The narrative around the participation of women in technology is a discussion that has no end, the more the talks around it, the more narratives that can be explored.
Seeking to get a different perspective on the narrative around women’s participation in technology, we had a chat with Zenab Abbas, Marketing Manager for Vertiv, Middle East and Africa.
Vertiv is a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions that spans five continents, offering its global leadership, broad expertise and competitive commercial terms while optimally running vital applications for data centers, communication networks, and commercial and industrial facilities.
Beyond the prominence of Vertiv in the technology space around the world, we explored Zenab’s perspective on how to drive women’s participation in technology.
Background on your technology journey?
Vertiv is a global leader in the digital space and the way technology impact our lives has always been a fascinating discussion point, more specifically to optimize our work and personal lives.
Also, the balance we have to keep in mind is that there is a dependency between technology and other means and for me, the opportunity to join the Vertiv team was by complete chance.
I was in the investment banking sector before a colleague introduced me to what appears to be the beginning of my journey into the tech space.
It was a fascinating new world to me of critical infrastructure, as our solution is defined as being business-critical, which in this day and age is very necessary for a business to be successful.
Many people are unaware of what a data center is, for example when we say cloud, your data is hosted in a data center and Vertiv ensures you have unrestricted access to it. For me, it’s an industry that continues to evolve and develop with so much potential for growth.
As a woman in tech, how do you encourage more participation of women in technology?
Globally, there is a trend of few women in STEM, but in the last couple of years, we have seen that there is a gradual increase in the number of women in STEM.
This can be a partial result of society, change of perception in the industry, and a lot of women leaders speaking up, voicing their transparency while communicating that it’s not anything to be intimidated by.
Growing up as a child, it was a sort of industry that you are not encouraged to be part of, but rather move to a female-dominated space.
Technology wasn’t encouraged but we see it change day by day and I certainly know that African women are strong women and I am sure this trend will continue.
Using platforms at my disposal to be transparent, genuine and honest about my positive experiences so far and I hope to inspire at least one person.
I encourage them to join a company that promotes continuous creativity and development, as we engage to inspire others. One of our core values for example is assisting others to be successful as a team.
In the tech space, how do you balance your career with family?
Work-life balance is a personal choice and a decision that needs to be taken between the concerned parties. I have a supportive and understanding partner, because of my passion.
It’s a personal decision and I will always encourage women to pursue their passion. Anyway in life you should surround yourself with people who can influence you positively and encourage you to pursue your dream.
Working in a male-dominated space, how have you survived the ups and down?
I have always been in a male-dominated industry right from investment banking and now in technology.
I am quite comfortable around a variety of personalities. You have to understand how to navigate, communicate and negotiate when necessary.
The key to my success so far is focusing on myself, performance and continue driving that performance towards a higher result. So each individual should decide what they want to focus on, whether positively or negatively.
Ups and downs are natural in every cycle of life. You don’t enjoy the ups unless you have the down. I believe if you work hard and open to continuously improve yourself you can survive any space regardless of your gender.
What are your thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme #ChooseToChallenge?
As people say, true challenges come change and changes start with you and me, and I will like to encourage all individuals, women or men, that if they do experience such inequality or face such conflict they should speak up in one voice which is the catalyst to change.
What is Vertiv doing in encouraging women’s participation in technology?
There is a program in the United States initiated by Vertiv, Women At Vertiv Excel (WAVE). It’s quite innovative and new and was rolled out to different regions globally.
This was pioneered by one of our women leaders in the industry and in the company. Encouraging women to excel to support each other. Again it’s a testament to the kind of company that we are part of this initiative.
Coming to Africa there is often the discussion on programs that we can roll out not just to women but youth in Africa to bring us their idea and innovation.
Our Managing Director at Vertiv advocates for youth bringing their innovation to the company while we offer internship programs focusing on bringing youths to the industry as we share our experience with them.
Featured Image: Zenab Abbas, Marketing Manager, Vertiv, Middle East and Africa.
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