What exactly is it that inspires and motivates women to work in the technology sector? In the context of our ‘Women in Tech’ interviews, we asked six inspirational women just that. Why would women want to work in the sector anyway? The answer is that women who want to study, work in, and lead businesses in science and technology have much to add and they should be proactively empowered to do so. Lydia Baenen, Project Manager SFMC Implementation at Emark Barcelona, shares her thoughts on the subject and reveals what motivated her to start a career in tech.
Was a career in technology a conscious choice or a coincidence?
It was never my ambition to have a career in the technology scene; to be honest I seemed to roll into it. My first experience was a job as a project manager. Later, I was a project manager and team leader with a digital agency that created websites and back-end systems for clients. We took a 360-degree approach, from marketing, design and development to website maintenance and online marketing.
When I started with that company I had no experience in website development, or any other type of programming. But with the help of a great team I soon understood the process and learned how to conduct initial technical discussions with clients. It was in this role I noticed that I really liked working in technology and creating things for clients.
After doing that job for three years, I switched to a more managerial position with a graphic design company, but I noticed that something was missing. I missed the satisfaction that comes from creating deliverables for clients that they can use to grow their business.
And now you work for Emark Barcelona as a Project Manager, implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud projects.
Yes! I love working in Barcelona. The weather is great and I have the privilege of working in a team that consists of several different nationalities. This, combined with the Spanish culture, is a great mix.
What makes it such a perfect mix?
I love the combination of how our multicultural project teams here work hard to create concrete deliverables with which our clients can improve their business and grow, and finding the right balance for building a long-term relationship with them. As I mentioned, this was something I really missed in my last job and I was specifically looking for a way to get my professional career back on the right track.
Work hard, play hard?
Definitely. Before Emark I worked in a 24-hour market in which my clients were dispersed all over the world, so I’d be receiving emails at all hours of the day. At Emark practically all of our clients are located in our time zone, which makes it easier to get my work done inside regular office hours. Occasionally I’ll work longer to finalise something, but at Emark I have the flexibility to balance that at other times, if necessary.
Speaking about balance, do you think there is a shortage of women in the tech industry?
Personally, I don’t see there being a big barrier to women entering the tech industry. It is true that it used to be a mainly male-oriented industry, particularly in Argentina, where I started working for that digital agency in 2010. Of course, as a woman, you need to be able to cope with this. But I have noticed that more and more women have been entering the industry these past few years, both on the programming and project-management sides.
What advice would you give to women who are considering a career in tech?
And what are the most important skills they should have? As a project manager it’s vital that you have organisational skills combined with a helicopter view over all projects so you don’t lose track of the details. This means being able to maintain a good view of all the processes and understanding the technical steps that need to be carried out during a project. A really interesting aspect nowadays, however, is that as technology evolves, you continue learning too.