TelecomDrive.com | Spotlight on Women in Tech
There is currently a gap in recognizing the achievements made by the telecom and tech sector in empowering women in technology and closing the gender diversity gap.
More than ever, there is a need to share success stories of women in telecom industry with the objective of encouraging wider adoption of these effective initiatives and to nurture new talent through its doors.
Sheela Singh, Vice President, Value Engineering & Global Software Quality at Tecnotree speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about her professional, personal journey and much more.
Sheela Singh, has a very interesting story to tell – she has more than 30 years of experience in the IT industry and proven track record in developing and implementing effective corporate strategies to enhance customer experience across various multinational organizations. In the Telecom Industry, Sheela has served in leadership roles at Tecnotree for the past 8 years driving internal transformations within the company to meet global customer needs.
Sheela Singh | Tecnotree
How would you describe women in telecoms space?
Women appear to be particularly under-represented at higher levels of the region’s telecom companies. Until a few years ago, no Telecom operator in the Middle East or Africa could boast of a gender inclusive board with women in CEO or CXO positions.
However, there are encouraging signs of a significant shift taking place and today, more and more women are occupying senior-level positions in telecom and I am glad to see this change happening.
‘Women have the education and the training and most importantly the skills, but they also need the right opportunities to work and grow in this space.” says Sheela. At Tecnotree we have gradually increased the participation of Women in Strategic roles and Engineering. Today I am proud to say that 24% of our employees globally are female and our Core Management is more than 30% represented by women.
Tecnotree board also meets the EU criteria of minimum 20% representation of Women in Corporate boards. This is well in line with the latest global report ‘Women in Business 2019 by Grant Thornton where 2019 brings the highest percentage of women in senior management on record, at 29% so I am glad to see that we are keeping up with the latest global trends.
In addition, we need to continue to invest and develop talented young women with potential and grow them into leadership roles within the Tecnotree organization.
What are the most important qualities women in telecom should have to grow professionally?
As in any sector, to be successful, women need to demonstrate demoniac attention to strategic vision, goals and results and need to be tenacious and unforgiving in their pursuit of business outcomes. Telecom sector makes this more challenging as it is still largely male dominated but now with inroads being made for equality and inclusion, women can lead as long as they have the essential leadership skills.
The Telecom Industry is in the forefront of transformation into the Digital Era with the explosion of mobile connectivity, Internet of Things emergence of super speed networks (4G, 5G) and convergence of Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and Digital Service Providers (DSPs).
This requires strategic and strong leadership that has futuristic vision, tenacity to take risks and help in the business and organizational transformation journey of Telecom Operators and their leading suppliers. Tecnotree organization, with over 40 years of deep domain knowledge and proven transformation capability understands the importance of transformation and need for a more personalized & timelier customer experience.
Women leaders are essential in this revolutionary, yet evolutionary change to bring in diverse perspectives, manage the change, apply EQ with IQ and finally multi-task as well as help operationalize the transformation. Additionally, women also have a natural sense of integrity, intuition, trust and are typically genuine in their approach to problem solving. These are extremely vital strengths and critical to this role.
Most of our leadership journey at Tecnotree is around this exciting space and we are making good inroads with a balanced mix of men and women in our leadership roles.
Most successful women in CXO positions will demonstrate some common qualities but, a very important skill for a successful leader is to be able to communicate, collaborate and delegate effectively. In addition to critical thinking and problem-solving skills, a high level of self-confidence, eagerness to learn and ‘try the new’, it is the high emotional quotient that makes a perfect recipe for success and professional growth of women leaders.
How would you describe yourself?
I recall being described as “nurturing” in one of my previous organizations for the demonstration of caring, growing and personal connect that I enjoyed with my team. I would describe myself as a people person – I rely on my team for my own and their success. Also, it makes it easy when peers are able to trust you and work with you for joint success.
Ownership and accountability are two of my key principles and hence I am quick to own-up & look internally for actions and improvements.
I am passionate about investing in people, relationships, and in building a congenial work environment where people trust each other, work as a team, get coached and resolve differences amicably in a healthy atmosphere. I am also fiercely competitive and will strive to get and stay ahead.
During my journey in Tecnotree, I have had to multitask and lead different areas of our business – Quality, Engineering, Solution Delivery Centre Management and in all interactions with customers, partners and teams, it has been my ability to be result-driven and accountable that has helped me to meet and exceed expectations.
How do you define success?
Success is an outcome of confidence, continuous learning, and collaboration. While there is no simple formula for success, you need to have expertise at two things – first is knowledge about your work and second is the skill to use that knowledge effectively, overcoming any challenges that may come up and ensuring positive results for the organization.
My agenda in my professional as well as personal life is to ensure that I am always contributing, adding value and can be relied on to resolve any situation.
What is your mantra to succeed?
My 34 years of corporate success has been backed by my good academic record which imbibed in me the urge to stay ahead of competition. I believe it is very important to be competent and relevant, get engaged, feel empowered and take ownership in any situation.
‘Never fear to experiment – no success is possible without trying’ is what allowed me to accept diverse challenges in the form of new roles and responsibilities throughout my career. I have achieved solid career progression across various global leadership roles in technology companies such as Hewlett Packard, GE, Honeywell, Bharath Electronics, VeriFone and Tecnotree.
I have been well respected in all my corporate leadership roles, and this only gives me more confidence to take up new challenges and always play to win. I am motivated by every opportunity to meaningfully contribute to growth and this inspires me to keep aiming higher.
Zia Askari works as the Editor for TelecomDrive.com and carries over 18 years of experience in technology writing, branding, communications and digital marketing. Over these years, Zia has worked with Cyber Media and Grey Head on the content side and RAD Data Communications, Huawei Telecommunications and Shyam Networks on the branding and marketing side.