By Editorial team
"Women need to pursue STEM subjects because our brains can only be limited by ourselves. We can do anything we set our minds to – it’s not about being better than boys, but being better than we were yesterday by reaching for our passion and fully embracing it." Sophie Odupoy, Senior Marketing Manager, East and Southern Africa shares her insights on being a woman in the ICT industry.
What attracted you to the ICT industry?
ICT is becoming an integral part any industry, entity, business, you name it. I had started and spent most of my career in FMCG marketing and I wanted to be part of something that is amazing – look at the speed with which innovations are developed and turned into a business – and these have pushed Kenya further into the forefront of technology in the world. Who wouldn’t want to form art of such a fast-paced industry and with Microsoft, where there is a melding of B2B and B2C, I could get the best of both worlds with a market leader. I have been truly amazed at how far this industry has come and it boggles the mind what is being developed and by young people in college. This industry truly is about ‘if you can dream it, you can make it.’
What do you love most about being a woman in the ICT industry?
What do I love about being a woman in this industry is that the glass ceiling has been broken and there no limit to what I would love to achieve provided I develop myself. I love that in Microsoft especially all opportunities are gender neutral. I love that I can be part of something that changes how things are done and not limited by boundaries and the internet has ensured that information goes around the world in second. And sometimes I get so immersed in what I am doing that my gender does not factor – it’s about what needs to be done and doing it.
What challenges have you experienced as a woman in the ICT industry?
To be honest I can’t say the challenges I have faced are due to my being a woman. The world is more accepting and there are more women in C-Level positions than at any other time in history. You have to take on the challenge as the person you are today and not led your gender lead.
Why is it important to encourage more women to pursue STEM subjects
Women need to pursue STEM subjects because our brains can only be limited by ourselves. We can do anything we set our minds to – it’s not about being better than boys, but being better than we were yesterday by reaching for our passion and fully embracing it. In the not so far past, our parents believed the world revolved around medicine, law and engineering as courses to take in university. Each generation gets ahead of the previous one – don’t’ let the past hinder your future – children need to make their parents understand what they cannot understand – technology and that the future is about things like Cloud,
How can a woman achieve a good work / life balance? (Having time for your work and your hobbies)
As a new mother, I have truly had to learn to find a balance between work and life. What I can say I am learning to do is to set time aside that is purely for work and time purely for myself and family. There are times where there’s overlap but I ensure these times are few and far between. I also remind myself that I do need the time away from work to re-energize to be able to deliver at my peak at work.
What advice do you have for women looking for a career in ICT?
Simply put – REACH FOR IT. Research and prepare yourself by understanding the industry - speak to people in the industry - and where you can make a difference then pitch yourself.