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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

We spoke to Carolien Nijhuis, director IoT at KPN, about innovative solutions and the role of women in a hyper-connected world. What makes an employee stay in one job for years on end? Carolien Nijhuis has been with a single employer, the Dutch internet and telecommunications giant KPN, for over 25 years. For the now managing director of Internet of Things (IoT) at KPN, it’s simple: When you work for a company that maintains a thriving entrepreneurial environment, nurtures customer centricity and positions itself as a leader of impact and change, why move?

Dr. Karen Stephenson, an award-winning corporate anthropologist and social network analysis pioneer, does not fit in a box. She moves outside of the proverbial box, peeking inside it to study the edges, faces and vertices—visualising what connects different boxes all over the world.

Anouk Vos has more than a decade of experience as a strategic cyber security advisor for international and national governments, multinationals and NGOs. She co-founded the high-tech consultancy Revnext and the non-profit organisation Cyberwerkplaats, which reimagines IT education. She also co-founded the Women in Cyber Security Foundation to foster connections amongst underrepresented women in the field.

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