Bettina Rotzetter

Bettina Rotzetter_Profile

Every month, we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned. 

This month role model is Bettina Rotzetter. She has been working in IT for twenty years mostly in the health sector, currently as an IT Compliance expert. Besides, she has recently started a new adventure as founder of a tech-startup.

Let’s start from the beginning. Tell us a bit about you: Where are you from? What do you do? What are your current projects?

I’m Canadian, grew up in the great white north. I came to Switzerland in my mid-twenties for 3 months to escape the brutal cold winter months. I decided to come to Bern to discover some swiss roots.

When I first came, I started out working in a factory. Shortly after I got a job in a Swiss bank in IT and from there l moved into the health sector. I spent most of my career inside hospitals troubleshooting anything and everything related to IT in medicine and research.  Ten years ago, I moved into the University Hospital environment which I really enjoy a lot due to the international flair. The fast pace environment is super interesting and projects are challenging. But you encounter a lot of really amazing people dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives. I am currently in a small developer team in eye research. I also founded a small start-up with four friends this year.

What valuable advice did you get from your parents?

I was very fortunate to have been influenced by many different folks from all walks of life. I feel this is one of the greatest life teachings one could possibly get, which no one family or school could ever teach. I think this really influenced me to become a notorious optimist. There is always a bright side and it’s a matter of finding a sweet spot to help you grow and nourish your own curiosity to develop further. I think in the end you need to create yourself to be your own role model before you can be it for anyone else.

How did you become interested in tech?

I started my tech journey at a very young age. I grew up with a lot of guys around me so I was used to the male dominant environments. I got my hands down right dirty from start in the gaming scene. Also in the music scenes technology dominated early on in my life. We used to hack any equipment together, which we could get our hands on.

When I was about 15 years old, I met this amazing Canadian French woman from Quebec. She moved into my neighbourhood. Through her, I realized how important role models are. She gave me the foundation I stand on today in my tech job. Even though you may go unnoticed when you stand at the end of a line, you can learn a lot back there if you’re a really smart kid and you pay attention. I watched her one day in a public space hack around on a command line and my curiosity for tech was ignited like a sparking light. She taught me all my tech basics late nights hacking around in her setup garage which was this huge playground full of computers. We installed them, got them setup and loaded them up on a 4×4 truck. She then drove from town to town in northern rural areas in all weather conditions and taught unemployed people computer skills. This woman became the biggest role model I looked up to my entire life. Little did I know back then that the day would come where I would earn my own living from what she taught me.

What aspects of your work are you proudest of?

Sometimes you work on projects that are just meaningless but they are just part of business life, too. Other times you get that lucky draw in a project, which might make a difference in someone’s life. I think the meaningful projects I got to be part of was when I took someone’s kid periodically to spend a few days in my IT team and showed them what we do. I liked to pass that on to kids to see if a spark could be ignited in them or help them gain a perspective for their future.

Apart from those tech-projects, I got to be part of a music project, which I was asked to do for a young teenager who was terminally ill. This production was part of her final phase of her life. I produced a song that described her short life in the studio together with some of my friends. We hacked around with tracks and made some little video idea with very minimalistic equipment but it did the job. Even though we had no budget we made the most of the tech equipment we owned. This project reminded me to always stay humble.

What drives you at work?

I think my biggest motivation is always to find a new perspective to maybe make a difference and to hit that sweet spot to grow into it.

What has been the toughest challenge you’ve learnt while working in the tech scene?

I faced many challenges throughout the years but I think it’s been really challenging always being the only woman in every team. I only realized later on in my life that diverse views are only possible, if diversity is actually present in teams and these perspectives are so valuable in all forms to broaden our own horizons and grow. I also think it was difficult to outgrow my own boundaries at times in the tech field as a woman. I found myself constantly recreating myself in the field, which retrospectively was probably one of the most positive developments I had in the job, even if it was the most challenging.

What advice would you give other women in tech?

I would like to promote and advise any woman to take a path in a tech career if that lights your internal fires. Just do it! Believe in yourself and don’t feel intimidated. I would like to really promote that women who do make it to the top in tech or in any field for that matter, to help and empower other women. What I also mean with that: Teach your girls right from start at an early age they can take a rocket to the moon if that’s what they fancy. Encourage your children to follow-up on impossible visions and dreams because that’s what we need more of in our business world. Do not see things as a failure if they don’t turn out. It’s just your version 0.1 beta and you can always refactor your code.

 

Caitlin Krause

Every month, we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned. 

This month role model is Caitlin Krause. She is a globally-recognized learning expert, author, and keynote speaker. As founder of the MindWise consultancy, co-founder of the Center of Wise Leadership, and a virtual reality specialist, Caitlin contributes to building products and experiences that promote humanity, innovation and emotional intelligence.

Let’s start from the beginning. Tell us about where you’re from!

Born in Boston, I have lived all over the world, and I feel as if I’m a true global citizen. I’ve lived in Duxbury, Moscow, Harvard, Durham, Washington, D.C., Providence, Brussels, and Zürich, among other places. My first memories of living by the ocean mean that being near the water always feels like home.

What valuable advice did you get from your parents?

My parents have given me a lot of valuable advice over the years, and the first thing that comes to mind is to express gratitude to them for that! We traveled a lot when I was growing up and spent a good amount of time in nature. They taught me to reflect and appreciate certain moments of wonder that appear out of nowhere—you often see these moments surprising you when you’re on a hike, or even when you’re at an art performance. It’s the moment of surprise, recognizing the beauty that appears. They also fostered in me a sense of caring, and appreciation for our own adaptive intelligence, as multi-dimensional humans. I didn’t feel labeled growing up. I felt I could try everything and embrace an array of potentials.

How did you become interested in tech?

I didn’t label it “tech” at the time. I was one of the first 10-year-olds in my area, I think, to go to computer camp during the summer. I liked CAD design and architecture at the time. I liked being able to manipulate variables, to experiment and to dream up fantasy worlds. While I was outside a lot, I also enjoyed games and quests with maps. Zelda and The Adventures of Link were games I couldn’t get enough of. I also liked books withmaps at the front. I think I liked tech best when it wasn’t completely abstract—an application is what excited me, coupled with some philosophical wonderings.

What aspects of your work are you proudest of?

I’m genuinely uplifted by work that allows for connection and freedom. We live in an age that’s often disconnected, but if we use tech wisely, it can actually promote connections around us, and improve our ability to lead lives with greater presence and sense of purpose. This is liberating.

New leadership is asking for new forms of these creative ways to approach connection and freedom. I don’t think of freedom as “free will”—I think of freedom as honoring integrity and true identity. Who am I? What is the voice that speaks inside of me, and how do I choose to be in the world? What impact can I make, and how can a community gather in solidarity around vision and values?

What drives you at work?

Real human stories, on the ground. My work takes me to a lot of places with people doing great things every day. Their stories inspire me. I just spoke at an education conference, and I was able to lead mindfulness and story exercises for teachers and education leaders. Hearing the ways that they are bringing these practices to life in their communities is something that drives me. Also, questions drive me. Questioning assumptions—seeing how a true understanding of something can lead a group to ask revelatory, challenging questions. That’s a driver for meaningful change.

What has been the toughest challenge you’ve learnt while working in the tech scene?

I think one of the toughest aspects of tech is that people think it’s inhuman. It’s similar with “data”—we think, maybe, that data is sheer stats without a story, and I think this is dangerously misleading. There’s always an underlying story, and a scenario that involves the choice and intention underneath the way we approach the data itself. Addressing a broad point about humanity and tech, I think that I’ve been lucky to be given the chance to reframe mindfulness, showing the ways in which our awareness, compassion and insights can augment, inform and drive tech approaches to creativity and innovation. Technology, ultimately, is about improvement of the quality of life. It’s  time to focus on ways that we use technology, from VR-AR to AI, in order to emphasize connection.

What advice would you give other women in tech?

I would tell other women to live dangerously, to celebrate curiosity, to forget about tying themselves to a system, role or image that is part of an identity given to them by other people (per John O’Donahue’s writings). I’d tell them not to settle with that, because there’s something else inside that wants to voice itself. I’d tell them to celebrate their one wild and precious life, as the poet Mary Oliver says. There’s a voice that wants to live, to thrive, and blocking that voice is living at variance with the truth in each of us. I’d tell them, set it free.

NICOLE GRAU

 

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Every month, we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned.

This month role model is Nicole Grau. She is an Application Manager for public services and is currently responsible for an application for about 400’000 users.

What valuable advice did you get from your parents?
I am the oldest of 4 daughters and my parents always taught us, that we have to work hard in order to get something accomplished. I kept that in mind and I always search for new challenges. Said that, I have to admit, I haven’t always been working in tech but started my career as a front desk employee. Some day I got offered a job in IT with the possibility to develop my skills in that department and I just couldn’t say no, knowing that I would have to work hard in order to get somewhere 🙂

What aspects of your work are you proudest of?
With my background outside of IT I think I am one of those tech people that never forget that there are people affected with all changes that are made in software. I am proud that even in that technical environment I never forget the people behind and affected by it.

What drives you at work?
I like the fact that I always learn something new in my job. That get’s me up in the morning, knowing that every day brings something different. It never gets boring.

What has been the toughest challenge you faced while working?
When I started working in IT I had the assumption that software is «finished» someday. But working with it every day now I figured out, that I was wrong. At least in my environment, the development of the bigger systems are never finished. There are always some changes that have to be made.

What advice would you give other women?
Every (technical) development that is done working begins to become outdated on the day of its’ completion. As a women in tech you can influence the development and bring other views into a male dominated environment.

ANDREA BERSET

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Every month we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned.

What valuable advice did you get from your parents?

I think it isn’t one single advice I got from my parents. It’s the attitude of trust and self-confidence they lived and demonstrated every day to us kids. And they gave us love and showed us how to be respectful and kind. If you are fitted with a basic trust then almost everything is possible!

What aspects of work are you proudest of?

In 2015 I started to think about founding my own company. At that time it was all around visualisation and I offered workshops and courses about this subject. I knew that this wasn’t enough and I was interested in humans and their roles in different systems they are living in. So I started a CAS in Coaching and soon recognised, that those two subjects (which are both big passions of mine) can be well connected.

So I think I’m proud of myself that I had the courage to figure out what really matters to me and the intention to follow my goals and dreams. Today I have my own company www.kimia.ch and I am able to do what I love.

What drives you at work?

I think it is my curiosity and the natural interest in people and stories. And the fact that I want to get out the best of every situation, for my clients and their needs.

What has been the toughest challenge you faced while working?

I think it is the fact that you have to get out of your comfort zone again and again and again. Every new job is a challenge. New people, new needs, new settings.  With a good backpack of skills, experiences and methods and with enough self-confidence you are able to face these challenges without breaking down.

What advice would you give other women?

You should be able to get out of your comfort zone every now and then and move further on in the learning zone – every single day.