Ahead of International Women’s Day, two tech professionals at a Northern Ireland-based cloud computing company have shared their career stories to inspire women considering a role in tech to follow their dreams.
Ria Maynes, from Birmingham, and Lisa Mason, from Glasgow, work remotely for 3EN, Europe’s most qualified Oracle NetSuite Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions partner.
Ria is a principal consultant at the company, leading implementation projects for clients across Europe. She advises the company’s professional services team on the best Oracle NetSuite practices whilst setting goals to measure its performance and output.
Lisa joined 3EN in 2021 and works on designing, programming and maintaining Oracle NetSuite solutions for clients. Her role involves coding, investigations into how to deploy software to meet client needs and documenting project statues.
Having previously worked as an Oracle NetSuite consultant in Singapore, Ria, who is originally from the Philippines, made the move to the UK with her husband in 2015. After only receiving four months of maternity leave in Asia after the birth of her first child, Ria sought to slow down and bring balance to her career and home-life on her arrival to the UK. Whilst still a highly sought after ERP consultant, Ria was aware that she wanted to give equal attention to developing her career and raising her children.
Seeking a company that would align with her value of family-first, Ria joined 3EN to avail of the flexibility on offer for its team members. The company encourages her to begin her working day after the morning school run and take a break to collect her children from school in the afternoon, giving her the freedom to plan her days around her children – a workplace culture non-negotiable in Ria’s eyes.
Having studied Computer Science at university, Lisa always knew she wanted to work in tech, specifically software development. She knew she was both interested in it and good at it, and wasn’t going to be put off by potentially being in the minority amongst men as a young professional.
As one of few females on her course, she was aware that tech was a male-dominated industry, but the reality of moving from an inclusive, welcoming environment during her studies into the workplace still took Lisa by surprise.
After an interview for a role that Lisa was sure went well, she was excited to be called for a second interview with the person who would potentially be her manager at the company. The conversation surprised her, however, as she was told that she would be the only young woman in the department, and therefore wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the team. Lisa didn’t get the job as a result.
Thankfully, Lisa found a role that suited her elsewhere and has been working with Oracle NetSuite ever since, transferring to 3EN in 2021.
Speaking on her career so far, Ria said: “Making the switch from a career in finance to a career in technology changed my life. I’ve been working with Oracle NetSuite since 2008, when the company offered me a role in tech support. My finance and accounting background was key to this role.
“At the start of my career in tech, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to progress as quickly as my male colleagues due to wanting to have children someday. Back then, people weren’t as willing to let women have a lengthy period of maternity leave as they were worried it would affect their ability to perform. It was easy to feel like you needed to prove yourself.
“Thankfully, times have changes. Most companies no longer check the gender of consultants. Being a women became an advantage. Our natural empathy extends to clients, meaning that we tend to listen to their needs better, gaining their trust and respect through relationship.
“Having children isn’t so much of a barrier now either, as companies like 3EN are facilitating working patterns that mean women’s careers don’t need to take a hit whilst they have families. I took a year out of work after having my second child and it didn’t impact my career progression at all.”
Lisa added: “If you know you are passionate about something and it’s what you want to do, don’t let anyone stop you. Women often aren’t taken as seriously as men, but that’s got nothing to do with our abilities – don’t let yourself be overlooked if you know you’ve got skills to offer.
Rio echoed this sentiment, adding: “Women in tech need to be fearless – cross the boundaries of what’s expected of you. There’s nothing women can’t do, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Like Ria, Lisa enjoys the flexibility of working life at 3EN, and is pleased that living in Scotland was never a barrier to her employment with the company. As many of her colleagues also work remotely, the team stays in touch through video calls throughout the week, so Lisa never feels isolated.
She continued: “What I appreciate most about working at 3EN is that I’m given the freedom to do make decisions and do what I want for the good of our clients. The last company I worked in had a culture of micro-management that stifled creativity and development, which isn’t helpful for any tech professional. I’d urge women in tech to find roles in companies that suit them and fit with their values, rather than taking jobs that don’t suit them for fear of not finding anything else, because you will be rewarded.”
Do Ria and Lisa think that International Women’s Day is still important? Yes. Lisa said: “It’s great to have a day where women can stand up and celebrate who they are. We are important and we are successful, which can be easily forgotten as women encounter problems every day, particularly in the workplace. There’s a way to go yet until women are taken as seriously as men, so until then International Women’s Day will remain powerful.”
And what’s Ria’s ideal scenario for International Women’s Day? That it isn’t needed anymore. “I hope that we can some day drop the ‘women’ from ‘women in tech’,” she said. “Unfortunately, there’s still a long way to go globally for women to have equal opportunities to men, so International Women’s Day is still incredibly important.”
In the future, Ria hopes to train and inspire more women to embrace careers in tech, whilst Lisa plans to continue honing her software development skills to become the very best she can be at her job, proving that coding isn’t just an interest for the boys.
3EN is Europe’s most qualified Oracle NetSuite Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions partner. Its cloud technology helps businesses to drive growth through improving efficiency with seamless integration between Oracle NetSuite and other software platforms.