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‘IT has a huge transforming power’

The theme Women in IT is one of the biggest tracks for the first time at Gartner Symposium / ITXpo.More diversity is a logical answer to the changing questions, often more business-related, that are put to IT. Executive People discussed this with Stephanie Pech, Executive Partner at Gartner Benelux. “By migrating to IT, I can contribute to innovation and digital transformation.”

Stephanie Pech is an Executive Partner at Gartner Benelux sparring partner for CIOs in Belgium and Luxembourg. She works for Gartner for a year now. Prior to that, she was acting as marketing director on the part of the business. “At one point I’m about to look at another function at some point. At first sight, a function appeared to be in the HR, many women follow such a path. But because I personally are very interested in transformation and innovation, IT also came into view. ”

“As a marketing director, I was already working on it, setting up a radical digital communication strategy, based mainly on social media, including developing content and performing analytics. That’s where my love for the transforming power of IT came from. That’s what I wanted to go on. The digital transformation is a topical subject. By moving myself to the technology world, I can contribute to it. An old colleague, who had been CIO at my old company, already worked at Gartner, and contacted them. ”

Driven

She has conducted research into women in top positions. Belgium does thirty percent women in top positions not bad, and among the CIOs they face are more and more women. Interestingly, ninety percent of them did not come from IT, but came from the business in the CIO role. “In general, we also see that many male CIOs increasingly have a business background. The women who came into these positions are extremely driven, and really want to create something with IT. That’s also the reason why our services connect with them so well, and they join us for advice. They have great leadership qualities. ”

“It makes an important transformation,” she continues. “Today, people need people who can tell stories from a leading role, communicate, and be highly customer-driven. These skills are much more common with women. The question is often how the CIO can influence the digital strategy. Women can play an important role in this. In my opinion, there is a great future for business-oriented CIOs with empathetic skills. ”

Door open

She emphasizes that she is talking about women in C-level positions, not about women in the IT in general. “Once women have a top function, open the door to accept other women in the IT. However, there is a problem that there are too few women in the IT. That’s all about society and education, and prejudice to IT. Yet there are demonstrable benefits, for example, a recent study shows that women in IT can earn significantly more than in other specializations. That could be a motivating factor. The overall level is still lower than men, while they have more degrees. ”

“Diversity is important for Gartner, because we want to be honest and sustainable. Every form of diversity is important. In addition, it is good for our customers because we see that more diversity in organizations leads to better results. It’s better for everyone if there are women at the table too. ”

Mission

But how do you handle that? “That must come from your mission, and the role you want to play in society as an organization. It calls for a modern HR strategy. A more flexible HR will be added, and that is where technology can play an important role. A more flexible way of working makes it easier for women to get a good work-private balance. ”

She notes that it is striking that in the public sector in Belgium fewer women work in a top management position than in business. While there are laws from the government to make that diversity possible. “The government itself requires companies to become more diverse. That is an opposition. My experience is that private companies are ultimately more open to the necessary flexibility. In the public sector, women often hesitate to aspire to a higher job because of the masculine culture that prevails there. ”

“It’s a command and control environment, not focused on collaboration. It is important that women themselves embrace those positions and bring about the change that is their responsibility. They just have to break the rules of this men’s world. ”

Education

Also IT is a men’s world. What should happen? “There education plays an important role. For example, children should learn what is programming so they know what it is and so they can enjoy it. But it may take a while, it will not go fast. Because the core of the problem is the difference between men and women in the home situation. That’s something that can take more than ten years. There must be a good deal between men and women. Meanwhile, it is the case that women come together and network, to talk about how they can change things. ”

“At Gartner we have nine executive partners and three of them are women. There you’ll see that thirty percent again. And that’s good, because in that way we can make changes. And in practice, for example, we see that a female CIO explicitly requests a female adviser. And I strongly believe in the transferability of leadership qualities. It’s easier to move to other departments, so you get more diversity, and create added value. This allows you to actually shape the digital transformation. As an Executive Partner, I see it as my task of supervising CIOs. “

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