Much has been written about the lack of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers – including in this blog channel – so today I’m going talk about possible solutions: firstly, increasing visibility of women in these fields so they can be role models for others; secondly, challenging ourselves about the concept of role models. Everyone has the potential to be a role model through even one inspiring behavior or mastered competence. I know there are many role models out there, but they’re not always easy to find. Female scientists, engineers and mathematicians just aren’t in the limelight the way singers, actresses, and reality show stars are – so I’d like to use this forum to shine the spotlight on some of our role models here at Nokia.
I’ll start at the top for the sake of visibility, as we have two women on our Leadership Team: Kathrin Buvac, head of Strategy, and Maria Varsellona, head of Legal & Compliance. Kathrin was recently listed at one of Global Telecom Business (GTB) “50 women to watch in 2016” and she too has blogged on the women in STEM topic. But we know that role models populate every level of an organization and we have extraordinary women throughout the company. At this point you may be wondering if this blog ended up on the external channel by accident. Isn’t this more of an internal Nokia issue…?
No. It’s very much a shared concern across our industry. Ensuring diversity is a priority, not least because gender imbalance is a huge loss of talent for companies. We aim to create virtuous circles for women to thrive in ICT, from helping increase interest among female students to increased visibility of our own female employees, especially those in leadership positions.
So I’d like to introduce you to more of our extraordinary role models.
Meet Jane Rygaard, head of Advanced Mobile Solutions marketing at Nokia Networks, who was also listed on the GTB “50 women to watch in 2016” and has blogged on the topic of “making tech human” I especially admire Jane’s ability to talk about technology in an easy, accessible way. Check out her interview in Light Reading’s Mentor Monday.
Hilary Mine, Leader of Network Transformation has been with the company in roles that have included strategy, marketing, channel sales, communications, business line P&L, and region leadership. Hilary has been grateful for many role models in her career – both male and female, including employees in her direct report. As a single mom, she demoted herself intentionally more than once in her career, either to learn something new and reinvent her skill set, or to strengthen and care for her family. Her favorite quote and personal mantra is, “Courage is a like a muscle: it is strengthened by use”, by actress Ruth Gordon.
Sandy Motley leads E2E Sales Solutions in the North American Market. Sandy started her career at Bell Labs and demonstrated her agility and adaptability throughout to take on a variety of roles from technical to operational to sales. She was recently interviewed by LightReading about her career and she talks about the importance of role models in the interview. Sandy is on the Women in Comms Board of Advisors and communicates the importance of building a strong network to support career and work decisions. Sandy lives with her husband and two sons and instills the same concepts of promoting role models and networking in their family activities associated with baseball, formula racing, high school and university.
These women are role models for me and could be for anyone, both inside and outside Nokia. There are many more like them among our ranks; highly qualified, competent individuals who could be role models simply by increasing their visibility in the workplace.
That’s why Nokia has launched programs to address the Female Capital Gap by giving women with high potential more visibility within the company and help them develop the connections and skills needed to move up the corporate ladder. These programs blend business sponsorship, mentoring and executive coaching, and gather women from all regions and organizations, who will become role models and inspiration to more employees.
Role models are everywhere – men and women in all functions and at all levels, we just need to seek them out and pay attention to them. I hope some of the role models I mention above might also inspire you or your daughters and sons the way they have me.
Read more about Nokia’s commitment to gender balance in our People & Planet Report.
Watch Nokia CMO Barry French discuss gender balance here: