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VOL 03 I ISSUE 02 I 2023
Most
Impressive
Women
Women
Women
Tech, Making
Waves in the
Industry 2023
Leaders in
Isabella Drolz,
Vice President of
Product Marketing
Comet Yxlon
Drolz
Creating Empowering
Solutions for Success
Isabella
Impressive
s technology becomes more and more prevalent, it is
Aimportant to find great leaders in the field. New tech
leaders often take inspiration from others whose styles
and techniques they admire. They look at the successes of those
who came before them and emulate approaches that make sense
to them.
As they evolve more deeply into their roles, they can learn what is
working for them and adapt their methods as needed. Vision,
communication, innovation and empathy are some of the principal
qualities a leader needs to successfully direct a tech organization.
The most successful tech leaders are able to communicate
effectively with their teams. They know how to articulate their
vision, listen and take criticism in stride, and are comfortable
making decisions that will affect other people's lives. They are also
skilled at communicating with people who don't share their
technical expertise.
They find ways to translate complex concepts into language that
non-technical people can understand, and they make sure that
everyone on the team understands their role in achieving goals.
The admirable leadership skills of tech leaders as individuals,
combined with their visionary approach to resolving business
problems, set them apart in a highly competitive industry. Their
achievements have had a huge impact on people from all walks of
life.
Mapping the
Horizons of Excellence
With a huge push to modernize business processes by implementing the latest IT advancements,
technology talent is in high demand, making the unemployment rate for technology pros low. Great tech
leaders take risks because they know that failure is part of success-and.
If you never fail at anything, then you've probably chosen not to try something challenging enough. They
are constantly curious and always asking questions, and they make it a point to be well-versed in the latest
technologies, trends, best practices, and industry standards.
Mapping the journey of these tech leaders, CIOLook sheds light on “Most Impressive Women Leaders in
Tech, Making Waves in the Industry 2023,” who are enabling advancements and enhancing the facets of
the dynamic industry.
Flip through the page and indulge in the journey of sheer innovations with leadership attributes.
Have a delightful read!
Abhishek Joshi
Abhishek Joshi
C
O
V
E
R
S
T
O
R
Y
08
Drolz
Creating Empowering
Solutions for Success
Isabella
24
16
Amy R. Henry
Developing the Core Aspects of
Growth and Progress
Transcending the Facets with
Transformational Approaches
Filipa Peleja
Leadership success in a
Virtual Work Environment
20
C X O
28
Augmentations in Business Growth
Smruti Sandhya
CONTENT
Senior Editor Alan Swann
Executive Editors AbhishekJoshi
Alex Spellman
DESIGN
Visualizer Dave Bates
Art & Design Director Revati B.
Associate Designer Ankita P.
SALES
Senior Sales Manager Sihanee M., Rouniyar A.
Customer Success Manager Jack Ryan, Prathamesh
Sales Executives John, Rohit
TECHNICAL
Technical Head Prachi Mokashi
Technical Consultant Victor Collins
March, 2023
Copyright © 2023 CIOLOOK, All
rights reserved. The content
and images used in this
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any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical,
photocopying, recording or
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permission from CIOLOOK.
Reprint rights remain solely
with CIOLOOK.
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Pooja M Bansal
Editor-in-Chief
sales@ciolook.com
SME-SMO
Research Analyst Eric Smith
SEO Executive Sagar Lhigade
Brief
Company Name
Isabella Drolz
Vice President
of Product Marketing
Isabella's experience ranges from mid-tier to global companies,
and she is a master in navigating operational and cultural
challenges in the industry.
Filipa Peleja
Data Science Team
Lead
Filipa loves to work in an area that she feels very passionate
about.
CoachHub
coachhub.com
Comet
comet.tech
Amy R. Henry
CEO and Co-founder
Amy is extensive and multi-faceted skill set with a focus on
commercial/finance/new business development in the Energy
Industry with more than 23 years of proven International
Upstream Experience (IOC, NOC, and Big 4 Consulting) in
North America, Europe and Southeast Asia portfolios.
Eunike Ventures
eunikeventures.com
Marzena Ołubek
Data Scientist
Marzena is a Data Scientist with 10+ years’ experience within
data mining, analytics, modelling and machine learning.
Orange Polska
orange.pl
Smruti is an entrepreneurial professional with 9+ years of
experience in business development, GTM & Strategy, client
relationships & alliances across Financial Institutions, B2B and
Technology.
Smruti Sandhya
Senior Program
Manager
Featured Person
Microsoft
microsoft.com
ebranding companies for success, redefining
Rportfolios based on market needs and reshaping
corporate culture for the better, Isabella Drolz,
Vice President of Product Marketing at Comet Yxlon,
is out to change the world with her expertise. Her
experience ranges from mid-tier to global companies,
and she is a master in navigating operational and
cultural challenges in the industry. Isabella is currently
making waves in the tech industry with her adept
handling of the market and empowerment of fellow
women in the industry.
Comet Yxlon is driven by the belief that ‘good solutions
start with good questions.’ Its strong curiosity and
passion for technology are the drivers behind the
company’s collaborative approach to product
development. Based on customer feedback, it develops
high-end X-ray and CT system solutions that enable
non-destructive testing in the
semiconductor/electronics, automotive, and aerospace
industries – from R&D labs to production settings.
In an exclusive interview with CIOLook, Isabella Drolz
shares the inspirational support that she received in her
journey to the top and how she continues to make an
effort to pass it on.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief us about your career path as a staunch woman
leader up until your current position at Comet Yxlon.
What were the challenges that you had to overcome
to scale your progress?
There is a saying in German stating that “The first job
chooses you, not the other way around.” I started as
Business Developer at Siemens Mobility, for railway
systems such as metro & light rail systems.
Getting the opportunity to work on strategic projects,
such as introducing a platform approach for metro &
passenger coaches systems at an early stage in my
professional career was an exceptional experience.
Next to the professional experience, I had strong
female leaders who shaped and taught me how to
navigate a conservative industry, belief in myself and be
resilient. Quickly adapting to new environments, task
settings, teams, and business cultures are just a few
things you encounter in strategic consulting. You need
to be quick on your feet.
When I moved to Jenoptik Advanced Systems,
Jenoptik's former defense business unit, the industry
was in a state of upheaval and my task was to transform
the project-oriented product business into a modular
platform to be prepared for future requirements.
Basically, we had to break with old habits, advance
technologically and open our minds to the new way
ahead.
When you switch from corporations to medium-sized
companies, you enter a different world. At a food
machinery manufacturer, I took on the role of Vice
President of Product Management & Marketing.
positioning three different product brands from three
different countries and cultures under one roof while
facing a conservative management approach. It was an
intense time, but I am very grateful for the experience,
and it has made me a stronger leader when faced with
headwinds and a very risk-averse environment.
Now, at Comet Yxlon, I am the Vice President in charge
of Product Marketing, which includes Product
Management, Marketing and Global Application
Solution Centers. We also just rebranded, and it is
always a unique experience strategically repositioning a
company, bringing different cultures closer together,
empowering teamwork and preparing for the road
ahead.
Tell us something more about Comet Yxlon and its
mission and vision.
Comet Yxlon is one of three divisions of Comet AG, a
leading tech company in radio frequency and x-ray
technology. Comet Yxlon designs, manufactures, and
markets high-end X-ray and CT systems, including data-
driven services for non-destructive testing to assure
product quality in labs, speed up ramp-ups, and
enhance process stability in production environments
for the semiconductor, electronics, automotive, and
aerospace industries.
Our X-Ray and CT systems support our global
customers to increase their productivity and
sustainability by reducing product waste and, thereby,
enhancing yield. In a nutshell, we provide our
customers with the key to efficiency and innovation by
seeing better, faster, more.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that
drives your organization.
We put our customers at the center of everything we
do. We strive to understand their needs and
expectations and to exceed them by deeply
understanding the market, its requirements, trends,
and challenges to build long-lasting relationships. To
succeed, we challenge ourselves to continuously
improve by empowering our employees to take
ownership of their work and to make decisions that will
drive the company’s success.
All this can only be achieved through trustful
collaboration: We believe that by working together as a
team, we can accomplish more. Through our “Above
and Beyond program,” we foster a culture of trustful
collaboration and mutual support by sharing cross-
divisional knowledge and resources. By embracing
these values, we believe that we can create a positive
and productive work environment that helps us achieve
our business objectives. And by the way, it is fun to
work at.
What do you believe is the significant factor for
women in the tech industry, and what is the most
important aspect of your success in adhering to these
fundamentals?
It is tough to nail it down to one. However, one critical
success factor is to believe in yourself and your abilities.
and schedules. In our mobile working program, we
established that our employees could flexibly arrange
where they want to conduct their work and when.
Through this program, we ensure a healthy
work-life balance.
Transparency and open dialogue are key to success.
Therefore, we are reviewing and monitoring our
progress on a quarterly basis. We review our diversity
and inclusion efforts, establish metrics to track our
progress and adjust as needed. It is important to make
diversity and inclusion a transparent topic and part of
the management agenda.
Finally, one topic and the most important topic to me is
offering mentorship to women. When starting my
career, I greatly benefited from having female mentors.
They shaped me into the leader I am today by teaching
me how to navigate in a male-dominant industry, stay
true to my beliefs, and see it through. Therefore, I also
mentor female potentials across the industry to
provide them with the support and guidance they need
to advance in their careers.
What change would you like to bring to your industry
if given a chance?
There are several factors that contribute to the under
representation of women in the tech & machine
building industries, including unconscious bias, lack of
role models and mentorship, and a culture that may not
be inclusive or welcoming to all. To increase gender
diversity, it is important to openly address these issues
and thereby create a more inclusive culture. This can be
achieved through initiatives such as diversity and
inclusion panel discussions at exhibitions and
conferences and actively recruiting and promoting
women in the field.
As mentioned before, mentorship programs are key to
success for women in the tech & machine building
industries by providing guidance, giving networking
opportunities, providing support on career
development, helping break unconscious bias, and
encouraging and offering exposure to new
opportunities. Therefore, implementing sustainable
female mentorship across the industry would bring
tremendous change and potential.
Confidence is key to success in any field, and it’s
especially important for women in male-dominated
industries. In addition, building up a strong network of
professional contacts and among your colleagues are
crucial success factors to me, as also staying informed
and educated.
I am trying to keep up to date with the latest industry
trends, technologies, and best practices by reading
relevant literature, attending conferences and
workshops. But most and for all, I do not let stereotypes
or biases affect me. Everyone and especially women,
encounter stereotypes and unconscious biases in their
careers. The key is not to get discouraged by them or let
them doubt yourself. Instead, use them to your
advantage and as motivation to excel in your field.
What strategies do you implement as a leader to
promote gender diversity for various positions at
Comet Yxlon?
As leader but also as a management team at Comet
Yxlon, we seek out a number of strategies to promote
gender diversity for various positions within the
company, starting with recruitment.
I actively ensure to recruit from a diverse pool of
potential candidates, as well as encourage our
recruitment team to do the same. In addition, our
recruitment team works to create a diverse pipeline of
potential candidates by reaching out to universities and
organizations that focus on diversity.
Furthermore, we established a more flexible work
environment that allows for different working styles
and our customers by fostering and empowering
diverse teams to drive our business forward.
What advice would you give to the next generation of
women leaders willing to venture into the modern
business arena?
Believe in yourself and your abilities: Confidence is key
to success in any field, and it’s especially important for
women in male-dominated industries. Believe that you
have the skills and experience to succeed, and don’t be
afraid to speak up and share your ideas. Network and
seek out mentorship: Building a strong network of
professional contacts and finding mentors can be
incredibly valuable in helping you navigate the business
world and advance your career.
Speak up and advocate for yourself: Don’t be afraid to
negotiate for promotions, raises, and other
opportunities that you deserve. Foster a positive work-
life balance: It’s important to take care of yourself both
physically and mentally. This will help you to maintain a
positive attitude and approach to work and be more
effective in your job.
Be resilient: The business world can be challenging, and
you will inevitably face obstacles and setbacks. Learn
from these experiences and keep moving forward.
Don’t let stereotypes or biases affect you: You will
encounter these as you advance in your career. Don’t
let them discourage you or make you doubt yourself.
Instead, use them as motivation to excel in your field.
Remember to have fun: The business world can be
intense, but it’s important not to lose sight of why
you’re doing it. Find joy in your work and your
accomplishments, and don’t forget to celebrate your
jointly achieved successes with your colleagues.
What, according to you, could be the next significant
change for women in Tech? How is Comet Yxlon
preparing to be a part of that change?
A potential change could be a greater emphasis on
actively creating a more inclusive and equitable
workplace culture. This includes not only addressing
issues such as unconscious bias and discrimination but
also actively working to create a culture that supports
and values diversity and provides opportunities for the
growth and development of all employees.
Starting with active diverse and international
recruitment: Actively seeking out and recruiting from
diverse backgrounds and countries for leadership and
technical positions, including those from
underrepresented groups.
In addition, providing training and education on
intersectionality and inclusivity: To ensure that all
employees are aware of and understand the
importance of intersectionality and inclusivity in the
workplace.
But all starts by making diversity and inclusion a
priority: Making sure that diversity and inclusion are a
priority for the company and that the leadership team
is committed to these values, policies, and practices and
reflect this commitment.
Comet has now put this on top of its agenda by
launching a diversity program that will prepare all
divisions, including Comet Yxlon, to foster a more
inclusive and equitable workplace culture that values
and supports the contributions of all employees,
including those from diverse backgrounds.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run,
and what are your future goals for Comet Yxlon?
It’s always hard to predict the future, but what I know
for sure is that I want to continue working in a
challenging international environment. Preparing
companies for the future by taking business structures,
products and teams to the next level, breaking old
habits and prejudices, and shaping mindsets to drive
continuous improvement - that’s what excites me.
Therefore, I want to shape Comet Yxlon in a way that
we are not only ready but are the driver for the coming
trends and challenges in our industry, especially when it
comes to data analytics and artificial intelligence. In a
nutshell, taking the next step to accelerate the market
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Amy R. Henry
T
ech Leadership…What comes to your mind when
you hear these two words? Understanding the
meaning of these two words is not complicated.
As the name suggests, the tech leadership role is the
combination of two main responsibilities, keeping an
eye on emerging technological developments and, at
the same time, having staunch leadership acumen.
You might have pictured a person in your brain with the
technical experience and good communication skills
that adhere to the leadership role. That’s true
somewhere, but the responsibility of a technical leader
is hard to define.
Most of the time, you spend exploring the dynamics of
technology as a tech leader. However, it’s not limited to
this. You’re also responsible for the entire development
of the organization, the team, and most importantly,
Developing the Core Aspects of Growth and Progress
keeping your organization stay on top of the
competition.
You no longer focus on your problem but develop
immersive strategies and thrive towards going ahead
with a problem-solving approach. This is how Amy R.
Henry excels in the ever-evolving modern industry.
Being the CEO and Co-founder of EUNIKE Ventures,
Amy has constantly been pivoting along the way. With
her resolute leadership and expertise, Amy’s entire
team has firmly believed in the vision and has been
putting skin in the game.
In an exclusive interview with CIOLook, Amy shares her
professional tenure in the industry while highlighting
the challenges she had to overcome, her significant
achievements and plans for the future.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business
leader until your current position at your company.
What challenges have you had to overcome to reach
where you are today?
I now have close to 30 years of experience in the energy
industry and previously was with Royal Dutch Shell
(Shell International E&P, Shell Tech Ventures -
commercialization of technologies, Shell Gas & Power,
etc.), PETRONAS Global CFO for Unconventional
Energy, and Big Four (EY, Andersen). I am a reluctant
entrepreneur growing up with a father who was a serial
entrepreneur understanding how hard and challenging
this journey would be.
Part of this is how well you can influence through
others by planting early seeds, and when you have
I am a reluctant
entrepreneur growing up
with a father who was a
serial entrepreneur
understanding how hard
and challenging this
journey would be.
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
16
roadblocks create your own path, while
keeping the door open. Being a female in a
largely male-dominated industry is a
challenge in and of itself. This is where your
team and shared vision come into play;
however, you are not alone on this journey.
Tell us something more about your company
and its mission and vision.
Eunike, meaning “Good Victory,” was created
with the end in mind: “Realizing the
Entrepreneurial Spirit”. Essentially, the end
goal is to have thousands of needed
technologies commercialized across the
value chain. We are not looking to grow unicorns.
EUNIKE is an open innovation model, which involves
building global energy bridges with
collaboration/partnership of the energy industry,
universities, capital investors, early-stage investors,
NGOs, trade organizations, government organizations
like the DOE, and many other organizations in the
global innovation ecosystem.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the tech niche
through your expertise in the market.
One example is below; no pun intended; we are ‘unique.’
So, we have built a program with Canada with our
‘energyNEXT’ program. Houston recognized me as one
of the "women leading technology buildout of the
innovation/ecosystem when we launched EUNIKE
Ventures with our energy partners at the time: Equinor,
Hess, and Anadarko. I will be speaking at the opening
plenary session at URTec in Denver this year about
EUNIKE's value proposition, state of the energy
industry, and the push for commercialization of
technologies globally.
This is an honor and recognition of the work we have
done from the ground up and the strides we have taken
towards enabling advancements. I work with NREL
(National Labs in Colorado), where I mentor the
younger early-stage companies as well as participate on
the selection committee. The entrepreneurs see us as
“energy whisperers,” and the industry sees us helping to
filter the noise of innovation and new technologies.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that
drives your organization.
Our values and work culture are the same
seeds/elements we must work with the industry to
enable innovation and success. Some of these
characteristics are below. In addition, we have a team
from various backgrounds, skillsets and experiences.
Diversity in thought is a MUST.
Lastly, is the ability to roll up your sleeves and work side
by side with the entrepreneur AS WELL as play a PUSH
& PULL roll with our industry. The BOTTOM line is that
an entrepreneur is looking for a long-term relationship
and trust is at the top of their list if requirements.
Required MINDSET: Expansive & Diverse Thinking,
Collaborative, Curious, Agile and Empathetic.
Amy R. Henry
CEO and Co-founder
EUNIKE Ventures
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
17
From a Leadership & Delivery perspective:
Ÿ Failure is an Option
Ÿ Time & Space to Fail
Ÿ Reasonable Schedule/Expectations
Ÿ Patience
Ÿ Organizational Trust
Ÿ Clear Vision, Mission & Strategy with a Degree of
Autonomy
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in
almost every sector. How are you leveraging
technological advancements to make your solutions
resourceful?
We are agnostic in our approach and cast our nets wide
looking at all verticals.
What change would you like to bring to the tech
industry if given a chance?
Part of our role in what we do everyday is to bring
forward the voice and challenges of the entrepreneur.
Besides thought leadership and driving open/honest
dialogue, we also have a large role in terms of ‘paying it
forward’ with the younger generation.
This is not only working with the universities, but also
on creating the pathways for future entrepreneurs and
increasing the number of women and minorities in
STEM education and careers. We have to INFUSE both
KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE to create these
opportunities along with increasing their chance of
success.
In our industry, we must see more collaboration and not
in the form that is practiced today. We need to see
major shift changes in paradigms and approaches
in order to have impact and success. We need to
more of our industry providing pre-seed/seed
capital to these upcoming technologies. We must
learn to move faster and be more AGILE as an
industry.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long
run, and what are your future goals for your
company?
Based on the below, this is about further building
out a seamless end-to-end platform for
innovators, pulling in more and much-needed early-
stage capital and early-stage adopters. We need more
companies from the energy vertical putting more skin
in the game and willingness to try new collaboration
models. While at the same time, building the new talent
from within - the intrapreneurs.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs
who aspire to venture into the tech sector?
Some of the qualities that will make you successful, and
I’d like to advice the aspirants, are:
Ÿ When you are young, take on career risks. If things
don’t work out, you still have enough time in your
career. Sometimes these are the most valuable
lessons.
Ÿ Make time for yourself. Personal development is just
as important as career development.
Ÿ Continually develop your network and NOT just
within your discipline or industry
Ÿ Be curious, ask questions, and seek knowledge.
Expand your lens GLOBALLY.
Ÿ Understand perceptions as THEY MATTER.
Ÿ Find and have mentors and champions. The biggest
champions in my career have always been men.
Ÿ Given the push for technology & innovation, spend
time in the ecosystem.
Ÿ ALWAYS fail forward and look AHEAD. Don’t get
caught up in what everyone else is doing… be the
best version of yourself.
Ÿ Listen MORE than you speak.
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
18
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
20
Leadership success in a
Virtual Work Environment
ust a few years ago, people left their homes to
Jcommute to work in an office environment. It was
rare to work from home daily when your
colleagues were spending their days in the corporate
building. It was easier to connect with someone down
the hall or in a nearby cubicle when they were at their
desk during office hours.
Then the pandemic arrived and sent everyone home to
escape the virus and potential illness or death. Many
workers turned bedrooms and kitchen counters into
workspace and tried to find a quiet space away from
children and spouses who share their homes.
Homes and offices morphed into one gray area of living
and working. We learned to adapt and the virtual
meeting industry quickly advanced and no longer were
we having conference calls, we were having virtual
meetings.
For those who became comfortable working from home
in their pajamas, they had to dress professionally from
the waist up. Slippers and sweatpants were okay as
long as the shirt had a collar and looked clean and
ironed.
One of the challenges was to monitor an employee's
work time to ensure they weren't logged on the screen
while enjoying a long lunch or maybe a short nap. With
virtual screens we weren't even sure where they were
looking at their laptops, as office backgrounds were
part of the technology. What was that sound in the
background? Was it a tropical bird?
Today, while many people are heading back to the
office, there are still empty workplaces because their
employees are still working from home. Some
companies are looking at a hybrid environment and
allow workers to commute a few days each week while
working from home the others.
We also learned that productivity isn't related to how
many hours we worked, but how effectively we worked.
Working from home removes the commute, which
could allow us to devote more time on the job.
Flexibility allowed us to create a better work life
balance to accommodate children's and spouse's
schedules around our own.
If you're the boss, or manager, you probably struggled
with how to ensure your team was working effectively
in a remote environment. As the President and CEO of
the Women In Trucking Association, I lead a virtual
workforce that includes twelve team members located
in nine states.
Leading an organization in a virtual environment can
present unique challenges, but there are several best
practices that we use that can help you manage your
team effectively:
First, you'll need to establish clear communication
channels. You'll need to make sure your team members
are equipped with the right tools and platforms to
communicate and collaborate effectively. This includes
using video conferencing software, project
management tools, and messaging platforms that allow
for real-time communication.
Secondly, you must Set clear expectations: Make sure
that your team members understand what is expected
of them and establish clear guidelines around work
hours, deadlines, and communication protocols.
Encourage them to establish a routine that includes
regular check-ins and progress updates.
At Women In Trucking, we have a results-oriented work
environment. This means we do not track hours or days
worked. Instead, we monitor output. If a team member
prefers to work evenings or takes a break in the
afternoon to accommodate their children's schedules,
CXO
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
21
we are fine with that, if they participate in scheduled
meetings.
For me, I prefer to work late into the evening, especially
during the winter months when it's dark outside by four
o'clock. I like to wake up without setting an alarm, and
then work out before I get ready for my workday.
We don't have holidays or sick days because we allow
our employees to determine when they want to take
time off and how long they will be gone. The only
requirement is that they get their work done and that
the absence won't affect other employee's progress.
Working in a virtual environment means you must
prioritize trust and transparency: Without the benefit
of in-person interactions, trust and transparency
become even more important. Encourage open and
honest communication and foster an environment
where team members feel comfortable sharing their
concerns and ideas.
At Women In Trucking, we foster a strong team culture:
Creating a strong team culture is critical to maintaining
team cohesion and motivation. Consider organizing
virtual team-building activities, recognizing team
members for their achievements, and celebrating
milestones together. Even though we are spread across
the country, we are connected because are care about
each person on the team.
To succeed in a virtual work culture, you must provide
regular feedback and support: Regular feedback and
support are crucial in a virtual environment where team
members may feel isolated or disconnected. Take the
time to provide constructive feedback and offer
support where needed. Keep it current and make it a
regular part of our interactions.
It is very important to lead by example: As a leader, it is
important to model the behavior you want to see from
your team. Demonstrate a strong work ethic, prioritize
communication and collaboration, and maintain a
positive attitude in the face of challenges. No one
works harder than me in our organization.
The workforce of tomorrow will include remote
employees who rely on technology to stay connected.
At the Women In Trucking Association, we embrace our
team members virtually and value their output and
measure results, not minutes or hours.
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
22
Filipa Peleja,
Data Science Team Lead
CoachHub
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
24
Peleja
Transcending the Facets
with Transformational
Approaches
veryone has their own leadership style, and the
Etype of leader that you are at the beginning of
your career doesn’t necessarily dictate the type
of leader you will be throughout your journey.
Filipa Peleja started her career as a Software Developer
and quickly transitioned to pursue her passion:
discovering and driving value out of data. Within that
journey, she also wants to support and help others grow
in their data-driven careers.
There were external factors that influenced this
journey. For instance, going back to 2009, she finished
her master’s thesis in the Machine Learning domain; at
that time, Big Data was word-of-mouth across
industries.
Influenced by her passion for data and experience
working in an organisation, Filipa decided to extend her
studies to a PhD topic within the lenses of “What can be
accomplished in academia that translates into
innovation in industries?” – a sort of best combination
of both worlds.
The momentum kept growing as in 2012 Data Scientist
job became known as "The sexiest job of the 21st
century.” Within the same period, digital companies
were adopting digital transformation as a means to
adapt their technology to meet the organization’s
needs.
By 2014 Filipa was in the final journey of her PhD
studies. She accomplished her objective of connecting
academic learnings to the industry; with that, Filipa
won the first prize in a competition organised by NOS
and Microsoft -- the challenge was to answer the
question, “What will Look like the Television of the
Future?”
Following up on this rewardful experience Filipa joined
Yahoo! Research Labs and together with the team
published at ACL, a top-tier conference. Their work
envisioned to improve recommender systems for news
articles by building a model that learns what makes a
news article of quality.
Finally, Filipa moved from the Data Scientist (DS) role
to Senior DS, Lead DS and now DS Team Lead. These
roles are across different industries: Digital,
Telecommunication and Retail. This allowed her to
lecture, mentor, and at CodeOp support other women
successfully transition into a career in Tech.
In an interview with CIOLook, Filipa shares valuable
facts highlighting her professional tenure and the
journey so far in the niche.
Below are the excerpts from the interview :
Brief our audience about your journey as a business
leader until your current position at your company.
What challenges have you had to overcome to reach
where you are today?
Moving to a leadership role did not come to mind in my
early career stages. Looking back, the focus was within
a different horizon as career paths towards leadership
within organisations were never part of my learning
Filipa
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
25
journey, nor close -friends’ or -colleagues’ circle of
knowledge sharing.
In my view, everyone’s journey has its special moments
that transform us, and there are times that we find
ourselves wondering what-if small but impactful events
had gone differently and how that would have impacted
where we are today.
In my personal journey, there were 2 main barriers that
I had to overcome that definitively shaped my way of
working, continuous growth and how I mentor others.
The first one was by being labelled as “the academic”
meaning that one does not understand how business
works. I’ve embraced this challenge with a very positive
mindset as I’ve learned a lot as I identified my strengths
and flaws in that domain.
Consequently, as I’m a savvy learner, I did not want to
limit myself to learning on the job; therefore, I’ve
decided to enrol in an MBA to complement what felt
like a gap in my Engineering background.
The second challenge resides in Trust, as leadership
roles require trust for that person to do the job
properly and, from my experience, I’ve seen that either
background is mostly from Business areas or your
leadership skills are noticeable within the organisation
for an opportunity to be given to you – this requires a
lot of resilience and leadership support.
Tell us something more about your company and its
mission and vision.
CoachHub’s mission is to democratize coaching
through personalized, measurable and scalable digital
coaching programs.
Coaching is a growing industry that is reinforced
through evidence of its efficacy and impact across
different industries. With my team, we work to improve
our coaching platform even further in order to bring a
seamless, accessible, and meaningful experience to
coachees around the world.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in
almost every sector. How are you leveraging
technological advancements to make your solutions
resourceful?
Organizations aspire to lean towards data-driven
strategic decisions and, in different phases, are going
through heavy changes regarding data analytics
contributions as they work on discovering how can it be
best leveraged for their organization’s success.
All-in-all it is not questioned the main benefits from
data-driven decisions as the main challenge resides in
the transformation process and, in this context, I
support my team and key business partners in
collaboration of projects and identify key technologies
that speed up the transformation process to drive value
and also democratize data access across the
organization.
What change would you like to bring to the tech
industry if given a chance?
The transformation that I’d be inspired to help drive
and support is organizational transformation through
data democratization. This is a critical strategic
decision to make organizations data-driven at their
core. Once we learn how to do this well, we are on the
path to success in transforming organisations to
become data-driven at all organizational levels.
The vision is that, regardless of individual
experience/background, or department someone
belongs to, everyone should know how to utilise data.
This means providing access to the “right” level of data
and feeling empowered by it through technology that
fits their needs.
In order to achieve this, it is required to build processes
that transform the organization to move towards data-
driven strategies, improve digital skills when needed
and opt-in for technology that allows everyone within
the organization to bring their contributions and
productivity to the next level.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run,
and what are your future goals for your company?
Once I think about the future, I reflect about what and
where I can contribute to this data intelligence “engine”
that powers organizations by driving informed
decisions, optimising and solving business challenges
and much more. In this futuristic journey, I think about
all the diverse, curious and intelligent people I can work
with and what we will accomplish together.
Therefore, to answer this question, I envision myself as
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
26
a positive influencer in the Data Science field and, given
my background, for Women in Tech. Namely, as
someone that has inspired others with my strong
passion for data-driven solutions. Hence, I envision that
I will continue to challenge myself to go to the next level
and lead data-driven solutions together with business
units and, consequently, help organizations achieve
their objectives, as also discover new ones. Throughout
this journey always learning with whom I connect with
and follow my passion for helping the growth of my
team and those who want to switch their career into
tech.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs
who aspire to venture into the tech sector?
As I’m not an entrepreneur, I do not see myself as the
best go-to for advice on this topic. Based on my
knowledge, I’d say make sure you have a strong
business model, a diverse team that contributes to
different areas (technical, commercial and financial)
and, finally, resilience and motivation to make it
happen.
CoachHub’s mission is to
democratize coaching through
personalized, measurable and
scalable digital coaching
programs.
“
“
“
“
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
27
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
28
Smru Sandhya
Senior Program
Manager
Smruti Sandhya
Augmentations in Business Growth
W
omen have been active in the professional
world for many decades playing several
roles. Making their mark through discipline,
hard work, dedication, and creativity, they have been
active contributors to the success stories. However, the
role has been revolving around the managerial levels in
general.
With the changing times and evolving market
paradigms, some women have surged phenomenally,
breaking the glass ceiling through their exceptional
capabilities in business governance and people
management skills. There has been an impressive rise in
the number of women leaders in business
entrepreneurial and top positions of the organizational
board committees. By guiding the workforce,
implementing effective business strategies, and
initiating growth-oriented systems, women leaders
have accelerated the progress of the organization and
enhanced the developments in the business sector.
With in-depth technical know-how, a broader
understanding of the start-up entrepreneurial mindset,
and the skill of communicating and implementing
Microsoft Cloud solutions, Smruti Sandhya has created
an identity of an empowering business facilitator
through simplified technological applications.
Implementing the technologies as a Senior Program
Manager at Microsoft, Smruti has facilitated emerging
start-ups with the right tech support and helped in
fueling their journey toward their business objectives.
In an engaging interview with the CioLook team, Smruti
elaborated on her professional journey, technological
applications, and her contribution to business
enterprises. She enthusiastically unfolded the values of
the work culture, her advice to the young
entrepreneurs, and her vision.
The excerpts of the same are given as follows.
Brief our audience about your journey as a business
leader until your current position at your company.
What challenges have you had to overcome to reach
where you are today?
I started my career in the public sector, working as a
Project Manager with the Government of India. Post
that, I joined a financial institution that was on the
journey to becoming a Bank (Fincare). I worked as an
operations manager, gradually moving to the Strategy
team. I had to upskill myself by learning Banking,
Financial instruments and sharpening my
communication skills.
I advocate accepting this
change, happening in
tech, which would create
the buttery effect.
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
29
The next challenge I took on was by
joining a fast-growing startup (Kredx,
Sequoia funded), this was a bill
discounting platform. I was part of the
Strategic Alliances and part of CEO’s
office. Here I learnt that, in a startup
there is never a defined role. You must do
EVERYTHING. Being a part of CEO's
office, I learned business quicky along
with learning tech business quickly, along
with learning Tech (the backbone of the
company). I read tons of articles on Go to
Market Strategy, Programming, &
Architecture and used this to improvise
our product. This acted as a jumping
board to join Microsoft.
When I joined Microsoft, I was a
professional who was self-starter (thanks
to the startup exposure), had skills in
tech, analytics, sales, operations and
strategy. I truly became an asset.
Throughout my professional journey, I
learned that you’ll always have
challenges, but you must have – the
hunger & grit to overcome them and keep
going.
Tell us something more about your
company and its mission and vision.
I work for Microsoft. Founded in 1975 by
Bill Gates and Paul Allen, with an idea
inspired by Popular Electronics
Magazine. Initially, Microsoft was
microprocessors and software – for
Altair 8800, an early personal computer
that later was approved for IBM’s first
personal computer.
Microsoft’s mission – “Empower every
person, every organization on the planet
to achieve more” We believe in what
people make possible. Microsoft believes
in the vision of “Giving Back to the
society.”
This mission starts with One (1), one
customer referring to another, one
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
30
employee to a team, one team collaborating with
another team, and one person making an impact to
share with another. There are numerous ways taken up
to champion this mission, growing from PC to Xbox to
Cloud to Office365 to Skype acquisition. The trajectory
is to empower more users, organizations, and products
to achieve more.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the tech niche
through your expertise in the market.
Tech is an ever-evolving domain. One needs to keep
learning all the time. When I first joined the Fintech
industry, I had a basic understanding of how tech works
(APIs, Programming, Sandbox environment etc.). I
worked in PaaS – Platform as a service company. I
leveraged this knowledge of Tech and applied it in
Cloud computing. Soon after, I was able to understand
the tech concepts, architectures and virtualization. This
was my impetus to get into Cloud sales.
My aim was to impart, this understanding of technology
to customers, who found it difficult to decipher. My
knowledge of how startups think & function,
understanding customer psyche & emotion came in
very useful. All of the above kept my hunger for
learning new concepts, technology and their
application.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that
drives your organization.
Microsoft is driven by values all the time. These values
are inherent to the work-culture we have built. Our
Corporate values aligns to our mission, supports our
culture, and serves the charter -how we treat each
other, our customers, and our partners. These values
are Respect, Integrity, and Accountability.
Respect – We create an environment of mutual respect
always. We understand and acknowledge the thoughts,
actions, feelings, and background of each individual as
important as our own.
Integrity – We create an environment by being honest,
ethical, and trustworthy.
Accountability – We are reliable and responsible for
our own decisions, actions, and results.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in
almost every sector. How are you leveraging
technological advancements to make your solutions
resourceful?
Technology is backbone to all innovations in this era.
Microsoft is a pioneer and closest to technology. We
strive each day to make our solutions more accessible
to each person/organisation, empower our customer
with trustworthy computing, and responsible AI
advancement. While these technological facets are
embedded in all our solution, we make sure, we are
empathetic to our customers’ needs and are
continuously innovating to make our products better.
What change would you like to bring to the tech
industry if given a chance?
I believe the change is already happening. And change
always starts with ONE. You need to be the change. I
advocate accepting this change, happening in tech,
which would create the butterfly effect. For example –
using tech in your daily chores like – safe online banking
over offline, using digital payments over physical, or
digital travel tickets over the paper ticket. However, if
given a chance, I would make technology more intuitive
(I know it’s continuously happening).
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run,
and what are your future goals for your company?
Honestly, I am a strong believer in taking one step at a
time. This brings clarity to execution. In the long run, I
want to be able to contribute and give back more to
society. This can be in the form of knowledge, which I
have gained throughout my journey, helping budding
startups, or volunteering. I am interested in AI trends; I
would like to make AI part of all my future goals.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs
who aspire to venture into the tech sector?
My advice would be to do the right thing for your
customers; this is the only way to success. Be customer
obsessed. Prioritize solving customers’ problems over
building your profit model. Today we have information
in our hands; we can take advantage of it. Be kind, and
never stop learning.
www.ciolook.com | March 2023 |
31
woman
Each
time a
stands up for herself,
she stands
up for all
women.
www.ciolook.com

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  • 1. VOL 03 I ISSUE 02 I 2023 Most Impressive Women Women Women Tech, Making Waves in the Industry 2023 Leaders in Isabella Drolz, Vice President of Product Marketing Comet Yxlon Drolz Creating Empowering Solutions for Success Isabella
  • 3.
  • 4. s technology becomes more and more prevalent, it is Aimportant to find great leaders in the field. New tech leaders often take inspiration from others whose styles and techniques they admire. They look at the successes of those who came before them and emulate approaches that make sense to them. As they evolve more deeply into their roles, they can learn what is working for them and adapt their methods as needed. Vision, communication, innovation and empathy are some of the principal qualities a leader needs to successfully direct a tech organization. The most successful tech leaders are able to communicate effectively with their teams. They know how to articulate their vision, listen and take criticism in stride, and are comfortable making decisions that will affect other people's lives. They are also skilled at communicating with people who don't share their technical expertise. They find ways to translate complex concepts into language that non-technical people can understand, and they make sure that everyone on the team understands their role in achieving goals. The admirable leadership skills of tech leaders as individuals, combined with their visionary approach to resolving business problems, set them apart in a highly competitive industry. Their achievements have had a huge impact on people from all walks of life. Mapping the Horizons of Excellence
  • 5. With a huge push to modernize business processes by implementing the latest IT advancements, technology talent is in high demand, making the unemployment rate for technology pros low. Great tech leaders take risks because they know that failure is part of success-and. If you never fail at anything, then you've probably chosen not to try something challenging enough. They are constantly curious and always asking questions, and they make it a point to be well-versed in the latest technologies, trends, best practices, and industry standards. Mapping the journey of these tech leaders, CIOLook sheds light on “Most Impressive Women Leaders in Tech, Making Waves in the Industry 2023,” who are enabling advancements and enhancing the facets of the dynamic industry. Flip through the page and indulge in the journey of sheer innovations with leadership attributes. Have a delightful read! Abhishek Joshi Abhishek Joshi
  • 7. 24 16 Amy R. Henry Developing the Core Aspects of Growth and Progress Transcending the Facets with Transformational Approaches Filipa Peleja Leadership success in a Virtual Work Environment 20 C X O 28 Augmentations in Business Growth Smruti Sandhya
  • 8. CONTENT Senior Editor Alan Swann Executive Editors AbhishekJoshi Alex Spellman DESIGN Visualizer Dave Bates Art & Design Director Revati B. Associate Designer Ankita P. SALES Senior Sales Manager Sihanee M., Rouniyar A. Customer Success Manager Jack Ryan, Prathamesh Sales Executives John, Rohit TECHNICAL Technical Head Prachi Mokashi Technical Consultant Victor Collins March, 2023 Copyright © 2023 CIOLOOK, All rights reserved. The content and images used in this magazine should not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from CIOLOOK. Reprint rights remain solely with CIOLOOK. FOLLOW US ON www.facebook.com/ciolook www.twitter.com/ciolook WE ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON Email info@ciolook.com For Subscription www.ciolook.com CONTACT US ON Pooja M Bansal Editor-in-Chief sales@ciolook.com SME-SMO Research Analyst Eric Smith SEO Executive Sagar Lhigade
  • 9. Brief Company Name Isabella Drolz Vice President of Product Marketing Isabella's experience ranges from mid-tier to global companies, and she is a master in navigating operational and cultural challenges in the industry. Filipa Peleja Data Science Team Lead Filipa loves to work in an area that she feels very passionate about. CoachHub coachhub.com Comet comet.tech Amy R. Henry CEO and Co-founder Amy is extensive and multi-faceted skill set with a focus on commercial/finance/new business development in the Energy Industry with more than 23 years of proven International Upstream Experience (IOC, NOC, and Big 4 Consulting) in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia portfolios. Eunike Ventures eunikeventures.com Marzena Ołubek Data Scientist Marzena is a Data Scientist with 10+ years’ experience within data mining, analytics, modelling and machine learning. Orange Polska orange.pl Smruti is an entrepreneurial professional with 9+ years of experience in business development, GTM & Strategy, client relationships & alliances across Financial Institutions, B2B and Technology. Smruti Sandhya Senior Program Manager Featured Person Microsoft microsoft.com
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12. ebranding companies for success, redefining Rportfolios based on market needs and reshaping corporate culture for the better, Isabella Drolz, Vice President of Product Marketing at Comet Yxlon, is out to change the world with her expertise. Her experience ranges from mid-tier to global companies, and she is a master in navigating operational and cultural challenges in the industry. Isabella is currently making waves in the tech industry with her adept handling of the market and empowerment of fellow women in the industry. Comet Yxlon is driven by the belief that ‘good solutions start with good questions.’ Its strong curiosity and passion for technology are the drivers behind the company’s collaborative approach to product development. Based on customer feedback, it develops high-end X-ray and CT system solutions that enable non-destructive testing in the semiconductor/electronics, automotive, and aerospace industries – from R&D labs to production settings. In an exclusive interview with CIOLook, Isabella Drolz shares the inspirational support that she received in her journey to the top and how she continues to make an effort to pass it on. Below are the highlights of the interview: Brief us about your career path as a staunch woman leader up until your current position at Comet Yxlon. What were the challenges that you had to overcome to scale your progress? There is a saying in German stating that “The first job chooses you, not the other way around.” I started as Business Developer at Siemens Mobility, for railway systems such as metro & light rail systems. Getting the opportunity to work on strategic projects, such as introducing a platform approach for metro & passenger coaches systems at an early stage in my professional career was an exceptional experience. Next to the professional experience, I had strong female leaders who shaped and taught me how to navigate a conservative industry, belief in myself and be resilient. Quickly adapting to new environments, task settings, teams, and business cultures are just a few things you encounter in strategic consulting. You need to be quick on your feet. When I moved to Jenoptik Advanced Systems, Jenoptik's former defense business unit, the industry was in a state of upheaval and my task was to transform the project-oriented product business into a modular platform to be prepared for future requirements. Basically, we had to break with old habits, advance technologically and open our minds to the new way ahead. When you switch from corporations to medium-sized companies, you enter a different world. At a food machinery manufacturer, I took on the role of Vice President of Product Management & Marketing. positioning three different product brands from three different countries and cultures under one roof while facing a conservative management approach. It was an intense time, but I am very grateful for the experience, and it has made me a stronger leader when faced with headwinds and a very risk-averse environment. Now, at Comet Yxlon, I am the Vice President in charge of Product Marketing, which includes Product Management, Marketing and Global Application Solution Centers. We also just rebranded, and it is always a unique experience strategically repositioning a company, bringing different cultures closer together, empowering teamwork and preparing for the road ahead.
  • 13. Tell us something more about Comet Yxlon and its mission and vision. Comet Yxlon is one of three divisions of Comet AG, a leading tech company in radio frequency and x-ray technology. Comet Yxlon designs, manufactures, and markets high-end X-ray and CT systems, including data- driven services for non-destructive testing to assure product quality in labs, speed up ramp-ups, and enhance process stability in production environments for the semiconductor, electronics, automotive, and aerospace industries. Our X-Ray and CT systems support our global customers to increase their productivity and sustainability by reducing product waste and, thereby, enhancing yield. In a nutshell, we provide our customers with the key to efficiency and innovation by seeing better, faster, more. Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization. We put our customers at the center of everything we do. We strive to understand their needs and expectations and to exceed them by deeply understanding the market, its requirements, trends, and challenges to build long-lasting relationships. To succeed, we challenge ourselves to continuously improve by empowering our employees to take ownership of their work and to make decisions that will drive the company’s success. All this can only be achieved through trustful collaboration: We believe that by working together as a team, we can accomplish more. Through our “Above and Beyond program,” we foster a culture of trustful collaboration and mutual support by sharing cross- divisional knowledge and resources. By embracing these values, we believe that we can create a positive and productive work environment that helps us achieve our business objectives. And by the way, it is fun to work at. What do you believe is the significant factor for women in the tech industry, and what is the most important aspect of your success in adhering to these fundamentals? It is tough to nail it down to one. However, one critical success factor is to believe in yourself and your abilities.
  • 14.
  • 15. and schedules. In our mobile working program, we established that our employees could flexibly arrange where they want to conduct their work and when. Through this program, we ensure a healthy work-life balance. Transparency and open dialogue are key to success. Therefore, we are reviewing and monitoring our progress on a quarterly basis. We review our diversity and inclusion efforts, establish metrics to track our progress and adjust as needed. It is important to make diversity and inclusion a transparent topic and part of the management agenda. Finally, one topic and the most important topic to me is offering mentorship to women. When starting my career, I greatly benefited from having female mentors. They shaped me into the leader I am today by teaching me how to navigate in a male-dominant industry, stay true to my beliefs, and see it through. Therefore, I also mentor female potentials across the industry to provide them with the support and guidance they need to advance in their careers. What change would you like to bring to your industry if given a chance? There are several factors that contribute to the under representation of women in the tech & machine building industries, including unconscious bias, lack of role models and mentorship, and a culture that may not be inclusive or welcoming to all. To increase gender diversity, it is important to openly address these issues and thereby create a more inclusive culture. This can be achieved through initiatives such as diversity and inclusion panel discussions at exhibitions and conferences and actively recruiting and promoting women in the field. As mentioned before, mentorship programs are key to success for women in the tech & machine building industries by providing guidance, giving networking opportunities, providing support on career development, helping break unconscious bias, and encouraging and offering exposure to new opportunities. Therefore, implementing sustainable female mentorship across the industry would bring tremendous change and potential. Confidence is key to success in any field, and it’s especially important for women in male-dominated industries. In addition, building up a strong network of professional contacts and among your colleagues are crucial success factors to me, as also staying informed and educated. I am trying to keep up to date with the latest industry trends, technologies, and best practices by reading relevant literature, attending conferences and workshops. But most and for all, I do not let stereotypes or biases affect me. Everyone and especially women, encounter stereotypes and unconscious biases in their careers. The key is not to get discouraged by them or let them doubt yourself. Instead, use them to your advantage and as motivation to excel in your field. What strategies do you implement as a leader to promote gender diversity for various positions at Comet Yxlon? As leader but also as a management team at Comet Yxlon, we seek out a number of strategies to promote gender diversity for various positions within the company, starting with recruitment. I actively ensure to recruit from a diverse pool of potential candidates, as well as encourage our recruitment team to do the same. In addition, our recruitment team works to create a diverse pipeline of potential candidates by reaching out to universities and organizations that focus on diversity. Furthermore, we established a more flexible work environment that allows for different working styles
  • 16. and our customers by fostering and empowering diverse teams to drive our business forward. What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders willing to venture into the modern business arena? Believe in yourself and your abilities: Confidence is key to success in any field, and it’s especially important for women in male-dominated industries. Believe that you have the skills and experience to succeed, and don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. Network and seek out mentorship: Building a strong network of professional contacts and finding mentors can be incredibly valuable in helping you navigate the business world and advance your career. Speak up and advocate for yourself: Don’t be afraid to negotiate for promotions, raises, and other opportunities that you deserve. Foster a positive work- life balance: It’s important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. This will help you to maintain a positive attitude and approach to work and be more effective in your job. Be resilient: The business world can be challenging, and you will inevitably face obstacles and setbacks. Learn from these experiences and keep moving forward. Don’t let stereotypes or biases affect you: You will encounter these as you advance in your career. Don’t let them discourage you or make you doubt yourself. Instead, use them as motivation to excel in your field. Remember to have fun: The business world can be intense, but it’s important not to lose sight of why you’re doing it. Find joy in your work and your accomplishments, and don’t forget to celebrate your jointly achieved successes with your colleagues. What, according to you, could be the next significant change for women in Tech? How is Comet Yxlon preparing to be a part of that change? A potential change could be a greater emphasis on actively creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture. This includes not only addressing issues such as unconscious bias and discrimination but also actively working to create a culture that supports and values diversity and provides opportunities for the growth and development of all employees. Starting with active diverse and international recruitment: Actively seeking out and recruiting from diverse backgrounds and countries for leadership and technical positions, including those from underrepresented groups. In addition, providing training and education on intersectionality and inclusivity: To ensure that all employees are aware of and understand the importance of intersectionality and inclusivity in the workplace. But all starts by making diversity and inclusion a priority: Making sure that diversity and inclusion are a priority for the company and that the leadership team is committed to these values, policies, and practices and reflect this commitment. Comet has now put this on top of its agenda by launching a diversity program that will prepare all divisions, including Comet Yxlon, to foster a more inclusive and equitable workplace culture that values and supports the contributions of all employees, including those from diverse backgrounds. Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Comet Yxlon? It’s always hard to predict the future, but what I know for sure is that I want to continue working in a challenging international environment. Preparing companies for the future by taking business structures, products and teams to the next level, breaking old habits and prejudices, and shaping mindsets to drive continuous improvement - that’s what excites me. Therefore, I want to shape Comet Yxlon in a way that we are not only ready but are the driver for the coming trends and challenges in our industry, especially when it comes to data analytics and artificial intelligence. In a nutshell, taking the next step to accelerate the market
  • 17. 1 Year 12 Issues $250 6 Months 6 Issues $130 3 Months 3 Issues $70 1 Month 1 Issue $25 CHOOSE OUR SUBSCRIPTION Stay in the known. Subscribe to CIOLOOK Get CIOLOOK Magazine in print, and digital on www.ciolook.com
  • 18. Amy R. Henry T ech Leadership…What comes to your mind when you hear these two words? Understanding the meaning of these two words is not complicated. As the name suggests, the tech leadership role is the combination of two main responsibilities, keeping an eye on emerging technological developments and, at the same time, having staunch leadership acumen. You might have pictured a person in your brain with the technical experience and good communication skills that adhere to the leadership role. That’s true somewhere, but the responsibility of a technical leader is hard to define. Most of the time, you spend exploring the dynamics of technology as a tech leader. However, it’s not limited to this. You’re also responsible for the entire development of the organization, the team, and most importantly, Developing the Core Aspects of Growth and Progress keeping your organization stay on top of the competition. You no longer focus on your problem but develop immersive strategies and thrive towards going ahead with a problem-solving approach. This is how Amy R. Henry excels in the ever-evolving modern industry. Being the CEO and Co-founder of EUNIKE Ventures, Amy has constantly been pivoting along the way. With her resolute leadership and expertise, Amy’s entire team has firmly believed in the vision and has been putting skin in the game. In an exclusive interview with CIOLook, Amy shares her professional tenure in the industry while highlighting the challenges she had to overcome, her significant achievements and plans for the future. Below are the excerpts from the interview: Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at your company. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today? I now have close to 30 years of experience in the energy industry and previously was with Royal Dutch Shell (Shell International E&P, Shell Tech Ventures - commercialization of technologies, Shell Gas & Power, etc.), PETRONAS Global CFO for Unconventional Energy, and Big Four (EY, Andersen). I am a reluctant entrepreneur growing up with a father who was a serial entrepreneur understanding how hard and challenging this journey would be. Part of this is how well you can influence through others by planting early seeds, and when you have I am a reluctant entrepreneur growing up with a father who was a serial entrepreneur understanding how hard and challenging this journey would be. www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 16
  • 19. roadblocks create your own path, while keeping the door open. Being a female in a largely male-dominated industry is a challenge in and of itself. This is where your team and shared vision come into play; however, you are not alone on this journey. Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision. Eunike, meaning “Good Victory,” was created with the end in mind: “Realizing the Entrepreneurial Spirit”. Essentially, the end goal is to have thousands of needed technologies commercialized across the value chain. We are not looking to grow unicorns. EUNIKE is an open innovation model, which involves building global energy bridges with collaboration/partnership of the energy industry, universities, capital investors, early-stage investors, NGOs, trade organizations, government organizations like the DOE, and many other organizations in the global innovation ecosystem. Enlighten us on how you have impacted the tech niche through your expertise in the market. One example is below; no pun intended; we are ‘unique.’ So, we have built a program with Canada with our ‘energyNEXT’ program. Houston recognized me as one of the "women leading technology buildout of the innovation/ecosystem when we launched EUNIKE Ventures with our energy partners at the time: Equinor, Hess, and Anadarko. I will be speaking at the opening plenary session at URTec in Denver this year about EUNIKE's value proposition, state of the energy industry, and the push for commercialization of technologies globally. This is an honor and recognition of the work we have done from the ground up and the strides we have taken towards enabling advancements. I work with NREL (National Labs in Colorado), where I mentor the younger early-stage companies as well as participate on the selection committee. The entrepreneurs see us as “energy whisperers,” and the industry sees us helping to filter the noise of innovation and new technologies. Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization. Our values and work culture are the same seeds/elements we must work with the industry to enable innovation and success. Some of these characteristics are below. In addition, we have a team from various backgrounds, skillsets and experiences. Diversity in thought is a MUST. Lastly, is the ability to roll up your sleeves and work side by side with the entrepreneur AS WELL as play a PUSH & PULL roll with our industry. The BOTTOM line is that an entrepreneur is looking for a long-term relationship and trust is at the top of their list if requirements. Required MINDSET: Expansive & Diverse Thinking, Collaborative, Curious, Agile and Empathetic. Amy R. Henry CEO and Co-founder EUNIKE Ventures www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 17
  • 20. From a Leadership & Delivery perspective: Ÿ Failure is an Option Ÿ Time & Space to Fail Ÿ Reasonable Schedule/Expectations Ÿ Patience Ÿ Organizational Trust Ÿ Clear Vision, Mission & Strategy with a Degree of Autonomy Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful? We are agnostic in our approach and cast our nets wide looking at all verticals. What change would you like to bring to the tech industry if given a chance? Part of our role in what we do everyday is to bring forward the voice and challenges of the entrepreneur. Besides thought leadership and driving open/honest dialogue, we also have a large role in terms of ‘paying it forward’ with the younger generation. This is not only working with the universities, but also on creating the pathways for future entrepreneurs and increasing the number of women and minorities in STEM education and careers. We have to INFUSE both KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE to create these opportunities along with increasing their chance of success. In our industry, we must see more collaboration and not in the form that is practiced today. We need to see major shift changes in paradigms and approaches in order to have impact and success. We need to more of our industry providing pre-seed/seed capital to these upcoming technologies. We must learn to move faster and be more AGILE as an industry. Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company? Based on the below, this is about further building out a seamless end-to-end platform for innovators, pulling in more and much-needed early- stage capital and early-stage adopters. We need more companies from the energy vertical putting more skin in the game and willingness to try new collaboration models. While at the same time, building the new talent from within - the intrapreneurs. What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the tech sector? Some of the qualities that will make you successful, and I’d like to advice the aspirants, are: Ÿ When you are young, take on career risks. If things don’t work out, you still have enough time in your career. Sometimes these are the most valuable lessons. Ÿ Make time for yourself. Personal development is just as important as career development. Ÿ Continually develop your network and NOT just within your discipline or industry Ÿ Be curious, ask questions, and seek knowledge. Expand your lens GLOBALLY. Ÿ Understand perceptions as THEY MATTER. Ÿ Find and have mentors and champions. The biggest champions in my career have always been men. Ÿ Given the push for technology & innovation, spend time in the ecosystem. Ÿ ALWAYS fail forward and look AHEAD. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing… be the best version of yourself. Ÿ Listen MORE than you speak. www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 18
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  • 23. Leadership success in a Virtual Work Environment ust a few years ago, people left their homes to Jcommute to work in an office environment. It was rare to work from home daily when your colleagues were spending their days in the corporate building. It was easier to connect with someone down the hall or in a nearby cubicle when they were at their desk during office hours. Then the pandemic arrived and sent everyone home to escape the virus and potential illness or death. Many workers turned bedrooms and kitchen counters into workspace and tried to find a quiet space away from children and spouses who share their homes. Homes and offices morphed into one gray area of living and working. We learned to adapt and the virtual meeting industry quickly advanced and no longer were we having conference calls, we were having virtual meetings. For those who became comfortable working from home in their pajamas, they had to dress professionally from the waist up. Slippers and sweatpants were okay as long as the shirt had a collar and looked clean and ironed. One of the challenges was to monitor an employee's work time to ensure they weren't logged on the screen while enjoying a long lunch or maybe a short nap. With virtual screens we weren't even sure where they were looking at their laptops, as office backgrounds were part of the technology. What was that sound in the background? Was it a tropical bird? Today, while many people are heading back to the office, there are still empty workplaces because their employees are still working from home. Some companies are looking at a hybrid environment and allow workers to commute a few days each week while working from home the others. We also learned that productivity isn't related to how many hours we worked, but how effectively we worked. Working from home removes the commute, which could allow us to devote more time on the job. Flexibility allowed us to create a better work life balance to accommodate children's and spouse's schedules around our own. If you're the boss, or manager, you probably struggled with how to ensure your team was working effectively in a remote environment. As the President and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association, I lead a virtual workforce that includes twelve team members located in nine states. Leading an organization in a virtual environment can present unique challenges, but there are several best practices that we use that can help you manage your team effectively: First, you'll need to establish clear communication channels. You'll need to make sure your team members are equipped with the right tools and platforms to communicate and collaborate effectively. This includes using video conferencing software, project management tools, and messaging platforms that allow for real-time communication. Secondly, you must Set clear expectations: Make sure that your team members understand what is expected of them and establish clear guidelines around work hours, deadlines, and communication protocols. Encourage them to establish a routine that includes regular check-ins and progress updates. At Women In Trucking, we have a results-oriented work environment. This means we do not track hours or days worked. Instead, we monitor output. If a team member prefers to work evenings or takes a break in the afternoon to accommodate their children's schedules, CXO www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 21
  • 24. we are fine with that, if they participate in scheduled meetings. For me, I prefer to work late into the evening, especially during the winter months when it's dark outside by four o'clock. I like to wake up without setting an alarm, and then work out before I get ready for my workday. We don't have holidays or sick days because we allow our employees to determine when they want to take time off and how long they will be gone. The only requirement is that they get their work done and that the absence won't affect other employee's progress. Working in a virtual environment means you must prioritize trust and transparency: Without the benefit of in-person interactions, trust and transparency become even more important. Encourage open and honest communication and foster an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their concerns and ideas. At Women In Trucking, we foster a strong team culture: Creating a strong team culture is critical to maintaining team cohesion and motivation. Consider organizing virtual team-building activities, recognizing team members for their achievements, and celebrating milestones together. Even though we are spread across the country, we are connected because are care about each person on the team. To succeed in a virtual work culture, you must provide regular feedback and support: Regular feedback and support are crucial in a virtual environment where team members may feel isolated or disconnected. Take the time to provide constructive feedback and offer support where needed. Keep it current and make it a regular part of our interactions. It is very important to lead by example: As a leader, it is important to model the behavior you want to see from your team. Demonstrate a strong work ethic, prioritize communication and collaboration, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of challenges. No one works harder than me in our organization. The workforce of tomorrow will include remote employees who rely on technology to stay connected. At the Women In Trucking Association, we embrace our team members virtually and value their output and measure results, not minutes or hours. www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 22
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  • 26. Filipa Peleja, Data Science Team Lead CoachHub www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 24
  • 27. Peleja Transcending the Facets with Transformational Approaches veryone has their own leadership style, and the Etype of leader that you are at the beginning of your career doesn’t necessarily dictate the type of leader you will be throughout your journey. Filipa Peleja started her career as a Software Developer and quickly transitioned to pursue her passion: discovering and driving value out of data. Within that journey, she also wants to support and help others grow in their data-driven careers. There were external factors that influenced this journey. For instance, going back to 2009, she finished her master’s thesis in the Machine Learning domain; at that time, Big Data was word-of-mouth across industries. Influenced by her passion for data and experience working in an organisation, Filipa decided to extend her studies to a PhD topic within the lenses of “What can be accomplished in academia that translates into innovation in industries?” – a sort of best combination of both worlds. The momentum kept growing as in 2012 Data Scientist job became known as "The sexiest job of the 21st century.” Within the same period, digital companies were adopting digital transformation as a means to adapt their technology to meet the organization’s needs. By 2014 Filipa was in the final journey of her PhD studies. She accomplished her objective of connecting academic learnings to the industry; with that, Filipa won the first prize in a competition organised by NOS and Microsoft -- the challenge was to answer the question, “What will Look like the Television of the Future?” Following up on this rewardful experience Filipa joined Yahoo! Research Labs and together with the team published at ACL, a top-tier conference. Their work envisioned to improve recommender systems for news articles by building a model that learns what makes a news article of quality. Finally, Filipa moved from the Data Scientist (DS) role to Senior DS, Lead DS and now DS Team Lead. These roles are across different industries: Digital, Telecommunication and Retail. This allowed her to lecture, mentor, and at CodeOp support other women successfully transition into a career in Tech. In an interview with CIOLook, Filipa shares valuable facts highlighting her professional tenure and the journey so far in the niche. Below are the excerpts from the interview : Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at your company. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today? Moving to a leadership role did not come to mind in my early career stages. Looking back, the focus was within a different horizon as career paths towards leadership within organisations were never part of my learning Filipa www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 25
  • 28. journey, nor close -friends’ or -colleagues’ circle of knowledge sharing. In my view, everyone’s journey has its special moments that transform us, and there are times that we find ourselves wondering what-if small but impactful events had gone differently and how that would have impacted where we are today. In my personal journey, there were 2 main barriers that I had to overcome that definitively shaped my way of working, continuous growth and how I mentor others. The first one was by being labelled as “the academic” meaning that one does not understand how business works. I’ve embraced this challenge with a very positive mindset as I’ve learned a lot as I identified my strengths and flaws in that domain. Consequently, as I’m a savvy learner, I did not want to limit myself to learning on the job; therefore, I’ve decided to enrol in an MBA to complement what felt like a gap in my Engineering background. The second challenge resides in Trust, as leadership roles require trust for that person to do the job properly and, from my experience, I’ve seen that either background is mostly from Business areas or your leadership skills are noticeable within the organisation for an opportunity to be given to you – this requires a lot of resilience and leadership support. Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision. CoachHub’s mission is to democratize coaching through personalized, measurable and scalable digital coaching programs. Coaching is a growing industry that is reinforced through evidence of its efficacy and impact across different industries. With my team, we work to improve our coaching platform even further in order to bring a seamless, accessible, and meaningful experience to coachees around the world. Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful? Organizations aspire to lean towards data-driven strategic decisions and, in different phases, are going through heavy changes regarding data analytics contributions as they work on discovering how can it be best leveraged for their organization’s success. All-in-all it is not questioned the main benefits from data-driven decisions as the main challenge resides in the transformation process and, in this context, I support my team and key business partners in collaboration of projects and identify key technologies that speed up the transformation process to drive value and also democratize data access across the organization. What change would you like to bring to the tech industry if given a chance? The transformation that I’d be inspired to help drive and support is organizational transformation through data democratization. This is a critical strategic decision to make organizations data-driven at their core. Once we learn how to do this well, we are on the path to success in transforming organisations to become data-driven at all organizational levels. The vision is that, regardless of individual experience/background, or department someone belongs to, everyone should know how to utilise data. This means providing access to the “right” level of data and feeling empowered by it through technology that fits their needs. In order to achieve this, it is required to build processes that transform the organization to move towards data- driven strategies, improve digital skills when needed and opt-in for technology that allows everyone within the organization to bring their contributions and productivity to the next level. Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company? Once I think about the future, I reflect about what and where I can contribute to this data intelligence “engine” that powers organizations by driving informed decisions, optimising and solving business challenges and much more. In this futuristic journey, I think about all the diverse, curious and intelligent people I can work with and what we will accomplish together. Therefore, to answer this question, I envision myself as www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 26
  • 29. a positive influencer in the Data Science field and, given my background, for Women in Tech. Namely, as someone that has inspired others with my strong passion for data-driven solutions. Hence, I envision that I will continue to challenge myself to go to the next level and lead data-driven solutions together with business units and, consequently, help organizations achieve their objectives, as also discover new ones. Throughout this journey always learning with whom I connect with and follow my passion for helping the growth of my team and those who want to switch their career into tech. What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the tech sector? As I’m not an entrepreneur, I do not see myself as the best go-to for advice on this topic. Based on my knowledge, I’d say make sure you have a strong business model, a diverse team that contributes to different areas (technical, commercial and financial) and, finally, resilience and motivation to make it happen. CoachHub’s mission is to democratize coaching through personalized, measurable and scalable digital coaching programs. “ “ “ “ www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 27
  • 30. www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 28 Smru Sandhya Senior Program Manager
  • 31. Smruti Sandhya Augmentations in Business Growth W omen have been active in the professional world for many decades playing several roles. Making their mark through discipline, hard work, dedication, and creativity, they have been active contributors to the success stories. However, the role has been revolving around the managerial levels in general. With the changing times and evolving market paradigms, some women have surged phenomenally, breaking the glass ceiling through their exceptional capabilities in business governance and people management skills. There has been an impressive rise in the number of women leaders in business entrepreneurial and top positions of the organizational board committees. By guiding the workforce, implementing effective business strategies, and initiating growth-oriented systems, women leaders have accelerated the progress of the organization and enhanced the developments in the business sector. With in-depth technical know-how, a broader understanding of the start-up entrepreneurial mindset, and the skill of communicating and implementing Microsoft Cloud solutions, Smruti Sandhya has created an identity of an empowering business facilitator through simplified technological applications. Implementing the technologies as a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, Smruti has facilitated emerging start-ups with the right tech support and helped in fueling their journey toward their business objectives. In an engaging interview with the CioLook team, Smruti elaborated on her professional journey, technological applications, and her contribution to business enterprises. She enthusiastically unfolded the values of the work culture, her advice to the young entrepreneurs, and her vision. The excerpts of the same are given as follows. Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at your company. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today? I started my career in the public sector, working as a Project Manager with the Government of India. Post that, I joined a financial institution that was on the journey to becoming a Bank (Fincare). I worked as an operations manager, gradually moving to the Strategy team. I had to upskill myself by learning Banking, Financial instruments and sharpening my communication skills. I advocate accepting this change, happening in tech, which would create the buttery effect. www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 29
  • 32. The next challenge I took on was by joining a fast-growing startup (Kredx, Sequoia funded), this was a bill discounting platform. I was part of the Strategic Alliances and part of CEO’s office. Here I learnt that, in a startup there is never a defined role. You must do EVERYTHING. Being a part of CEO's office, I learned business quicky along with learning tech business quickly, along with learning Tech (the backbone of the company). I read tons of articles on Go to Market Strategy, Programming, & Architecture and used this to improvise our product. This acted as a jumping board to join Microsoft. When I joined Microsoft, I was a professional who was self-starter (thanks to the startup exposure), had skills in tech, analytics, sales, operations and strategy. I truly became an asset. Throughout my professional journey, I learned that you’ll always have challenges, but you must have – the hunger & grit to overcome them and keep going. Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision. I work for Microsoft. Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, with an idea inspired by Popular Electronics Magazine. Initially, Microsoft was microprocessors and software – for Altair 8800, an early personal computer that later was approved for IBM’s first personal computer. Microsoft’s mission – “Empower every person, every organization on the planet to achieve more” We believe in what people make possible. Microsoft believes in the vision of “Giving Back to the society.” This mission starts with One (1), one customer referring to another, one www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 30
  • 33. employee to a team, one team collaborating with another team, and one person making an impact to share with another. There are numerous ways taken up to champion this mission, growing from PC to Xbox to Cloud to Office365 to Skype acquisition. The trajectory is to empower more users, organizations, and products to achieve more. Enlighten us on how you have impacted the tech niche through your expertise in the market. Tech is an ever-evolving domain. One needs to keep learning all the time. When I first joined the Fintech industry, I had a basic understanding of how tech works (APIs, Programming, Sandbox environment etc.). I worked in PaaS – Platform as a service company. I leveraged this knowledge of Tech and applied it in Cloud computing. Soon after, I was able to understand the tech concepts, architectures and virtualization. This was my impetus to get into Cloud sales. My aim was to impart, this understanding of technology to customers, who found it difficult to decipher. My knowledge of how startups think & function, understanding customer psyche & emotion came in very useful. All of the above kept my hunger for learning new concepts, technology and their application. Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization. Microsoft is driven by values all the time. These values are inherent to the work-culture we have built. Our Corporate values aligns to our mission, supports our culture, and serves the charter -how we treat each other, our customers, and our partners. These values are Respect, Integrity, and Accountability. Respect – We create an environment of mutual respect always. We understand and acknowledge the thoughts, actions, feelings, and background of each individual as important as our own. Integrity – We create an environment by being honest, ethical, and trustworthy. Accountability – We are reliable and responsible for our own decisions, actions, and results. Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful? Technology is backbone to all innovations in this era. Microsoft is a pioneer and closest to technology. We strive each day to make our solutions more accessible to each person/organisation, empower our customer with trustworthy computing, and responsible AI advancement. While these technological facets are embedded in all our solution, we make sure, we are empathetic to our customers’ needs and are continuously innovating to make our products better. What change would you like to bring to the tech industry if given a chance? I believe the change is already happening. And change always starts with ONE. You need to be the change. I advocate accepting this change, happening in tech, which would create the butterfly effect. For example – using tech in your daily chores like – safe online banking over offline, using digital payments over physical, or digital travel tickets over the paper ticket. However, if given a chance, I would make technology more intuitive (I know it’s continuously happening). Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company? Honestly, I am a strong believer in taking one step at a time. This brings clarity to execution. In the long run, I want to be able to contribute and give back more to society. This can be in the form of knowledge, which I have gained throughout my journey, helping budding startups, or volunteering. I am interested in AI trends; I would like to make AI part of all my future goals. What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the tech sector? My advice would be to do the right thing for your customers; this is the only way to success. Be customer obsessed. Prioritize solving customers’ problems over building your profit model. Today we have information in our hands; we can take advantage of it. Be kind, and never stop learning. www.ciolook.com | March 2023 | 31
  • 34. woman Each time a stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.
  • 35.