Be prepared for dynamism & steep learning curves

Channel Post speaks with Katja Meyer, Head Marketing – CEEMEA at Sophos on her exciting journey in the IT industry and what made her choose this industry.

Katja Meyer, Head Marketing – CEEMEA at Sophos

Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy

I strongly believe that power of people, motivation and trust are the three major aspects on which true leadership is based. According to me a leader’s true success lies in how he or she is able to motivate and encourage people to explore their potential, capabilities and skills to achieve their goals. A leader should also make sure that these individual goals are well aligned to the overall vision, mission and strategy of the organization they represent. In today’s globalized and multicultural business scenario, a leader should make sure that the strategies they follow should respect the culture and requirement of the region in which the organization operates or does business.

What made you choose IT as a career opportunity?

IT industry is one of the most agile, vivid and diverse industry. Today it has become a critical part of all other industries. It has changed the way business is done and how a user experiences information and products from different verticals. IT is healthy, growing and brings in an ecosystem of various industries, backgrounds and colors in business. All these developed a passion towards IT in me and that passion has continued over the years.

How has your unique background prepared you for success in the industry?

I can recall two diverse but important incidents that prepared me best for the industry. One was my entry-level role as a marketing assistant at a small reseller and the other was my 5 year stint at PWC. Both these roles helped me to be a unique combination of hands-on get it done mentality which I learnt at a small organization and process driven & ROI/ economic value driven way of working which I learnt at a very large organization.

What was your most interesting job?

My current role at Sophos has proven to be the most interesting one that I ever have had. At Sophos, we have well defined strategic goals. The entire organization is well aligned to these objectives and each one of us is working in our own respective capacities to achieve them.  Working towards providing innovative, simple and effective security solutions that deliver complete end-to-end cyber security capabilities excites me.

Under this role I got a chance to work on a wide range of technology solutions, diverse and different markets and cultures like Nordics, Eastern Europe, Central Europe and the Middle East & Africa. I also enjoy and feel motivated very strongly by Sophos’ culture, which is all about respecting people, excelling in quality and team work at its best. Also due to our Channel first strategy, we work very closely with channel partners and they bring a fresh wave of energy and on ground intelligence for us.

What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of computer technology?

The most important condition for being successful in your career is to really love what you do. It’s one of the strongest co-motivational elements. I believe fun and success are correlated because you will find yourself to be very good in something when you like it and you will like what you do if you are successful in it. So a good start would be to find out some areas and roles that you are really interested in and prove yourself. Also it is important to be tolerant in the way you judge what you learn – if something did not turn out the way you would have liked it to be, find out the reason without any emotional or other pre-judgement and take it as a learning about your own self. To the women aspiring to be in IT I would say be prepared for dynamism, fun, steep learning curves and love what you do. 

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

I started my work during pre-internet era, so clearly the digital transformation we all experienced over the period 1995-2000 transformed the world drastically. With many enhancements, size and capacity of devices, performance, digitalized communication and business processes over the last few years, I now believe the next big step in technology transformation will happen with machine learning and AI.

What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?

As I mentioned in the earlier question, I strongly believe that AI and machine learning will take the transformation in the tech industry to the next level. However, I also feel we all should try to use technology in a better way. It should also be used in a way that all sources and assets of the world are given a bit more respect so that they become more sustainable.

Are you involved in any sort of volunteer work? Can you give us some details

In my current situation, unfortunately, my energy is absorbed by my family and my job and I am not able to invest in regular volunteer work at personal level. However, as a company, we support some sportive activities, f. e. youth team in small regional soccer clubs or some other regional marathon and other sportive events.

In the Middle-East we usually do regular CSR activities during the holy month of Ramadan.

What’s next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?

I understand and define my personal development and career with the development and growth of the company I work in. With a growth rate of 18.2% in billing for Sophos which is higher than IT security industry ($39B Market Growing at 7.4%), my current role brings many new aspects day by day.