08 Mar Celebrating four female telco/tech heroes
Today, Monday, 8 March is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can also choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. At Global Telco Consult (GTC) we’re passionate about inclusivity and would like to celebrate four phenomenal women who are making great strides in the tech/telco space.
Jade Le Maitre co-founded Hease Robotics, which develops autonomous customer service droids to help the public. In 2017, Hease robots were deployed by French construction services company Vinci, hypermarket chain Leclerc, transport operator Keolis and more. Jade recently launched Lyon-Is-AI to promote the French AI ecosystem. She is co-founder of the Social Robots Community, a member of Women Robotics and a Mentor for the Lyon French Tech IOT Manufacturing network. Jade has also been listed in The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech (Forbes).
Jade’s passion for engineering was inspired by ‘The Mysterious Island’, a Jules Verne tale of American Civil War escapees who used teamwork, scientific knowledge, engineering and perseverance to build a colony from scratch on an uncharted Pacific island. “This was an interesting metaphor of how people are able to change the world and make it a better place by engineering new devices,” she said. As a woman making her mark in robotics automation, Jade understands the importance of not forgetting our humanity. “I strongly believe that as engineers, we have a moral obligation to change the world to make it a better place. As humans, by design, we have a negative impact on the earth. Therefore, it is our duty to build things that may balance that. I believe that by focusing on Green IT, clean data centres, energy-efficient components, we can create positive-impact devices and make the world a better place.”
Claudia Nemat has been a member of the board at Deutsche Telekom since October 2011 and until the end of 2016, she led the European business. Since January 2017 she has been responsible for the Board area ‘Technology and Innovation’, which includes networks, IT, products, as well as information and cyber security. She focuses on digital transformation, the impact of new technologies like artificial intelligence on business models, our lives, technology and product innovation, as well as IT transformation, security and crisis management.
Before taking up her position on the board at Deutsche Telekom, Claudia was a senior partner at the McKinsey management consultancy, where she specialised in the information and telecommunications sector and was responsible for the markets in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Having focused on management and performance culture issues, Claudia understands the significance of diversity management for the success of the company. “Several different management styles are combined in mixed-gender teams. Mixed-gender teams definitely improve the quality of decision making”.
According to Claudia, creating opportunities for women in the tech/telco industry can only really happen if young girls are inspired to follow a career in this field early on. “Sometimes in our tech business, I have challenges in finding female managers because the share of women in STEM education is still too low. Personally, I believe it has a lot to do with role models when we’re young. I think it’s very important to create a passion for science among girls when they are young. Technology should be interesting for both genders and the public and private sectors should actually talk to each other more frequently. There needs to be a dialogue … the private sector can explain what we can do with all the technologies, but we should also have a trial of what is working (in education) and decide what needs to change.”
Whitney Wolfe Herd is the Founder and CEO of Bumble. She is also VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Tinder. In 2021, Whitney became the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire after taking Bumble public. From an early age, Whitney had a strong vision and determination to change the internet by creating a space and platform that would empower users to behave well and be kind to one another. It was from this idea that Bumble emerged.
“The more we empower the women on our platform, the safer the space becomes, the more enjoyable the space becomes and the more evangelised the brand becomes. Then, the more attractive it actually becomes to men. Because what people are actually doing on this platform is connecting. And if you alienate the women and you make this something that women are not going to enjoy, then why would men enjoy that? So, it’s somewhat of a no-brainer,” said Whitney.
Whitney, who is passionate about playing her part to create a more inclusive world, believes it is crucial for women to mentor and guide each other in a world that is still male-dominated. “Women need to support other women, and we must ensure we are providing women with opportunities that allow them to reach their full potential … We applaud any company making business decisions that empower women.”
Isabelle Paradis is the Founder and President of Hot Telecom, an innovative and creative research and consulting company that has provided international operators and carriers with specialised intelligence and advice for 15 years. Isabelle works with global telecom service providers on defining their transformation strategy. Through the Young Entrepreneurs Taskforce (YET), Isabelle is also an Ambassador for women entrepreneurs. She is passionate about encouraging the involvement of women in technology & science and conducts multiple panels and interview with leading women globally.
According to Isabelle, the future is bright for female entrepreneurs who have a passion for science. “You can never be sure of anything in life, so sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and give something a go. If you succeed in engineering or any technology/science type of study, I think you’ll be able to achieve anything because it forms your mind – it forms the way you analyse problems, and that’s a very big strength in business.”
“Life is now all about science. It’s all about technology, even if you’re in the business of banking. Young women who understand the basis of technology are already well ahead of many people.”
In an industry that has been historically male-dominated, these inspiring individuals consistently #ChooseToChallenge and demonstrating that if women are provided with the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge in an ever-evolving digital environment, the world is theirs to conquer. We salute these female powerhouses, who are paving the way for other women to have a bright future in the tech/telco industry. Together, let’s #ChooseToChallenge the status quo and #BeBoldForChange.