The IT sector has been known as “male-dominated” for a long time. However, women working and pursuing careers in the tech space have significantly increased in recent years, minimizing the gender gap in the industry. In the Philippines alone, women comprise 35 percent of the country’s tech workforce, according to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study.
In observance of National Women’s Month this March, SAP is one with the country in promoting gender equality and inclusivity as it is dedicated to developing a positive and inclusive work environment in line with one of the pillars of its sustainability strategy—zero inequality.
“Creating an environment that exhibits equality and equity allows women to reach their full potential, especially in the tech space. As the country celebrates National Women’s Month, SAP remains committed to strengthening its diversity, equality, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts to encourage and support women in the IT industry,” said Rudy Abrahams, Managing Director of SAP Philippines.
With the country’s celebration, SAP highlights three women in tech who broke down the industry’s barriers and ascent into leadership roles at one of the leading enterprise solutions providers. Lara Pangilinan, Cathlyn Lecaros, and Simone Pigason shared their driving force for success in the IT sector.
Lara Pangilinan: Having Faith Empowers Success
Pangilinan is the Mid-Market Sales Director of SAP Philippines and handles a team of six. Aside from that, she is also a wife and a mother, making time management her biggest challenge. Because of this, Pangilinan mentioned that she had to create a strategy to divide her time between work and family.
However, such a situation never became a hurdle for Pangilinan to aspire to be the country’s managing director or a vice president for Southeast Asia’s mid-market segment in the future as SAP continues to empower her with programs that promote DE&I.
While Pangilinan has a great support system from her family and SAP, she emphasized that it is also critical to have faith in oneself to succeed in the tech industry. “Having faith can empower us to get back on our feet after experiencing mistakes. Additionally, gender should not be a barrier to achieving our dreams. We are only boxed by the limits we have set. We can soar high, but only if we want to and let ourselves do so.”
Cathlyn Lecaros: Continuous Learning Leads to Success
Lecaros is the ISBN First Level Sales Manager for SAP Indochina, Indonesia, and the Philippines. She worked in finance for five years before joining SAP as a Solutions Architect in 2001. After that, she did a fellowship as an account executive while doing presales consulting work. Before reaching her current position, Lecaros experienced being a Line of Business Account Executive and Industry Account Executive.
During her journey, she shared that she experienced self-doubt at one point. Fortunately, she worked with inspiring and authentic mentors at SAP, enabling her to believe in herself and grow as a confident leader. Additionally, she added that her drive to continue learning helped her build the confidence she needed to be successful in her position.
“Continuous learning should be practiced in our personal and professional lives. For the extra mile, find one great mentor to drive our inspiration ten folds. After that, opportunities will come, and success will follow. Be sure to prepare in advance to accept it when it comes,” said Lecaros.
Simone Pigason: Balanced Environment Drives Success
Pigason graduated as an arts major and joined SAP in 2017. She handled the position of Global Account Director and now holds the role of Head of the Digital, Resilient, and Sustainable Supply Chain of SAP Southeast Asia. She shared that while being a woman has not impacted her much because gender parity in the country is one of the highest in Southeast Asia, she found it challenging to adapt to the different leadership styles of men and women.
Since then, Pigason learned that the responsibility to create a balanced environment falls upon the leaders to enable employees to grow continuously. It is also vital to intentionally form a culture that embodies DE&I, which SAP did. With that in mind, Pigason remarked that she aspired to create a breakthrough by nurturing symbiotic relationships in the IT industry.
To end, she shared her favorite quote from Simone de Beauvoir as advice to every woman who continues to strive: “One is not born but becomes a woman.” While Pigason did not share her interpretation, she said that the quote empowered her every day and hoped that those who read it interpret it on their own and have a lasting impact on their lives.