input. This interaction was an integral part of the digital and data literacy programs that we ran organization-wide, spanning all employees from juniors and new hires to top-level executives. Throughout these sessions that spanned over three months, I managed to hear from the organization’s top leaders and frontlines to synchronize the digital transformation agenda with the goals and values of our business and operational teams. 

Companies are investing heavily on the technological aspects of digitization. What is the key to inspire young female leaders and employees to embrace new technologies? 

Whenever we are asking people to embrace new practices or technologies, there are two factors enabling adoption: the why and the motivation. First, “the why” ensures that they understand the impact and the case for adopting something new. Second, which is especially important for young talent, is showing them “what’s in it for them?”, i.e., how their knowledge, experience and career will be impacted when they adopt digitization. I experienced this firsthand while rolling out our data-driven initiatives, asking analysts to digitize and automate their reporting practices. My philosophy was “people, then technology”. The technology and digitization rollouts came after we demonstrated to the analysts how the new practices will improve their daily operations, impact the bottom line of the organization, enable them to become better analysts, and future proof their career. They felt empowered and better connected to the organization's overall success. Moreover, once we developed this group as digitization leaders, they became champions of change, and will soon mentor and inspire the next generations. 

What is your advice to young female leaders seeking a career in technology? 

First, love what you do. What you do for a living doesn’t have to be the norm for your gender, age, or profile overall. If you have a passion for what you do, you will excel no matter what. Second, keep learning. Continuing education gives you a competitive edge in the market, especially in this rapidly changing tech industry. The options are now endless when it comes to learning new skills or achieving certifications as there are different learning mediums that fit any schedule and lifestyle. Last, when you’re performing your job, do it to the best of your abilities, but always think bigger. Ask yourself how you can bring even greater value to your company or tech industry and what else you can do, even if it’s not part of your current responsibilities. If you’re thinking about growing your career, be proactive about your development and the newer, bigger things you can take on.