Women in Tech Talk - Catarina Keereman
This year for International's Women's day, we decided to take action and celebrate with an exciting event at our office - the "Women in Tech Talk".
It was the perfect occasion to celebrate International Women's Rights Day and promote gender diversity in the male-dominated IT sector.
The event aimed to draw attention to the obstacles faced by women in technology and provide a platform for accomplished women to share their stories, insights, doubts, questions, and experiences.
Three speakers, Alexandra Bendicakova, Catarina Keereman, and Myriam Broeders, brought their unique perspectives as professionals in this field covering a broad range of topics related to the challenges everyone can find in tech, from effective leadership strategies to the importance of social impact in business.
The event mainly highlighted the urgent need for more gender diversity in the technology industry, and the speakers provided valuable lessons they learned for attendees to take away and learn from.
Catarina Keereman shared her journey in the tech industry, highlighting three pieces of advice she learned throughout her career.
With 10 years of experience in the field, Catarina is now a professional figure who has worked in a broad variety of roles, including product marketing and software product management, implementing solutions in many countries.
Despite her success, she faced some challenges along the way, particularly in terms of leadership, so she provided us with three pieces of advice she learned in her professional journey.
1. Use your leadership style as a strength
According to the "Predictive Index test," she was not initially seen as an ideal candidate for a critical leadership role in her company. The management team was looking for someone dominant, assertive, driving, extroverted, who did not need a lot of structure, and who could work with a lot of variety and flexibility - traits that were opposite to her personality.
However, despite not fitting the set of features expected in a leader, she got the role.
Not only, but she also discovered that her leadership style built consensus and alignment between different departments, and facilitated fact-based decision-making and stability for the team resulting in the company's success.
2. Be confident in your potential
She highlighted the confidence gap between men and women, particularly in the tech industry. She also informed the audience with data, according to various studies in fact, less than 4 out of 10 women in tech think they are as competent as their male colleagues, compared to 6 out of 10 men.
Catarina's perspective is that women should be more confident in their potential and not let their confidence gap hold them back.
Women should believe in themselves, their abilities, and their value in the workplace.
3. Find your career champions
These people support, challenge, and provide opportunities for growth and development.
Luckily during her career, she found a mentor who helped her navigate the challenges of being a woman in tech and encouraged her to pursue new opportunities.
Catarina emphasized that every woman should not be afraid to seek out advocates who can help her achieve her goals.
Finding the perfect mentor for oneself can make a significant difference in one's career growth: as we work to inspire others, we should also be focused on getting inspiration from professional individuals around us.
“What you can actively do is go look for a mentorship program inside or outside of your company. But you can also just nudge the bits with what I did by asking people you work with, people you look up to, for a small piece of career advice, or some feedback on your work. And when you see it works, continue building that relationship and ask for a bit more.
Don't be shy to get started, because people typically really like to give pieces of advice to coach others. I too now take quite some enjoyment and pride in coaching other people when I see that there is a lot of potential!”
As members of the dualoop team, we wanted to take action to show our values and support gender equality in the workplace.
The Women in Tech Talk was a successful and inspiring event that brought together a diverse group of people to discuss important issues, promote positive change and highlight the importance of balance between personal and professional life with some useful tips.
It’s not always easy, but it’s always possible.
“To make all that work, what is very important is good planning, good communication, but the base condition is that I have a partner that sees my career as important as his and actively supports it. Your professional mentors are quite important, but to thrive in your career, you also need to have your career champion at home.”
In conclusion, Catarina's journey has taught her valuable lessons, and she shared these insights with the audience.
She emphasized the importance of using one's leadership style as a strength, being confident in one's potential, and finding career champions who can support one's journey.
These pieces of advice are crucial for women looking to succeed in the tech industry, and they can help them navigate all the challenges they may face along the way.