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Forget die-hard IT, digital technology is mostly about humans

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Stephanie Taverne is Manager Business Change at insurance and asset management company Nationale-Nederlanden. With her team, she is responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business (strategy & marketing, commerce, operations, risk and finance).

What do you like about your role as Manager Business Change at Nationale-Nederlanden?

Digital technology is a fast changing field and therefore my work is very diverse, from having sessions with the team to discuss how to improve our collaboration with the IT teams and the business, to setting up IT traineeships and initiating agile transformations within the department and the company. Working at Nationale-Nederlanden, I feel a certain freedom and trust, in order to grow, create and improve.

Do you see a change in the number of women working in the field of digital technology?

When I joined the management team, I was the only woman in a team with 5 men. But that has changed; one-third of the management team consists of women now. That’s a great change! And in our IT teams, you can see a slow increase of women as well.

Why do you think this is changing?

Women get more and more familiar and confronted with jobs in digital technology and see that there are many great opportunities within this field. You read about it in the newspapers and on the Internet, you can see the prominent place IT takes in organisations… you just cannot ignore it anymore. But we aren’t there yet, we need all women and men working in IT to help breaking the barriers.

What can we do to get more women exited about digital technology?

Even though I see a shift, the image still exists that digital technology is a guys-world, with only nerdy men working in IT. Digital technology is not only about IT systems, software and die-hard IT content, but mostly about humans. All systems are developed by humans, working together in teams. I hope to show that this field is also about organizational development, team development, individual development etc.

What career advice do you have for young girls wanting to pursue a similar career?

If you ever have any doubts if the world of digital technology fits you, I would recommend you to challenge your own perceptions. Try to get into contact with people in IT and ask about different roles. Digital technology has so many sides and it’s a very dynamic market. Only if you have tested your own perceptions, you can decide whether it fits your dreams and goals.

Be inspired

“As a woman, working in a team with mostly men, you have to be able to stand up for yourself” - Ylona Meeuwenberg Ylona Meeuwenberg is software developer / application specialist in the Innovation Team at Volksbank. She is the scrummaster of her team and she controls one of the backend systems.

Mimoent Haddouti is the Global Head of IT Continuity and Security Services at Rabobank. After quickly rising through the ranks and being appointed to a global leadership role, she was named the 2016 Manager of the Year by the Ethnic Businesswomen of the Netherlands (EZVN) for her efforts to lead by example and open doors for others.

As the Digital Development Manager at Nationale-Nederlanden, one of the leading players in the Dutch insurance market, Femke Jacobs is responsible for developing IT for all digital channels, including portals, mobile apps and websites.

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