Women in Tech: Jeanette See, Head of Marketing, APAC region, IBS Software
Welcome to 'Women in Tech', a Q&A series in which we're shining the spotlight on colleagues in various roles, based around the globe, who are playing a key part in the company's success.
By sharing their personal stories on how they forged a career in tech, we're celebrating the vibrant talent in our organisation and hopefully, lighting a spark to inspire others to pursue similar paths.
Tell us about your role and what you enjoy
I manage marketing for the Asia Pacific region. It's a role that I've been doing for some time with different multinational companies in the aviation industry. It's a highly nuanced job which covers a region with diverse cultures and ways of doing business. It keeps me on the learning path given the ever-evolving marketing technology and landscape.
How did you get started? What drew you to this field?
I started my career in airlines. I serendipitously entered the tech field after a series of dinner reunions with former colleagues which inspired me to take a job with SITA. Because of the industry's dynamic growth and evolving opportunities, I've remained in tech. Technology is driving all the changes we're experiencing, and also most of the benefits we're enjoying. I like the idea of being able to learn so much and yet still not know enough.
What was your first experience with tech
It was at Lufthansa Airlines. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I was there when we transitioned from those ancient paper tickets to paperless ones. :-) And then Lufthansa was the first to launch internet services on board. It was a very exciting time, there were so many digital initiatives that we launched in the markets.
How have things changed for women in this sector since you started?
Women are influencing the tech world, especially here in APAC. An increasing share of women now hold leadership positions¹ and it's influencing the younger generation of girls to enter the STEM fields².
How do you encourage other women in your field and beyond?
I support any initiative that promotes inclusion and diversity, be it gender or ethnicity. I've participated in programs like mentoring female colleagues and visiting schools to promote tech to young girls. I've recently signed up to Women in Aviation International which champions opportunities for women through education and training.
What are some of the career challenges you've experienced as a woman?
There are a lot of good initiatives that bring women into the workplace at an entry level. However, I feel the challenge happens when it comes to growing in the company. In the past, I've faced unconscious bias, stereotyping, lack of guidance and workplace cultures that don't exactly boost one's confidence.
But in recent years, it's encouraging to see how the discourse has changed. I'd say the focus has even shifted from gender diversity to the broader topic of diversity and inclusion. This is being embraced by most companies, and more importantly, supported by leadership (both male and female).
What career advice would you give to the next generation of women entering the sector now?
Pursue your interest! Look for opportunities to continuously learn and upskill. Network with your contacts, seek support and mentorship if you feel that you need it. Most importantly, be your best self and have fun along the way.
My next trip will be to…
…visit my family in Manila; as is the case with a lot of people, I haven't seen them in over a year and a half. After that, I plan to tick Hawaii off my bucket list. I can't wait to hit the beaches, enjoy nature, relax and get lost in the islands. Aloha!
¹ Forbes China: 50 Women In Tech All of the listees hold at least one degree in a STEM-related major.
² STEM Equity Monitor 2021 report Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Since 2015, the proportion of women enrolled in university STEM fields of education (undergraduate and postgraduate) increased by 2 percentage points reaching 36% in 2019 (more than 81,000 women), up from 34% in 2015 (70,000 women).