Breaking barriers - Women in Tech

Posted 08 March 2021
While the Tech industry has traditionally been male dominated, it is quickly changing and more and more women are getting involved.

Veronique Rodoni, Group SVP HR at Modis says „We want to inspire diverse talent to step into technology and encourage diverse leaders to continue their career by opening up executive roles in Modis. We see the importance of role models encouraging women and girls to first of all choose a career in STEM. But also develop and make a way to hold global managerial roles, breaking the traditional stereotypes from the Tech industry of the past. At Modis we are nurturing a culture where talent matters and recognizing the strength of diverse teams.”

Here three women from Modis who work with innovation and technology share with Modis Insights their experiences of female leadership and expertise in a Tech world.

Based in Amsterdam, Petah Green is responsible for setting up Modis’ global digital transformation and digitalization business unit. She was previously working for Oracle where she was the Digital Transformation and Innovation Specialist Leader for EMEA. Petah has held pivotal leadership roles and has capitalized on over 20 years of experience in a highly competitive IT and communications industry. She has worked for Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Nokia Siemens Network, and has experience in sales leadership, Alliance and Channels management, and business development across a diverse range of technologies including Cloud, SAAS, IAS, PAS. She has worked throughout the Asia Pacific region, Japan, Latin America, Australia/NZ and EMEA.

What attracted you to the Tech industry?
„What I love about this business is that we are working at the forefront of the technological innovation, and that allows me to keep current. I have to get my hands dirty and be part of projects, so when I joined Modis I made sure I was in the thick of it. That is how you learn. I’m always looking to get out of my comfort zone, and in the past I’ve worked a lot in Africa, the Middle East and other emerging markets. This forces me to get under the covers of more industries, more businesses and more emerging technology.”

What value can diversity bring to a Tech company?
„I think diversity is really important for a company’s retention capabilities and attracting new talent. It starts with the culture: what do we stand for? What are we trying to be? Culture is reflected in the services we give our clients, and it shapes possibilities for career progression. If you do not have a strong inclusive culture that embraces different backgrounds, you will miss out on attracting talent. I always say ‘my career, my responsibility’, but if you do not have mechanisms and platforms in place to give people support and visibility, then you risk losing them. It means you’re not making the most of these amazing assets that you’ve taken from the market and begun to help shape and evolve.”

Having started out in Psychology, Lisa Frommhold soon found herself in the Tech industry through an internship with a start-up. Now she is Modis’ Competence Manager in Germany, as well as studying a duel Master’s degree in digital transformation and sustainability.

What can be done to attract more women to the Tech industry?

„It’s probably something that needs to be addressed early, in the educational system. Perceptions need to change, and new role models can help with that. For companies, the first step is to acknowledge the imbalance. Positive change needs to come from the top-down, but long-lasting sustainable change needs to come from the bottom-up. It is important to educate and fosters teams to support their female colleagues on a day-to-day basis.”

What advice would you give young women wanting to work with Tech?
„Be bold. It goes without saying that women can obtain any qualification or expertise that men can, but even without a strong technical background there is so much one can offer. We have so many strengths that are not measurable, that you cannot see on university degrees or in KPIs but are still so important. Skills like connecting, building trust, leading teams and problem solving. Every day I work with people who are way more experienced than me, with capabilities in super niche fields that I will never obtain, but I can still make an important contribution in the area. At the end, it is people working with people.”

Kelsey Corbin has been with Modis for five years, first as a Director for Recruitment and now as Managing Director for the Atlanta and Chattanooga markets for Modis.

There is a perception that the Tech industry is male dominated – in your experience is that accurate?
„In my experience I’d confirm that perception – it is a very male dominated industry. But in my opinion that brings some allure. That challenge makes it more exciting. It’s an industry where, as a female, you can break down barriers and glass ceilings. It’s not the right path for everyone but if you have an appetite for it, why not be a trailblazer and create paths for other strong women to follow?

„Especially in a professional setting, when you’re in the minority, it can be incredibly intimidating and anxiety provoking. My advice would be to lean into it as best you can. Albeit uncomfortable, there is a great deal of opportunity and growth to be had.”

Can you see the industry changing?
„There’s still a long road ahead, but yes. A lot of companies are making diversity a priority and you can see some changes in the workplace. Clearly some are more willing to transform and evolve than others, but prioritizing equality is going to become a requirement. It’s that or quickly become obsolete. When you have a team consisting of individuals from various backgrounds – whether its race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or otherwise – you become more well-rounded. It brings diversity of thought, which hopefully results in a heightened level of awareness, empathy, and understanding when interacting with colleagues and clients.

„Fostering diversity has to be an intentional effort, however. If we choose to turn a blind eye to the lack of equality that exists in technology, then we’re foolish to expect a different result. We have to intentionally open doors for those who are not as well-represented in the industry.”

Modis chooses to challenge and is committed to achieving gender parity in leadership roles by 2030, giving equal opportunity to both men and women. Modis already puts much effort into creating a diverse team and will continue to Engineer a Smarter Future.

#ChooseToChallenge #WomenInTech #WeareModis #SmarterFuture #Weareready.Areyou

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