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A Journey in Tech with Sandra Marine

 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are delighted to present another inspiring story from our series of interviews with exceptional women at Xalient. Meet Sandra Marine, a seasoned professional at Integral Partners, a proud member of the Xalient family. Sandra reflects on her remarkable journey in the world of IT, sharing insights into her experiences, challenges, and the evolution of inclusivity over her 25+ years in the industry. Her story is a testament to resilience, adaptability, and the power of having a voice in shaping a meaningful career.

How did you enter the world of IT and IP, and what was your unique experience as a woman?

I was a STEM major before the term “STEM” was ever coined. I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Information and Computer Science and a Minor in Management. There were probably no more than 20 women in my entire graduating class back in 1990. I launched my IT career working for Accenture right out of college. I started off as a staff programmer working through late evenings and weekends at times to meet client deadlines. Through dedication and hard work, I developed consultative and managerial abilities while learning from great managers and top client executives. In time, I was promoted to Sr. Manager where I was entrusted with the responsibility to manage and deliver multi-million dollar and complex systems implementations for clients including JPL, Mazda, PacBell, and Sprint.

After 9 years at Accenture, I moved on to a smaller consulting company during the late 90s for an exciting opportunity during the “.com” bubble. I spent two years there working on developing strategies and project delivery of online business solutions for clients from “.com” startups to Fortune 500 companies where I gained additional experience in strategic planning, website design, brand-building functions, and cross-functional process design.

How did being a woman influence your career?

Being a mother has greatly influenced my career. I took a 5-year break in 2000 to focus on raising my two girls who are now young adults. My priorities shifted once we decided to have a family, reentering the workforce with the goal of balancing family life with a career was not an easy decision. Nevertheless, I traded in my consulting career for a more stable and secure job at Toyota Financial Services for 12+ years. I loved working for Toyota, it gave me the opportunity to do meaningful work while providing me with the work-life balance I wanted as a working mother.

What changes have you observed in inclusivity over the years?

This may sound silly, but I would say one of the most significant progress made in inclusivity over the course of my 25+ years working in IT is the proliferation of wearing pants in the workplace! It may seem like a trivial thing to bring up, but in the past, professional women were expected to only wear skirts and dresses. It was frowned upon for a woman to wear pants to work. It really was a big deal when we (me and all my women colleagues) got the memo that pants suits are acceptable working attire for women.  Gone are the days of pantyhose and high heels – it’s equal comfort level for all!

On a more serious note, what is evidently different nowadays at the workplace is the positive outpouring of encouragement that women are giving to each other. We are empowered to uplift each other and are encouraged to express our thoughts, wisely and unabashedly.

What advice do you have for women starting their careers?

Seek mentorship from people who you look up to and admire. Don’t stop with just one mentor. Seek different perspectives from men and women – you can get unique perspectives from both and compare. Take the time to think, ask questions, listen, and learn.

Any final thoughts?

 It is more important to have a voice and be heard than to be right.

As Melinda Gates once said, “A woman with a voice, is by definition, a strong woman”.  This thought stayed with me.

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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.