Women in tech: Muna Issa, sales director – High Velocity, UK, Ireland, MEA at HPE
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Women in tech: Muna Issa, sales director – High Velocity, UK, Ireland, MEA at HPE

Women in tech: Muna Issa, sales director – High Velocity, UK, Ireland, MEA at HPE

Aspiring women leaders shouldn’t compare their journeys to others and should focus on their strengths and capabilities

Gulf Business

How would you summarise 2022 for yourself, your company and the local/global tech industry?
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” This is a perfect phrase to address the performance of the year 2022.

Despite global supply shortages across industries, increased cost of living and uncertainty, international political conflicts and currency challenges, amongst many other developments, HPE managed to get through with significant positive achievements from both a technology and business expansion point of view.

Throughout FY22, we focused on addressing customers’ requirements with three of HPE’s key pillars: The HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform, high-performance-computing (HPC) & artificial intelligence (AI) and sustainability.

On a personal level, I learned a lot and the key learning this year was that the only constant changes and we need to build resilience teams that respond to market conditions and customer requirements with speed, agility, and professionalism. And I’m extremely fortunate to be surrounded by best-in-class teams and communities around the IT industry.

As a woman leader, what are the challenges you faced in reaching the top and how did you overcome them?
Career challenges are for everybody, men, and women but for women who are a minority in the technology industry and workplace overall, we face added pressure to prove ourselves and our capabilities. I am blessed to be in an organisation like HPE where women are constantly empowered every single minute of the day on their path to achieving success.

Today, just 26 women are in CEO roles at Fortune 500 companies, making up only 5.2 per cent of the female population. I am glad to be always surrounded by successful female leader mentors and friends and we support each other and do our absolute best to be role models for the newer generation and pave the way for the rising female talents to thrive and become successful.

In a male-dominated tech industry, what steps should be taken to attract more women in tech?
Firstly, it is important to define why it is important to attract more women in tech. By achieving diversity in the workplace, a company can increase innovation, receive different perspectives, and creativity, and add new skills which is proven to be healthy for an organisation.

To attract more women, the leadership in tech companies needs to build a business requirement of women employees as their natural way of looking at things differently and creatively leads to positive impact on the company strategy. But it shouldn’t just stop at hiring female talents, it is also vital to ensure their career is supported with proper training, they are personally supported by having female mentors and coaches where they feel part of a community and build their network.

What are the key tips you will offer aspiring women leaders/entrepreneurs to help them progress in this industry?
While there are many to share, I would like to focus on a few important ones.
a. Dealing with the feelings that most women have about self-doubt and whether they are the right fit for the job. This is called the imposter syndrome and is very common between men and women my advice here for women is to focus on their achievements and the fact that no one is perfect for the job and that we are always learning and evolving.

b. Aspiring women leaders shouldn’t compare their journeys to others and should focus on their strengths, and own capabilities, and work on their paths. Set your goals around the skills and experience that you want to gain and add to your profile rather than the next job to go after.

c. Lastly, promote yourself, know what makes you stand out, and lean on your strengths and skills, don’t fall into copying other managers’ leadership styles rather bring your true genuine self forward, define your non-negotiables, and shine.

What are your expectations for 2023?
When I look at the market from the IT enterprise outlook, we have seen it this year, data drives organisations’ insights and fuels their industries, and the companies that can extract value from the available data faster are the ultimate winners. The insights help companies improve experiences, create new business models to reduce costs, and take informative decisions to lead their markets and assess their customers. I see FY23 as an exciting time for IT and I think IT enterprises will be a little bit more resilient than the consumer side, customers need to continue to invest in IT to drive direction and growth.

Read: Women in tech: Leyla Azizova, co-founder and head of MENA at Wema Health

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