How to get ahead as a Woman In Technology with Nicole Meissner
Publication EGR Technology spoke to Head of Digital Nicole Meissner about bringing more women into technology. A walking example of the benefits that diversity can bring to a company, Nicole’s advice here is well worth a read. You can visit EGR Technology here.
EGR Technology: How did you end up getting into the tech sector?
Nicole Meissner (NM): I was just interested in changing things and transforming experiences of how the world is being perceived. As of today, that’s very much driven by technology. For me, it wasn’t a question of do I get into tech or not. It was more about how can I really change perceptions and experiences and that ended up being tech.
EGR Technology: Can you describe the technical aspects and responsibilities of your role at Hogarth?
NM: I run the digital part of the production agency. I’m looking after the delivery of every single project, which includes all the customer engagement, defining experiences and building them. We’re finally beyond just looking at websites and mobile apps but more omni-channel in the sense of handing over touch points and what that means for a customer experience. Gender content is finally becoming more important so a bank doesn’t just see someone who gets a mortgage but what’s behind that and how better to target the people behind the message.
EGR Technology: At Hogarth, are there any specific initiatives to encourage more women into tech roles within the company?
NM: We started looking closer into that last year. The gender diversity within Hogarth is very well developed. Overall we’re looking at a 50/50 split. Even if I just look at my tech teams, particularly in Asia, you’ll find a lot of female developers. We believe very much in training people and also enabling them to marry their home life with their professional work life.
I’m a big supporter of programmes like Girls Who Code so we’ve started looking into starting a similar project here. What’s important is to enable a gender balance so you get a good set of female developers and project managers integrated into your daily work otherwise how can you define a female experience if you never have anybody female in the group?
I believe it is crucial to go down to the schools, in particular secondary schools, and help girls have these experiences with technology. So they can realise they can code, can think about tech and not just be consumers of tech. Hogarth wants to start a similar project this year here in London.
EGR Technology: What are the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry?
NM: As a woman I perceive the world from my own gender identity. I think it’s very important if you are in technology to know what you are talking about. But I think that’s the same in every other area. If you have the confidence and competence I’m sure you’re being listened to and doors will open.
EGR Technology: Why do you think the number of females in techie roles is still so low?
NM: I have two teenage daughters myself and a lot of the education these girls will be receiving in so-called ICT subjects is shocking. Often they do programmes like a computer driving licence which helps them create a Powerpoint or do a matrix in an Excel spreadsheet and that’s really not what technology is. And it has nothing to do with the world they will be growing in to. So the subject is utterly boring, uninspiring and not future proofing their knowledge.
If you grow up like that through your teenage years it will be really difficult for you, even if you’re a science scholar, to choose any ICT or computer science subjects. We’re not seeing a curriculum, we rarely see role models and we don’t see any investment in that area.
EGR Technology: What advice would you give to young women who are considering technology as a career?
NM: I certainly would encourage them. I think women are more needed than ever in technology to build the solutions we need for tomorrow. If you want a futureproofed job and you don’t want to work in a job which 10-20 years down the line is no longer around, hop on the technology wagon.