Tech-loving women and girls, never underestimate yourself
Her journey from newbie in the world of tech to one of the top technology leaders at ING Germany wasn’t without obstacles, but Agathe always knew what she wanted and went for it. She will be sharing her experiences in a panel discussion at European Women in Tech, Europe’s largest tech event for women, this June.
Agathe has a background in public administration, an environment that didn’t fit at all with her mindset and ambitions. She changed to the public sector and to tech, even though she had not studied in that field. “I turned my hobby into my work and that was the best choice ever,” says Agathe. ING was one of her clients at the consultancy firm where she worked at that time. She joined the bank in 2002. Since 2020, she has been responsible for all tech applications ING uses in retail back office, middleware, core banking, data management and data analytics.
Her journey sure wasn’t without obstacles and, she says. “I made all the mistakes I could have made.” In the panel discussion at the Women in Tech conference, Agathe together three other ING colleagues will be talking about the obstacles they faced as female professionals in a male-dominated tech environment, and how they overcame them.
“An example from my personal journey? Pretty quick after I joined ING, at the age of 30, I became a team Iead. All the members in my team were ‘50-something’ men, with an ingrained way of working and, let’s say, not the most open minds. My first reflex was to copy men’s behaviour. As did my direct manager, who was also a woman. I know now: copying others is never a good idea. Staying faithful to who you are and to your natural behaviour makes you so much stronger. Of course, this copying reflex comes from insecurity. We women tend to underestimate ourselves, but that's the last thing we need.”
"After some pretty tough years I got the chance to build my first own team, and then I completely blossomed. I discovered myself as a leader and I found out bit by bit how the game was played. Also, an awesome training called ‘The Rules of Power in a Men’s world’ and looking at (not copying!) strong female leaders like Angela Merkel inspired me tremendously.”
“With the talk at Women in Tech I hope to encourage and motivate women to be confident about themselves and their capabilities. You know, conscious and unconscious bias will probably never disappear – even nowadays, in a restaurant, my male employee is asked to sign the bill, rather than me. But we women can learn from each other how to how to deal with such events, without losing our self-confidence.”
"Especially tech, where the vast majority are men, is a challenging environment for girls and women. But it is also a very fun and interesting world, where there is a lot to discover. Besides, we simply cannot do without women in the tech world, and I will always work to ensure that their share grows more and more and that they feel happy there."
- Is married and mother of a 10-year-old son
- Goes swimming two times a week in the very early morning
- Loves to ride her new trekking bike, enjoys sun and nature
- Finds peace and joy in gardening.
European Women in Tech will take place on 28 and 29 june in Amsterdam.