Meenakshi Alexzander, Partner Manager – Middle East, Acronis, talks about her career and love for technology.
Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy.
I would describe my leadership style as direct. I like to lead by example. This allows me to set the pace and ensure that my team understands the bigger picture. Apart from taking the lead on projects, I also provide my team with hands-on opportunities through delegating tasks. This ensures that everyone is fully involved with the project at hand and also motivates and inspires them to deliver exceptional results.
What prompted you to consider a career in technology?
Unlike other IT experts that probably chose a career in technology from an early age, a career in technology for me was not deliberate. It happened by chance. However, the main reason why I ended up as an IT expert is mostly that I like to learn new things and also explore new challenges. Technology is an extremely challenging industry and I think this is what attracted me to pursue it as a career.
What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?
As mentioned earlier, technology is an extremely challenging sector. This is because it keeps evolving, which means as IT experts we are constantly on our toes trying to develop new tech solutions for our consumers. Despite it being a male-dominated industry, many women across the globe have succeeded in their respective fields. Part of the reason why women are making inroads in this challenging sector is simply that we are resilient enough to handle pressure and pretty much any kind of challenge and situation. To put this into perspective, over 54% of women believe there are now more women working in tech than five years ago. 63% of women cite ‘being taken seriously as the number one challenge in the tech industry while 67% of women believe ‘making a positive impact’ is the best thing about being a woman in tech.
Do you feel you have had to work harder than male colleagues to advance your career?
Even though women are performing exceptionally well in all industries just like their male counterparts, they still have to work twice as hard as men to be taken seriously. The IT industry is no exception. All the women who have excelled in the IT sector have had to prove themselves to be recognized. However, most organizations have been so supportive by providing women in technology equal opportunities to shine and most importantly make a positive impact in the industry.
What motivates you every day?
To succeed and make a positive impact in any career, you need to be motivated. Motivation plays a crucial role in my career as a technology expert mostly because I keep encountering new and tough challenges every day. My kids are and continue to be my main motivation. They help me to remain focused on my career, especially when faced with tough challenges.
What is the best professional advice you have ever received?
My former boss, Mauro, once told me, “Until you face failures, you won’t be able to celebrate the true essence of success”. At first, I didn’t understand what this meant but as I thought about it more, it started to make sense. Sometimes failure is inevitable and is normal. However, learning from it is what is most important. This piece of advice has allowed me to soldier no matter the outcome.
What’s next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?
In terms of career growth and opportunities, I want to excel in sales and eventually become a Sales leader. I am passionate about our brand and the solutions that we provide. This is what I believe will enable me to convert potential buyers into loyal customers. Apart from that, I also want to nurture more talents and especially women in the technology industry. I truly believe women can contribute immensely to its growth if given a chance.
What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?
The tech industry is an exciting space to be in, especially because it keeps evolving every day. Today, consumers have become more demanding. This has, in turn, pushed IT companies to push boundaries in their respective categories. As a result, it has also led to life-changing transformations and the growth of the industry as a whole. For instance, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are two examples of transformations that I am very excited about. As an industry, we are barely scratching the surface when it comes to AI and VR. We are yet to fully exploit it exponentially and this is something I am looking forward to and hope to be part of.
What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of digital technology?
My advice to women who are considering joining the digital technology field is to not feel intimidated even though the industry is somewhat still dominated by men. Women can also excel in the technology industry. We just need to believe in ourselves. With the right mindset and motivation, women can also contribute significantly to the industry.
Can you offer a few tips on achieving work-life balance in today’s scenario?
Achieving the perfect work-life balance is not easy, especially in today’s fast-paced environment. To make this work you need support from your organization and family. You also need to set boundaries and stick to them. Don’t let work dominate your time at the expense of your family. As much as my work is important to me, family is equally important. Your family also needs to understand that you also have other external responsibilities. These two have to co-exist in harmony. I am lucky that I work in an organization that has provided us with a flexible working environment that also helps me to achieve a work-life balance.