Companies now aim for more diversity at all levels


Julie Noizeux Inder, Enterprise Channel Account Manager, South Africa, Fortinet on the occasion of International Women’s Day cherishes her accidental career in technology and how things have changed over the years for women in technology

Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy.
I would say my style is collaborative, I believe an important component of creating a strong feeling of unity and of being valued in a team is by allowing individuals to have their input in some of the decisions that can impact them. I also believe that there is a leader in all of us, and I’m always looking for ways to help individuals bring out those traits of themselves.

What prompted you to consider a career in technology?
I’m extremely grateful for almost two decades spent in the industry, however, my start in tech was accidental. It was through skills that I had gained working for various multi-national companies that I got my first position working for a large global IT organisation. I’ve since then had many roles covering different aspects of the channel.

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
Something that is only available to women for obvious reasons are the great tech focused women’s groups that offer fantastic support and advice. It’s essential to have those networks and stay in touch with like-minded ladies. Though women are still a minority in the industry, it’s always amazing to see how popular and well attended these functions are.

Do you feel you have had to work harder than male colleagues to advance your career?
This was the case early on in my career when promotion opportunities seemed to be more easily accessible to my male counterparts. Now, as companies aim to have more diversity at all levels, this has evened the playing field to some extent for women, especially at management level where skills are scarcer.

What motivates you every day?
Knowing that I can have a positive impact on someone.

What is the best professional advice you have ever received?
One very simple piece of advice I received from one of my managers many years ago stands out, because I consciously apply this daily in both my professional and personal life. The saying is “respond don’t react”. It speaks for itself, and alludes to taking a step back, rather than having impulsive reaction to a situation, and allowing oneself time to analyze the facts and understand another person/group’s position. The output is then more collaborative and conducive to a positive outcome.

What’s next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?
I joined Fortinet recently, so my immediate focus is on ensuring we have a framework in place that will maximise our relevance to our channel ecosystem.

What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?
Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives have gradually changed how we interact with technology. They play a part in every second of our lives. Now attackers are also using artificial intelligence (AI) to develop malware that never looks the same twice, so organizations need to take advantage of behavioral approaches and their own AI to keep pace.

What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of computer technology?
Complete the free online courses that many of the leading tech organisations, including Fortinet, make available to the public. Join some of the women’s forums that I mentioned earlier, it’s a great way of creating a network and finding out about job opportunities. Don’t think that you have to be technical to get a job in a tech company, there are many other entry points into the industry worth considering.

Can you offer few tips on achieving work-life balance in today’s scenario?
I’m an early riser, and my most productive time is in the mornings, as I am usually online before most, but less frequently in the evenings. It’s important for every individual to establish what their optimal daily rhythm is based on their personal circumstances and build their working day around it. I find that having a set weekly cadence and segmenting my diary for meetings or completing tasks, as well as blocking my personal time out is crucial for this.