Women play an important role in innovation, and Christine Regitz has spent her career mentoring and advocating for women in technology.
In 2007, she co-founded the Business Women’s Network (BWN) at SAP, a grassroots initiative that now has more than 10,000 members across 60 chapters. The network supports women in gaining new skills and pursuing successful career paths at SAP.
After studying business administration and physics, Christine first joined SAP in 1994 as a retail management consultant. Over 26 years later, her passion for innovative technology has only grown and “exceptional and exciting colleagues” continue to motivate her throughout her journey at the company.
Regitz is a member of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE, a certified business coach and mediator, an honorary member of the presidium of the German Informatics Society, a member of the High-Level Advisory Committee of the European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT), and a member of the advisory board of CyberMentor.
In recognition of her new role as head of Women in Tech at SAP, I spoke with Regitz recently to get her thoughts on the power of women in tech as well as why it is so important to provide education and opportunities for other young women who are interested in a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Q: Did you always know you wanted to work in technology?
A: No, not really. But I always wanted to work in a very flexible environment and in an innovative industry. I was always eager to understand how things worked and to learn about innovative and upcoming new topics. So I guess it is just natural that I ended up in technology.
What was it like learning to code for the first time?
That was horrible, because it was at school in a voluntary course and the first programming language we learned was Assembler. Fortunately, after a very short period of time, we changed to Basic as our programming language and that was eye-opening.
You co-founded the Business Women’s Network at SAP. Why is this network important for the company?
The official launch was in January 2007. The network itself already was growing and existing before, not officially, but as a natural evolution from a series of gender awareness trainings organized by our head of Global Health, Natalie Lotzmann.
A primary goal of the network at that time was to show that gender diversity is an important topic, especially by gaining the attention of the Board, which was not easy in those days. Diversity was not even on the agendas of big corporations at all. I am very proud that we, through the BWN, put gender diversity on the agenda of SAP and ignited a change in culture!
The BWN is so important, as it has today so many chapters that act locally according to the motto: “Think global, act local,” incorporating numerous events and actions that are incredibly valuable.
And SAP is a corporate role model — to my knowledge, we were among the first companies to form a women’s network.
Why is it so important for more young girls to have access to a STEM education?
We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and this is all about technology. So each and every person should have a rock-solid STEM education in order to be part of this revolution and to understand how this will change the lives of all, as well as how we can — through technology — improve people’s lives!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned from your career in tech?
I never imagined that working in tech requires — besides a good technical foundation — two important skills: communication and teamwork.