a platform for

women professionals in the digital sector

Interview with Ramona Nita, Digital Affairs and Cybersecurity counselor - Romanian Permanent Representation

October 22, 2019

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “digital technologies”?

Progress and future. Digital technologies have generated a revolution in terms of communications, access to knowledge, science, innovation and have improved and changed our lives, our activities and our businesses. Digital technologies are helping us to discover new horizons, open our minds to new ideas, change our mentalities and be more empowered and more involved than ever before in our societies and economies.

 

How do you see technology changing the world in 10 years?

Every year we are witnessing the significant impact technologies have on our world. I believe that in the next 10 years the world will be completely transformed as the high-tech innovations deployed already or on the way to be developed will be part of our daily lives like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual reality, electric mobility, 3D printing, self-driving cars etc. This world of super intelligence, high interconnectivity and unprecedented breakthroughs will help us be in better health, and the doctors to better predict, prevent, diagnose and treat, will help people with hearing, visual or mobility problems towards an independent living and will contribute to a sustainable and environmentally-friendly economy, based on alternative and renewable energies, to a better preservation of biodiversity, a more ecological agriculture, a safer and cleaner transport, a higher precision in construction, including advanced resistance to earthquakes, more opportunities for exploring the space and even consider space tourism etc.

 

Three things women should invest in?

  • Education, continuous learning and personal improvement, as these will help to be independent, disciplined, strong, confident and focused.

  • In dreams and everything that helps to achieve the highest aspirations.

  • In the things women love, like family, children, travelling, art, sports, career, charity etc.

 

How would you define success?

I think success is a lifestyle that requires to give the best of yourself, 24/7, while having a strong character and dignity. I associate success with high performance, persistence, passion and with a strong desire to achieve the goals no matter how difficult they are. 

 

An embarrassing professional moment you want to share learnings from?

My guiding principle is to always listen attentively and reflect before reacting. This is, in my opinion, the best way to avoid embarrassing situations.

 

The biggest challenge you have faced?

Like most of us I am/was confronted with lots of challenges, I don’t know If I can highlight one in particular. I think nowadays finding answers and solutions is easier than before thanks to the wide information and knowledge available via Internet, new technologies, applications and to the high-speed communications enabling us to have a more rapid and direct interaction with our role models, like our professors, mentors, colleagues, personalities, leaders etc.

 

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 25?

Be more confident. This applies to both my personal and professional life.

Interview with Lorena Marciano, Director - EMEAR Data Protection & Privacy Officer at Cisco

October 10, 2019

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “digital technologies”?

Endless opportunities. Especially for those that are still lacking access to education, information and personal needs to carry on a good life. As a Privacy Officer and someone who works with security, I do recognize that digital technologies come with potential threats for privacy, safety and security. However, I also believe that we got this! We can envision and work together to have a world of new digital technologies developed with even higher standards of ethics, security and privacy.

 

How do you see technology changing the world in 10 years?

If I can make a wish of where I’d like technology changes to be focused, I would want to have technologies that enable sustainable alternatives to those that we have today. These technologies can protect and restore our planet and guarantee a better quality of life for our children, and future generations, than the ones that we are leaving to them today.

 

Three things women should invest in?

Yourself – invest in you, your health, your education, your passions, your goals. Creating a supportive network – have a supportive partner, be there for your kids, stay close to your good friends and make new ones, grow your professional network (you never know where it might take you). Taking risks and being bold – as women we tend to be more conscious about the environment we work and live in and we tend to limit ourselves accordingly. I say that if it feels right, do it anyway!

 

How would you define success?

Success to me can be defined in so many ways. If we are talking about work, for me it is very important to work on something I am passionate about to truly feel successful. I know that if I do something less in line with my interests or careabouts, I would still want to excel at it but I would not feel truly successful. I think the drive is more important that the accomplishment.

 

An embarrassing professional moment you want to share learnings from?

I am a very clumsy person especially when I am nervous. Over time I have mastered the art of make a joke out of it or diverting the attention elsewhere. Both work quite well.

 

The biggest challenge you have faced?

It was when I accepted a new senior job few months after having my second child. I was given the opportunity to have a position I really longed for, which came with more travel and late night catch-ups. That is when my belief of “having it all” rumbled with reality. It is not easy to manage the mental charge of carrying on with your career whilst managing a family. It is absolutely doable and it is a process about prioritizing, delegating and being fine with what you decide to let go. It also helped me quite a lot with learning to say ‘no’ and prioritizing myself and my well-being.

 

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 25?

When I was 25 I was overly conscious about making the right move to fast track my career, because it was the type of belief I was influenced by. And I did, I landed a great job in the perfect firm. It has been an amazing opportunity that certainly shaped me in the person I am today. However, to this day I still doubt whether I should have tried more things before giving a specific track to my career or whether I should have left earlier (than I eventually did) to prove myself in another environment when I first started feeling the urge to do it. With that in mind I guess I have two pieces of advice: 1. You are 25, do anything that comes in your mind, this is your time to try-out without worrying too much about consequences; 2. Do not rush. Your career is a marathon, take your time to check-in with yourself to see whether you are really sure about where you are going so fast.

Interview with Maria Rosa Gibellini, Director General of the European Internet Forum - EIF; Co-Founder of Digit@lians

March 07, 2019

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “digital technologies”?

We have been living in a world being transformed by ‘digital technologies’ in every aspect: we are becoming a ‘digital society’, with a ‘digital economy’ and even ‘digital politics’. This transformation is rapid and so horizontal that the word ‘digital’ may become anachronistic at some point in time.

 

How do you see technology changing the world in 10 years?

I think that Artificial Intelligence, 5G, supercomputing, Internet of Things, blockchain and new disruptive technologies that we may not know of yet will shape our future and keep changing our way of living.

It is imperative not to lose sight of ourselves – as human beings – and of what is meaningful in our existence. It is also essential to take responsibility and think of what kind of world we will leave to future generations. Innovation can only be good if it is matched with sustainability in my view.

 

Three things women should invest in?

1. Giving priority to what they find meaningful and finding time for what makes them happy;

2. Understanding unconscious biases that may prevent them to be their real selves, and leaving clichés behind – for the sake of our society as a whole.

3. Celebrating every little success – whatever that is. As a good habit, I always keep a bottle of bubbles in my fridge!…

 

How would you define success?

Success for me is what you call ‘épanouissement’ in French – your blossoming, your fulfillment as a person. The idea of success is very personal and it is best to keep distance from general stereotypes of success offered by our society that may not correspond to us..

 

An embarrassing professional moment you want to share learnings from?

A classic moment of embarrassment in my profession is when you meet someone but do not remember their name. I have learnt how to get around it by introducing myself again when I start a conversation, hoping that my interlocutor would do just the same!

 

The biggest challenge you have faced?

Difficult times give you the chance to grow and deepen your own self-confidence. I can say with pride that I have overcome various challenges in my personal and professional life so far and I have learnt a lot from them. One that can be of inspiration to others was growing up in a conservative Italian family where there were no particular expectations for my professional career due to gender bias. I had freedom but no encouragement, nor ambitious role models around me (I found many only later, along the way). Regardless, I found my way, proved to be very resourceful and managed to thrive.

 

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 25?

Trust yourself, follow your dreams, believe in your resilience, in a better future, and in your ability to overcome your own limits, external or self-imposed.

Interview with Pascale Van Damme, VP and Managing Director Dell EMC Belux Commercial

January 09, 2019

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “digital technologies”?

Innovation. I think of what technology can do for the planet, for us as human beings and for society. Technology is basically a long history of improving tools and techniques to make our lives easier. In the era of digital technology we’ve seen accelerated innovation and progress that can bring us to the next level in relation to all three.

 

How do you see technology changing the world in 10 years?

There will be a lot of innovation in how we live, how healthcare is organized, how we consume and trade. We are going fast today but still slow compared to how fast we will be going in a decade.

This poses new challenges. The pace at which we evolve is faster than what we can handle and faster than we can adapt. Focus will shift back to people, enabling them, teaching them new skill sets, closing our digital divide, and ultimately reaping all the benefits technology offers.

 

Three things women should invest in?

1. Themselves – sport and other things they like to do

2. A personal and professional network – people who can help them advance.

3. A good partner and a family – to have a good balance at home

 

How would you define success?

Success for me is the joy of empowering others and winning as a team.

 

An embarrassing professional moment you want to share learnings from?

When I had a blackout in a customer meeting and had to go back to read my notes to remember what to discuss. But some moments that others would find embarrassing I do not – I use them to my advantage. For example, once I spilled coffee on a white dress. Or I have met customers with broken heels or stumbled and fallen on the ground in front of them. I use those situations as icebreaker to build the relationship.

 

The biggest challenge you have faced?

I face professional challenges every day, especially since the company is going through the biggest technology merger in history. But the biggest challenge has been setting goals for myself on a personal level. For example, I have climbed the Mont Blanc and the Makalu in Nepal, which were experiences that really pushed me to the edge.

Anyone taking on physical challenges will know the experience: constantly flirting with the idea of giving up while continuing to push until you have reached your goal – in this case the top – and the enormously rewarding feeling you get in return.

 

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 25?

Be yourself. Be authentic – I was too focused on copying male managers. Women are great at the skills of the future: empathy, teamwork, strong communication, the ability to connect with stakeholders all over an organization and to keep learning.

Have a plan and have a network to implement that plan.

And be open to change.

Interview with Shiva Dustdar, Head of Division for Innovation Finance Advisory at the European Investment Bank

November 25, 2018

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “digital technologies”?

What comes to mind is really a cliché – the interaction between the human brain and the computer, what this interaction looks like. That image has evolved over the last years. From computers being simply connected with humans to computers interacting with humans, learning from humans and invading many aspects of our lives.

How do you see technology changing the world in 10 years?

I would start by looking at how it has changed in the last 10 years. The highly disruptive effect this has had on our lives. We moved from technology enabling communication to something that sectors are converging around. In the next 10 years some of today’s basic activities may disappear – we won’t be driving cars ourselves anymore, robots will invade our homes and offices helping us with many daily chores and taking over routine tasks. This can be both liberating and unsettling. Also the next digital revolution will involve the integration of engineering/ physical sciences with digital technologies, a second chance for Europe to regain some of its lost ground from the US and China. We need to ensure we remain competitive and invest in enabling infrastructures like supercomputers, have innovation friendly regulations and good access to patient risk capital.

The new tech revolution will also bring disruption; we need to be comfortable with new technologies but also as a society we need the right safeguards to ensure technology supports us without taking our freedom and values away. There is enormous potential to improve our lives but also to harm us when technology is used for weapons or cyber crimes. Finally, one point close to my heart is that we need to close the gender divide in digital skills and STEM so that the technological changes bring about inclusive and smart growth

 

Three things women should invest in?

We need to invest in our own education: future oriented and ensuring that we are equipped with the right skills - lifelong learning notably investing in our own digital skills.

Invest in our live partner/personal support structures: finding the right partner who supports you is crucial. Invest in enduring relationships with family and friends, make time for human interactions.

As women we should invest our money where our values are. Think of investments in sustainable and ethical terms and make a change, help make such investments mainstream.

 

How would you define success?   

I see success as a journey and not a destination; there will be ups and downs along the way. Success is about the path being in sync with your inner values. Your Professional and personal lives being in sync with each other being authentic

Success is also about being wholesome and true to yourself. So that in the end you can be proud of yourself.

Developing resilience and inner strengths to overcome challenges and turn them into opportunities.

 

An embarrassing professional moment you want to share learnings from?

Happened not too long ago. This was a meeting with around 20 people around the table and 10 people linked via video-conference. A formal meeting with stakeholders: colleagues on one side and clients on the other side. Half way into the conference somebody on the phone pointed out that the camera seemed to zoom in on my chest all the time. We in the room did not see what they could see on the screen.

It took me a few moments to react. And I reacted with humor. The topic of the meeting was access to finance for women in innovation. So I said that what happened proves the point that we need more women in sensor technologies to ensure the cameras zoom on the right thing. It turned an awkward situation into a funny one. And we managed to move back to the agenda.

The lesson learnt: try humor as a way out, stay calm, focused and move on.  

The biggest challenge you have faced?

Dealing with marriage and children and realizing that there is always a trade-off, and I’m not able to have it all at the same time. Setting priorities differently during different parts of my career – often, the interesting career opportunities mean travelling more/ being away from your family. When you are faced with this choice you always feel under pressure.

So there is that mental challenge to be comfortable with your life not only being about the career and to accept that other opportunities come along.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 25?

Two things:

1. Professional advice: Follow your passion but agile and adapt to changes around you, technological, social... and how they might affect the sector you chose over the next 10 years.

2. Personal advice: Push yourself hard early on, do not hold back if you are able to - this is from the book “Lean in” book which I wish had been available earlier in my life. So: lean in, give yourself a push. And make sure you choose the right person to accompany you. At 25, do not put on the breaks but the accelerator! Conquer the world. Don’t let others – or yourself - hold you back.

Interview with Margarete Schramböck, Austria's Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs

October 29, 2018

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term “digital technologies”?

Impact and trust. New technologies do not just change our lives, they can simplify and improve our lives. New technologies have always improved society and economy. We need to trust the next generation, that they use their skills for a better future.

How do you see technology changing the world in 10 years?

Everything will be interconnected. The data network of the future, 5G, and the Internet of Things will pave the way to unimagined possibilities. Digital technologies can be a pull factor to bring back industry to Europe, because at the end it’s not about the salary of workers. It’s going to be about innovation.

Three things women should invest in?

Women should invest in innovative start-ups, new technologies and, that’s important as well, their community. We need more women in technical fields and therefore we need to encourage them for new job opportunities.

 

How would you define success?

The satisfaction that comes with knowing what you do changes many lives for the better.

 

An embarrassing professional moment you want to share learnings from?

There is no specific moment. When you are in a managing position you always face challenging situations. If you learn from that experience it makes you stronger.

The biggest challenge you have faced?

Trading the corporate sector for a career in politics. But you grow with your challenges. And the challenges in politics are exciting, educational and a lot of fun. If you want to change things, you need to take action and responsibility. It is not about the things we say, it’s about the things we do.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at age 25?

Always be honest to yourself, do what you love and stay open-minded. ​

Please reload

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon

Connect on LinkedIn

  • Grey Tumblr Icon

Follow us on Twitter

  • Grey Facebook Icon

Find us on Facebook

Join W@