Forget die-hard IT, digital technology is mostly about humans

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Stephanie Taverne is Manager Business Change at insurance and asset management company Nationale-Nederlanden. With her team, she is responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business (strategy & marketing, commerce, operations, risk and finance).

What do you like about your role as Manager Business Change at Nationale-Nederlanden?

Digital technology is a fast changing field and therefore my work is very diverse, from having sessions with the team to discuss how to improve our collaboration with the IT teams and the business, to setting up IT traineeships and initiating agile transformations within the department and the company. Working at Nationale-Nederlanden, I feel a certain freedom and trust, in order to grow, create and improve.

Do you see a change in the number of women working in the field of digital technology?

When I joined the management team, I was the only woman in a team with 5 men. But that has changed; one-third of the management team consists of women now. That’s a great change! And in our IT teams, you can see a slow increase of women as well.

Why do you think this is changing?

Women get more and more familiar and confronted with jobs in digital technology and see that there are many great opportunities within this field. You read about it in the newspapers and on the Internet, you can see the prominent place IT takes in organisations… you just cannot ignore it anymore. But we aren’t there yet, we need all women and men working in IT to help breaking the barriers.

What can we do to get more women exited about digital technology?

Even though I see a shift, the image still exists that digital technology is a guys-world, with only nerdy men working in IT. Digital technology is not only about IT systems, software and die-hard IT content, but mostly about humans. All systems are developed by humans, working together in teams. I hope to show that this field is also about organizational development, team development, individual development etc.

What career advice do you have for young girls wanting to pursue a similar career?

If you ever have any doubts if the world of digital technology fits you, I would recommend you to challenge your own perceptions. Try to get into contact with people in IT and ask about different roles. Digital technology has so many sides and it’s a very dynamic market. Only if you have tested your own perceptions, you can decide whether it fits your dreams and goals.

Be inspired

Marcolien de Haan is Vice President IT of Avery Dennison LGM and IHM for about a month now. Before that, she was CIO (Chief Information Officer) of Perfetti Van Melle, making her responsible for all IT. And while Vice President IT of a large company may sound like a dream job, this power woman with a high level of positive energy has by no means reached her limit.

As an independent consultant, Kim van der Hoek helps young companies make corporate deals. By guiding start-up leaders in how to negotiate and build authentic business relationships, she facilitates sustainable collaboration and growth.

Even today, many women have a negative perception of careers in digital technology. Very few choose a career in this field from the start. Geke Rosier, the founder of RightBrains, wants to change this. By sharing inspiring stories of role models who work in digital technology, she wants to contribute to a better and broader perspective of this field and the career opportunities within it. This is her story.

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