In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting some of the women of Hitachi Vantara who are paving the way for future generations of female talent in tech.
In this first of a three-part series, meet Bridie Arumugam. Bridie is Client Partner for Raiffeisen Bank of the Digital Solutions Banking Sector at Hitachi Vantara, as well as chair of the Women of Hitachi Employee Resource Group.
Working in financial services sales for the past 12 years, Bridie’s certainly faced the challenges of being in a male-dominated industry, such as lack of female role models and confidence in her own authenticity.
Despite any ensuing barriers, Bridie has achieved great success in her career. In the past couple of years, she has been recognized through a number of awards, including being named a finalist in the 2021 European Women In Sales Awards.
Bridie is a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion. She’s part of an initiative called Game Changers, a group of visionary female leaders from across Britain whose mission is to create positive change. As part of this network, Bridie’s ambition is to share career advice and empower girls to pursue interests in traditionally male-dominated fields, including tech, sales and finance.
I caught up with Bridie recently to hear more about her amazing story.
Q1 Tell me about your career journey in technology. How did you get started and what led you to your current role?
I fell into sales after I graduated. I was supporting a sales team and realized I’m a natural relationship-builder and am passionate about helping people. I love the ever-evolving nature of technology and providing solutions that deliver transformation, change and have a big impact.
I’m currently partnered with Raiffeisen Bank International for their cloud transformation program, which will enable them to migrate all their applications to cloud by 2022. I take pride in building long-term, deep relationships that help clients achieve their vision.
Q2 What advice would you give to young women who are considering a career in traditionally male-dominated fields such as tech, sales or finance?
My advice to women considering a career in sales or tech would be to map your own skills and find a mentor who can help you align these skills. You most likely have more qualities that are suited to tech, sales or finance than you realize. Build your network and stay dynamic; the world is ever-evolving and so are clients.
Q3 What do you see as the biggest challenge currently facing women in technology?
One of the challenges women face in technology is a lack of female role models. Many leadership teams are male-dominated, and when young female leaders can’t identify with the next “step up,” they’ll oftentimes try to mold themselves to fit into the existing paradigm, which isn’t authentic.
Another major challenge is the lack of flexible working to allow females to achieve personal and family goals while still having a successful career.
Q4 The theme of International Women’s Day this year is Break the Bias. What does #BreaktheBias mean to you?
To me, Break the Bias means training people to not bring their own assumptions and prejudices to a conversation, project or situation. It means helping people be more open-minded, and not letting insecurities restrict an open mindset.
Q5 What steps can people, and organizations at large, take towards creating a gender equal world?
By fostering an inclusive culture that allows people to be their authentic self, organizations can boost their employees’ confidence levels, and in turn, drive better results. My advice would be to focus on developing a diversity and inclusion strategy that factors in both global and local goals and drives organizational cultural transformation.
Set targets to hire a more diverse workforce, because diverse thinking is what will propel organizations – and society at large – forward.
Thank you, Bridie, for sharing your insights and perspectives. I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did!
Keep an eye out for my next interview with the General Manager of our China Manufacturing Distribution Center, Jessica He – coming out on March 15th.
Claire Thomas is Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Hitachi Vantara.