Reem Zahran, Chief Information Officer at Vistra, has an impressive career in technology. And she’d dearly love more women to join her in the industry. “In order to get the best out of the geeks we need other types of people. And there are just not enough women. If there were more I think we’d end up with much more creative solutions to problems. Apps would be designed differently or serve different scenarios. Traveling to different countries with my work I find it’s rare to meet women working in technology. And even in cultures where there are more women in tech you still don’t see senior women in the field. This needs to change”.
After Symbion, the mobile technology company where she worked, got bought by Nokia Reem came to understand the value of her transferable skills – delivery, solving client problems, managing complex international teams, outsourcing work and troubleshooting. Her recent move to Vistra, a corporate and financial services company where she’ll be the first woman on the board, means taking on a whole new industry.“With transferable skills you can move industries. I’m keen to find ways to introduce women to technology and I think many don’t recognise that they have transferable skills that are of value to a different organisations. We often take our achievements and skills for granted and don’t think they’re valuable”.
So if you are a woman who’s looking to move into technology, go through your CV and remind yourself of your strengths and focus on stretching your mind. “There are so many different roles involved in building a business that’s commercially viable. Tech companies need people who know how to design user interfaces, how to analyse requirements from customers, how to work globally with different cultures, and so on. In technology the focus needs to be on those skill sets – which many woman have”.
Photo Credit: Eleanor Cheetham