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Words of Wisdom from Women in Tech


This blog was originally published on Meltwater UK's blog, by Perri Robinson

Each year International Women’s Day gets bigger and bigger. 2018 saw over a million conversations making waves across the various social media channels. Celebrities joined in on the chatter, as did politicians and brands. Dubbed the ‘The Year of the Woman’, 2018 is a particularly special year for the United Kingdom as we also celebrate the 100th anniversary since the first general election in which women were granted the vote.

Female empowerment is at an all-time high and while companies are taking an interest in female headcount in senior roles, the numbers still don’t add up.

A global study by Grant Thornton found that in 2017, the number of UK senior business roles held by women fell. “Despite a series of calls and reviews to help boost the number of women in business and the boardroom, the proportion of senior business roles held by women in the UK has fallen to 19%. The percentage of UK firms with no women in senior management has also risen from 36% to 41% this year,” writes Rebecca Smith, Deputy Digital Editor at CityAM.

And the tech scene paints an even bleaker picture.

According to Women in Tech, the number of working women in technology is significantly lower than most other UK work sectors. Just 17% of those working in Technology in the UK are female.

Fortunately, Meltwater breaks that mould.

I’m so proud to work for a tech company that boasts 47% female and 53% male employees working across the UK. Meltwater UK’S female leaderships stats are pretty impressive too!

Words of Wisdom from Fellow Female Meltwarriors

Every day I am inspired by the women I work alongside. Meltwater offers employees lots of opportunities to visit international offices – and with more than 55 offices throughout six continents to get through, I haven’t touched the surface of the sheer amount of female talent that we have. With that being said, I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a few.

So in light of 2018 being the “year of the women” and a tremendously successful International Women’s Day, I caught up with a few Meltwater female leaders and asked what their advice would be for women starting out in tech (and business in general)!

Judith van der Westen, Client Success Director, Meltwater Amsterdam

“My advice to women working within every industry is to find something that you have a passion for. This drive will allow you to have a clear focus on what you want to accomplish, the impact that you want to have and results that you want to drive. The most important factor for me to be successful is to have grind – stick through difficult phases with a clear purpose and have tangible milestones in between detailing what you want to achieve. This will make you a stronger person with more confidence in your own ability. And never forget; “Talent wins games, Teamwork wins championships”

Rym Bachouche, Head of Marketing & Communication, Meltwater FANS & ME

“Independently of cultural background and across every industry, the way women communicate often shapes how they are perceived professionally. My advice to every woman is to remember, form is as important as content. Focus on how you say things as much as what you are saying. We can improve our vocal impact by practising the right tone, playing with the volume, adjusting our vocal pace or knowing when to turn it off (silence is powerful too). Record yourself when preparing a presentation or a pitch – you might be surprised by how you come across. Our voice impacts our executive presence and credibility. It creates respect towards what we say, builds trust and likeability… and can often make us a better influencer! Such self-reflection will help women’s voices to be (really) heard!”

Samantha Monk, Director of Client Strategy, Meltwater EMEA

“Data science and artificial intelligence are changing the world, and of course women need to be there at the forefront helping to lead this movement. Gender inequality in engineering is well documented and hopefully, we are taking steps to improve this – but in the meantime, it is important to remember that there are so many other, crucially important roles within the tech industry where women are already playing major roles.

A sea-change of the magnitude that we are experiencing at the moment requires big thinkers who can imagine the possibilities of new technologies and translate them for their businesses. Many giant tech companies are famously run by women (IBM and Oracle, to name a couple). Behind the well-known names are thousands of women working to ensure that the companies that are changing the world are profitable, forward-thinking and strategically sound.

My mum is a data scientist and even when she realised I probably wasn’t going to turn into an engineer, she always pushed me to embrace intellectual challenges and to not be afraid of speaking up when I know that I am onto something.

It is so important that women who are inspired by the excitement of our industry don’t feel that it excludes them. Whether it is through engineering, business, or other important functions women can – and do – lead. It is our responsibility not to succumb to stereotypes, to support each other, and to give credit to the important work that is already being done, every day, by women in our field.”

Benedicte Kristiansen, Managing Director, Meltwater Oslo

“It’s important to remember that success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. The best you can do is to make sure that you push yourself – every day – to go that one step further. Regardless of where it takes you, you’re still one step ahead of yesterday. Regardless of gender – success is not given, it is earned.”

Sophie Hedestad, Head of Marketing, Meltwater Nordics

“I’m very passionate about female leadership. Companies today must realise that it’s old-fashioned to not have equality in management, containing women and men from different cultural backgrounds. This is important from an employer branding perspective as well. You wouldn’t want to work somewhere that doesn’t allow an equal working environment. My advice to women is to find a workplace that prides itself on equality. Science shows that working in a diverse company increase efficiency!”

Yangchen Yonzon, Managing Director, Meltwater New Delhi

“My advice to women starting out in business or the technology sector is to break-away from old boys club mentality by joining a start-up. When you are part of an entrepreneurial setup, where momentum in growth is paramount, you will be hired for your merits and your willingness to roll-up your sleeves – irrespective of your gender. There is no history of male-dominated roles, which means it’s easier for women to break the glass ceiling, or in most cases, there might not even be a glass ceiling to break!”

Sonja Winkler, Managing Director, Meltwater Johannesburg

“Having managed women working towards their own individual goals, I believe one of the biggest challenges women face is “Imposter Syndrome”. This is where women have the inability to internalise their accomplishments and constantly feel as if they’re a “fraud”. If you are in a position, it is because you’ve worked really hard and deserve to be there. Don’t be afraid to face challenges head on and understand your true worth, you’ll surprise yourself at how far you can really go.”

Julia Nill, Managing Director, Executive Alerts, Meltwater Cape Town

Show up. Dive in. Stay at it. – Barack Obama

We hope this blog and advice has inspired you today! We’re keen to learn what female leaders are inspirations to you? Do you have a go-to self-development book you’d recommend? Is there a must-see TED talk we need to watch, like, right now? Tweet us and let us know @Meltwater!

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