This blog is part of our celebration of women kicked off by International Women’s Day. Find more inspiring stories here.
While this could seem obvious, behaviors and drivers differ across cultures and genders around the world. But we don’t always value diversity in our professional careers and don’t put enough effort into welcoming it.
Local context matters
In 2015, my career took a different path, and I went to work for a brand, not a vendor or an agency, that only operates on the French market. This experience made me realize how much more interesting working for an international organization like ours was than working for a brand.
We don’t often realize how rewarding it is to collaborate with people around the world. And as a woman, it also allows you to expand your professional network outside your home country and build your personal brand even more. Beyond the opportunity it gives you to improve your language skills, you realize very quickly that cultural diversity, when you have tasted it once in your career, becomes almost vital.
But to fully enjoy the power of diversity, you do have to put in some effort. You must understand that cultural diversity is not always a natural process. People might not understand the specificities of each other’s countries, but the truth is that it is up to you to find out, as much as it is up to you to ask what are the cultural drivers and local way of working. It’s not always the easiest thing to do but it’s so exhilarating on a daily basis. There’s also no room for boredom or routine, there is always something new to explain to someone and to learn from someone else.
I will give you a personal example related to my job as a sales enablement manager. I work with the sales organization at Cheetah Digital across the globe. I recently organized a series of training sessions for the team. As part of the training, a question was asked: “What are the three things you are grateful for?” This type of question doesn’t really translate in some cultures. I had to adapt, interpret the question for my colleagues in France, and in the end the exercise was extremely beneficial for all.
Women in tech
Whilst the industry is still dominated by males, I believe this is a perfect place for women to start and progress their careers. We are lucky to work in a dynamic and open-minded industry — always ready to challenge the status quo.
Some people will find it difficult to grasp this ever-changing environment, but this is what makes our industry so rich. As a woman, this industry might not seem a good fit, but “tech” does not mean “nerds”. Let go of the cliché ?. Without a tech background, you have plenty of opportunities to work in the digital industry.
Most people in tech aren’t engineers or coders. There are a lot of different roles and our skills are easily transferable to this industry. From sales to marketing or finance, there are a variety of roles. It also allows you to work from anywhere in the world and gives you a lot of flexibility.
My personal backgrounds is made up of diversity. My parents were born on two different continents, don’t have the same skin color, and don’t have the same culture or traditions. I did not expect to find in the professional world the diversity that I had the chance to experience personally.
You have to get out of your comfort zone, be open-minded and lose all your prejudices, question yourself, overcome your shyness, dare to speak in another language than your native one even when you are the only female in the room, but what a great experience!
Inspired? Read more in our IWD x Cheetah hub.