Stephanie Batson, Senior Manager, product development team, IBS Software, Montreal, Canada


Hi Stephanie, tell us about your role and what creates the buzz for you

I am the Senior Development Manager, responsible for overseeing the daily operations of our development teams for crew planning optimization solutions in the aviation sector.

Hands down, the most fulfilling part of my role is working with my team; this is a global group of developers and quality assurance (QA) professionals and they're like my second family. And just as you love to see your family members develop and pursue different avenues, I love seeing the team evolve in their roles and progress to become leaders. 

What are your earliest experiences with tech?

As a child I was always fascinated with gadgets and obsessed with electronic toys, especially the 'Simon' memory game, where you had to repeat a sequence of tones and lights. I played it so much that it developed an electrical problem…my parents couldn't afford to buy me another one, so my father and I fixed it. It was the first time that I was introduced to soldering!

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How did you get started in tech? 

My ambition was to become a doctor but after realizing I wouldn't be able to handle certain medical situations, I decided to pursue a career in electronics. The influence of 'Simon', I guess 😊 

I studied electrotechnology at Dawson College in Montreal, then continued with computer science and programming at Herzing Institute.

 What was your first role in tech?

My first IT job was as a QA Engineer; my main tasks were quality assurance on firmware and software while developing SDK (software development kit) packages. I considered pursuing a career as a software developer but I discovered that QA was more my fit. I became interested in testing software development and joined AD OPT in 2011 (now part of IBS Software) as a QA developer and tech writer.

 Tell us about the mentors who helped shape your career

My closest mentors were my Mom and my aunt. I still live by their principles and teachings:

"Be a leader and not a follower; try to be an example to everyone you meet.

Accept people as they are and build on those qualities.

No matter what happens in your life, there's a reason and a purpose for everything.

Always look at the cup as half-full instead of half-empty." 

Any notable workplace mentors you'd like to mention?

My head manager at McDonald's, where I worked while studying. I progressed through the ranks quickly, gaining a lot of responsibility at a young age, becoming a manager. She coached me on how to earn respect from coworkers and customers and I learned valuable lessons on guiding the restaurant team to collaborate and communicate with each other. 

McDonald's is very process oriented, there are parallels with the tech industry; I credit my restaurant experience in shaping who I am today as a software development manager and leader.

What are some of the career challenges you've experienced as a woman?

Being overlooked. At the start of my career, as a woman from an ethnic background, I had to try twice as hard to be seen or even heard. I've had experiences when I was pushed aside and not taken seriously. But with strength and determination, I learned to overcome these challenges: by listening and working around the situation with team members, by providing solutions to issues and gradually proving myself. And by being diplomatic, choosing the right moments to speak up, while not sounding domineering.

What career advice would you give to the next generation entering the tech sector?

It sounds like a cliché, but never give up! If you have a passion and a wish to achieve a goal, work toward it! Never look at how others are succeeding. Remember that it may take some people say, five years to achieve their goal, and it may take you 10 years to achieve yours; at the end of the day, what counts is that YOU achieved YOUR goal, and this is what people will see.

And your advice to future leaders

Be empathetic and listen. If you allow employees to share their ideas and support them in their endeavors, they will be more likely to open up to you and ultimately perform better.

 My next trip will be to…

My parents are from Barbados and Jamaica and I've visited both locations many times. I'd like to go somewhere new and experience a different culture. After watching a film set in Mauritius, that's currently top of my travel bucket list.

In my spare time, you'll find me mostly…

…involved in my local community. I play an active role in my church; I'm currently the administrator of a local basketball team and help co-ordinate weddings and events! And most importantly, I like to spend time with my family.

     Party time! Stephanie at an event she helped to organize; proud Mom


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