It is proven that seeing female role models heavily impacts career decisions of other women. That is why we host our events “Role Models – Learn from Leaders at the Top”, with inspiring women who actually made it to the top. If you missed the event, but still want to know how they made it to the top, read the following take aways! One thing we can already say: all of them are successful in their field and all of their careers look different. Get inspired by our four role models this time!
The Role Model Panel
- Telecommunications Engineering and MBA
- Since 2006 in Switzerland with husband and three sons
- Before joining AWS, spent over a decade at Microsoft in various roles
- Advisory board member for several startups and associations with Africa-focus
- Today, AWS GM Switzerland
- Politics, International relations and Business administration
- PhD research on business model innovation and design thinking
- Biotech and Tedtech in Berlin
- Today, B2B Telco business at Swisscom and member B2B management board
- Lives in Zürich with husband and baby
- International relations and Law, later an MBA
- In Tech over 20 years, fascinated about business model innovation
- Pushing digital transformation at Swiss Post for last six years
- Today, member of board of directors and digital advisory (e.g. Metall Zug)
- Moves with her partner to Bern
- English language and economics in the US
- Fascination for econometrics and advanced analytics
- Prior to Europe, partner at PWC and economist US Postal service
Today, partner at IBM
- Consulting for CPG, retail, pharma, travel & transport and agribusiness
- Lives in Lausanne with husband, and has a son working in US
The Take Aways
Seeing is believing: Inspiring women – it shows men what women can achieve and helps parents and peers to see different possibilities how women can grow their career. That’s why WE SHAPE TECH hosts these events.
Customers are very diverse, pushing companies to be more diverse, think bigger, have different perspectives and build better services.
The future of tech is diverse – while there is a long way to go, diversity definitely helps building the future world of tech. We simply can’t afford to have only half of the population participating in tech.
Diversity in tech isn’t going to change by itself. While nobody understands why we have to talk about such an obvious topic, not that much has changed since our mothers raised the topic. Evangelize!
Walk the talk! Be an active part of change and support other women in climbing the ladder.
Men don’t hear women the same way women hear women. Be clear: just say what you mean and get to the point quicker.
Broaden your horizon after mastering something. Dive in – and then, even though it isn’t easy, walk away.
Get out of your comfort zone and stay curious. Go to areas where you feel uncomfortable. This is where growth happens!
You never win alone, you win as a team. Don’t just profit from your own intelligence but from your team’s intelligence. And when you get better at something – don’t fall into the trap of believing you know how to do it.
Don’t hinder people to speak up – keep quiet, listen and be open-minded. It’s a challenge, but so worth it.
The more senior you get, the less it’s about your functional skills and more about who you are.
Self-reflection and making space for people to give you feedback is key. Women tend to over-analyze and are very self-critical. That’s why we need feedback.
Have people around you at the top that you can use as a mentor and a sounding board. Coaching and mentoring are under-utilized skills and we need to learn to do this better. Get feedback on how you can do better. One way to get feedback and transparency on what you can do better is mentoring. Use it, and if possible, also be a mentor.
Coaching isn’t weak but rather a foundation. Being a leader gets lonely and having multiple people around you from all levels that have experienced similar challenges is a fantastic way of learning.
A safe space to step back is very important.
Be aware that children’s books model traditional roles and stereotypes form very early, meaning you need to model equality very early.
Parents are the biggest influence in our life whether we want it or not. Be a role model for diversity and gender equality for your own children. But remember to accept that kids are their own people – you’re just the North Star.
Network – because you never win alone. This is true for every level. Generally speaking, women are not very good at this and need to improve their networking skills. Get connected without a reason behind it, building relationships takes time.
Interview the people you’re going to work with – is there a buy-in into what you can contribute or are you just the token diversity seat? And ask yourself “What can I contribute to the role”.
It’s very important to be a good storyteller: it’s how you define yourself to others. Define two or three stories about yourself. Be sure your stories are outcome-based and easy to understand.
Career is defined by how you have influence.
You yourself need to be convinced; you need credibility and data, there are different types of influence and you need to be well-prepared to drive your argument with the respective audience. Take them along on the journey.
Too serious or the smartest – it’s tiring for others. You don’t leave behind who you are, you bring your whole personality to work. Your soft skills are your diversity. Be yourself as much as the environment will tolerate.
While there is no process how you get to the next level or job, make sure you look at different opportunities. Don’t choose too quickly. Follow your interest and be persistent.
Have fun on the way up and learn! Where you have passion is what you’re good at, where you put more energy into it and the learning goes faster.
Don’t die the slow death of boredom, do something that you love.
Swiss-specific business perspective: You have to listen better in Switzerland. You need to go through more dialogue – the beginning is slower – but then you get 100% loyalty!
A huge “Thank you!” to our kind sponsors, who made this Role Model Event possible:
Event partner: Amazon Web Services Switzerland
Location partner: WellDev