Was there a specific moment/reason when you realized you wanted to pursue a STEM career?
I did not see myself pursuing a STEM career until the day I started working for SAP. As a former athlete and newly-educated journalist, I joined SAP in New York to report on how technology and business innovations were solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. Together with a group of world-famous journalists, I traveled the world to tell stories about everything from how an app was helping with supplies after a natural disaster, to how technology was used to improve the fan experience in sports, to how data was used to prevent food waste, and so on. I very quickly realized the enormous opportunity and potential impact that technology and businesses could have on sustainability and making a difference in the world. STEM is shaping the future of how we live, work and interact with one another – as well as being a crucial component in solving the world’s greatest challenges – and that’s why I am still working in STEM.
What has been crucial to get you to where you are today?
There is no doubt that my background as a tennis player has shaped me into a competitive and achievement-oriented person, and has led me to where I am today. Tennis is an individual sport that has taken me around the world, and taught me to take responsibility, perform under pressure, and be courageous. I never knew how long a match or a tournament would last, and therefore I’ve always been prepared to be fully focused at all times, since every point matters. My time playing college tennis in the US taught me to be a team player – and that my own performance doesn’t matter if the team loses. I care about my team and our performance as a team is what matters to me. Always.
Tell us about a female role model and the impact this person had on you – either personally or professionally?
There are multiple male and female role models in my life and they all share a few characteristics. They are confident and positive. They are not afraid to “take the road less travelled”, be unique, share their opinions and stand up for what they think is right. They communicate, interact, listen and show respect and concern for others. They are always learning and developing both the creative and analytical side of the brain. They are humble and willing to admit mistakes and give credit to others. They are passionate about what they do and have hobbies and do good outside work (help those who need it, charity, etc.).
What do you enjoy most about your work today?
I enjoy the diversity of my job – that no day is ever the same and that I get to work with people from different places with different backgrounds, skills, knowledge, talents, etc. This fulfils my insatiable curiosity. The fact that I get to work with “sustainability” every day and that my work can inspire companies and people to take action towards the SDGs is what gives me purpose and makes me excited to wake up every day.
What does good leadership mean to you?
I’ve been lucky to work with great leaders throughout my career, who have helped guide me to where I am today. To me, a good leader stands by her/his people, encourages creativity and welcomes unique perspectives, ideas and opinions. A good leader also makes sure that the team feel purpose through their work and a feeling of teamwork.
What did you imagine your life and career would be like 5 years ago?
I thought I was going to be a broadcast journalist travelling the world, reporting on events and subjects that mattered to the public. I’ve always been ambitious, but never really had a fixed career path in mind. In fact, I still don’t. As long as I get to be creative, tell stories, travel and learn I am on the right path – and I get to do all of this in my current job.