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A Conversation with Sanne & Isabeau on Inclusion and Women in Tech at Grabowsky | International Women’s Day 2024

As we gear up to International Women’s Day on 8th March, we had a chat with our colleagues at Grabowsky, a Xalient company, to discuss their perspectives on inclusion, the workplace environment, and the importance of women in the tech industry. Let’s hear from Sanne and Isabeau, trainees in the Cyber Identity Talent Program 2023, as they share their insights and experiences.

What does inclusion mean to you?

Isabeau: To be honest, inclusion sounds more like a trendy term to me than something inherently present in my perception, or at least something that should be. For example, what I struggle with is when companies clearly use this term to achieve their marketing goals but then, when you’re inside such a company, the atmosphere in the workplace turns out to be very different.

Sanne: But the ideology is, of course, great; we are all equal. There shouldn’t be any difference. I do feel that it’s more taken for granted for our generation than when I look at older generations.



And how inclusive is Grabowsky (a Xalient Company)?

Sanne: What I find to be a great example of inclusion is that when I applied here, I asked about the male-female ratio and found it to be around 70-30. The atmosphere here is congenial and based on equality. Now that I work here, I genuinely feel that balance.

Isabeau: Everyone is ready to help, and I feel comfortable enough to ask anyone for help.

Sanne: Ultimately, it comes down to trust for me; if you give someone trust and give them the chance to try, then you have a golden formula.

How was inclusivity during your studies?

Sanne: We pursued different paths: Criminology and Crisis and Security Management. In Criminology, the demographic leaned heavily towards females, constituting about 90% of the cohort, given its emphasis on social sciences.

Isabeau: Conversely, in the Crisis and Security Management program, the gender distribution was more balanced, with a ratio of approximately 60-40%.


Why are women important in the workplace? Do they add something?

Sanne: Personally, I find it empowering to be able to say that I’m in IT, precisely because of the stigma that IT is a male-dominated field. Internally, I feel a sense of responsibility and a desire to prove that wrong. I can do this too. That’s my motto anyway; if you want something, you can do it.

Isabeau: Neither of us has a technical background, not even from our studies. But still, we both quickly obtained technical certificates and are now working with clients. Things are moving in the right direction; it just takes time. IT is very interesting to me because it’s always evolving, always renewing.

Sanne: I’m naturally curious, and I’m also drawn to the multidisciplinary aspect. So now I’m learning the technology, in this case CyberArk, but later, I can also use my communication skills as a business consultant to truly bridge the gap between technology and the client’s needs. In my opinion, that’s exactly where women excel—really listening to the client and translating their needs into technology. I think women bring a different perspective altogether, leading to a wider range of solutions and ideas.

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Portrait of Mark Foulsham, Board Advisor, NED, COO/CIO, Fractional Support, Digital Leadership Coach

Mark Foulsham

Board Advisor, NED, COO/CIO, Fractional Support, Digital Leadership Coach

With a broad background as a COO/CIO/CDO, C-Suite Advisor, NED, Senior Transformation Leader and Coach, Mark tackles multiple fronts from the advantage of diverse experience in business operations, technology, procurement, delivery and risk. With a deep knowledge of business models from multiple sectors and extensive experience in fast-paced digital start-ups.

Mark’s work across extensive business types, functions and countries empowers him with experience to bear across silos. Mark has built a reputation for advocating cross-business collaboration, taking a pragmatic approach and championing transformative change.