Women in tech: Gina Collignon, VP and head of Marketing at SAP
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Women in tech: Gina Collignon, VP and head of Marketing at SAP

Women in tech: Gina Collignon, VP and head of Marketing at SAP

My advice to women in technology is always be ready to learn and develop, keep an open mind and thrive for excellence in every task you do

Gulf Business

How will you summarise 2021 for yourself, your company, and the local and global tech industry?
2021 was a time of transformation for me, for SAP in the EMEA South region that I serve, and in the technology sector throughout this region. Our marketing team, aligned with the business goals of our company, contributed to a significant number of key milestones including our strategic partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai. In addition, we launched multiple major marketing campaigns in Spain, Italy, Portugal and African countries. We also held successful large events virtually. I joined the team during the pandemic, which raised a few challenges, still it did not prevent some great wins for the team, including redefining our values around excellence, trust, teamwork and creativity and mission statement focused on customer-centricity, while ensuring we had the right people in the right places to lead and collaborate effectively.

What are your expectations this year?
This year has already had a dynamic start, with our CEO, Christian Klein, delivering a keynote address at the LEAP event in Riyadh, as well as weekly events with customers and partners at the SAP House at Expo 2020 Dubai. We are confident that this momentum will increase throughout 2022 as more organisations, both in the public and private sectors across our EMEA South region, initiate or progress in their digital transformation strategies, including moving business processes to the cloud through Rise with SAP.

We will continue to focus on cloud services, which play a key role in business transformation to make intelligent enterprise a reality. In addition, we recently underwent a global transformation that saw marketing representation on the executive board, affirming the importance of this function within business strategy, particularly its role in supporting sales.

As a woman leader, what are the challenges you faced in reaching the top and how did you overcome them?
A key challenge for me personally was joining my team during the Covid-19 pandemic as it limited my ability to engage in a face-to-face way with my colleagues, customers, and other important stakeholders. This challenge enabled me to put my own core values into action – including excellence, caring for others, making a meaningful difference and upholding global standards. I saw first-hand that women in leadership roles can deliver robust business results while still caring for the wellbeing of others. In addition, within the technology sector, we are creating a gender-equal workplace, trying to break the gender bias.

What key advice will you offer aspiring women leaders to help them progress in this industry?
My advice for women in technology is equally applicable to other industry sectors – be your authentic self as gender diversity is key to an organisation’s success. Interpersonal skills and a strong sense of emotional intelligence are important, so make the most of these. Aim to diversify your experience to build expertise and your network, embrace agility and flexibility in your approach, and seek out mentors while delivering mentorship to others. Always be ready to learn and develop, keep an open mind and thrive for excellence in every task you do.

What are your company’s plans for the year ahead?
In the longer term, we will be a strategic partner to our customers across the EMEA South region as they aim to increase their business efficiencies and become more customer-centric. We are working with a range of compelling customers, from the newly-opened Museum of the Future to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in an effort to increase cloud adoption.

Sustainability is a major focus for us in 2022. We recently launched the SAP Cares environment, social, governance network during the Expo 2020 Dubai Climate and Biodiversity Theme Week, which brings together organisations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to drive a sustainable future and climate action, which Majid Al Futtaim has recently joined.

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