How would you summarize 2021 for yourself, your business and the local/global tech industry?
In 2021, we were still experiencing the impacts of Covid on a personal and professional level. Throughout the year, I felt we were more attuned to remote work and better adjusted to work-life balance than in 2020. When the pandemic started in 2020, private sector organizations and public had to find solutions for the continuity of their activities, set up remote solutions, review their architectures to support traffic peaks and adapt to much more.
Cloud computing has enabled organizations to rapidly scale and transform their processes and systems. In 2021, we continued to see an acceleration in cloud adoption and remained focused on supporting customers in the Middle East and Africa with their digital transformation strategies. Last year, we announced the launch of an AWS Region in the United Arab Emirates in 2022, providing new opportunities for organizations to accelerate their cloud adoption. And of course, 2021 was a special year for the UAE with the launch of Expo 2020, where AWS technology supported the event’s virtual experiences.
What are your expectations for this year?
I’m excited to see the return of in-person events and face-to-face meetings. I’m very optimistic for this year because of the opportunity for people to collaborate more closely and the positive impact this has for teams to thrive and achieve more meaningful results.
As a female leader, what challenges did you face getting to the top and how did you overcome them?
I started my career as a software engineer and architect and from the start I knew that the recipe for success was having clear communication and earning the trust of my peers by ensuring that I delivered my powers. I have built my confidence over the years by stepping out of my comfort zone and taking on new challenges. My appetite for continuous learning has played a major role in my development. This includes learning from failure, which has allowed me to pivot and find new paths to success. Finally, I never focused on titles – instead, I pursued opportunities that offered me personal and professional growth.
In the male-dominated tech industry, what steps should be taken to attract more women into tech?
Although the tech industry is still male-dominated, we have seen progress over the past few years and an increased awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the industry. To attract more women into tech, we need to encourage more girls to study and major in STEM degrees. The industry has an important role to play here, and it’s something we take very seriously at AWS. Different initiatives such as hours of code, hackathons, professional training programs and internships are essential to encourage young girls to seek a future in technology. At the same time, for female tech professionals, providing the right mentorship and coaching is key. Sharing stories of successful female role models is also very inspiring, not focusing on the challenges they might have faced, but celebrating their journeys and successes.
What key tips/advice will you offer aspiring female leaders/entrepreneurs to help them advance in this industry?
Be proud of everything you’ve accomplished so far and keep believing in your ability to grow even further. Don’t say “no” to an opportunity because you’re scared. Never stop learning. Surround yourself with supportive mentors, expand your network, and stay open to new opportunities.
Read: Women in tech: Gina Collignon, vice-president and head of marketing at SAP
Read: Women in Tech: Cathy Mauzaize of ServiceNow