Profile: Caroline Reeves, Senior Manager Technology at Publicis Sapient

Women in Tech: “Look for an employer who offers you good training opportunities”

Jean Kiltz

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Caroline Reeves, Senior Manager Technology at Publicis Sapient.

research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Four years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Caroline Reeves, Senior Manager Technology at Publicis Sapient.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Caroline Reeves, Senior Manager Technology at Publicis Sapient

As Senior Manager Technology at Publicis Sapient, Caroline Reeves and her team drive the digital business transformation of renowned global companies. Born in England, she is a member of the consultancy’s international Salesforce Practice and has many years of expertise in all aspects of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. A multi-certified technologist, she is an advocate for young female talent and actively promotes greater diversity and inclusion in the industry.

When did you become interested in technology? What first got you interested in tech?

It happened rather surprisingly. My family doesn’t have a technical background. I myself didn’t originally plan to pursue a career in tech either. At University, I studied German and history and later studied international business. Then, during my first job, I got to know the Salesforce ecosystem and I was fascinated. I was excited by the mix of technology, business, and marketing aspects. So I decided to focus on it professionally. My love for Germany and my positive experiences during my internship abroad led me to Munich. I ended up switching to technology consulting and Publicis Sapient gave me the opportunity to develop my potential and expand my skills. It was simply a great opportunity!

What obstacles did you have to overcome?

I’ve always had the privilege of being able to rely on a supportive environment and good training. As a result, I always felt well prepared for challenges, whether in interviews or in new roles. However, it was not easy to find a company that matched my expectations precisely. I expect my employer to be committed to diversity and inclusion while offering exciting projects. I finally found what I was looking for at Publicis Sapient and to this day, I have not regretted my decision. Sometimes the self-discipline required for my job is challenging, because for technical certifications you have to teach yourself through self-study a lot. Once you’ve achieved a new certificate, you know it was worth the effort.

Are there people who have supported you professionally?

I’ve been lucky enough to have been supported by strong leaders throughout my career. Among other things, I learned from them how to organize teams in the best possible way and how to successfully drive projects forward. I recommend that everyone should network with colleagues in order to learn from each other and share experiences. That helps immensely.

It is also a personal concern of mine to integrate, empower and promote young talent.

How did your family and friends react to your new tech career?

They were a bit surprised. After all, my career path didn’t directly suggest it. Today, they are happy about the many opportunities that are opening up for me professionally. I work with inspiring people from all over the world and my prospects on the job market are more than promising. Of course, my family and friends don’t understand all the technical details when I talk about my job, and I have to explain to them what we do as consultants for the digital business transformation of companies. But in the meantime, they are enthusiastic about it.

Do you have any role models?

I don’t have any particular one role model. In the course of my career, I have repeatedly encountered people that I look up to. For example, I recently had the good fortune to work with two strong female CEOs whose commitment was inspiring for all employees. Their enthusiasm was simply contagious. It was fantastic to see how they established diverse teams and motivated them to perform at their best. There should be more of that.

Did anyone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

No, no obstacles were put in my way. As I said, I was lucky enough to always have support, whether from family, friends, or colleagues. I would like to be able to pass on these experiences of my positive career to others.

A day in Caroline’s life

I work as a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Consultant in the automotive division at Publicis Sapient, a consultancy for the digital business transformation of companies. My day usually starts around 8:30 am. The morning is usually dominated by various calls as we work closely with our colleagues in India and serve markets around the world. In the daily stand-up meetings, we coordinate and discuss our next steps. for example, in the afternoons, I focus on the product strategy for a respective customer, review the required technical advice or prepare management presentations. Every day is different, and that’s a good thing. I often learn about new features or updates through my team or do my own research on the latest Salesforce innovations and how they can benefit our customers. Some days I take training courses and certifications to keep myself up to date. So my job is extremely varied and fulfills me daily.

What are you most proud of in your career?

During my last project, I went through a huge learning curve. We started with just one customer consultant. Within two years, I eventually built up a team of 40 employees in Germany, India, and Malaysia. I had never managed a team of that size before. Of course, there were challenges, but I could rely on great colleagues who always supported me. Despite lockdown and virtual working, we developed a strong team spirit. I see it as my important task to always have the team’s back and focus on the professional development of the employees. It is also a personal concern of mine to integrate, empower and promote young talent.

Why aren’t there more women in tech? What’s your take on that?

Traditionally, women have unfortunately been seen as not particularly suited to tech careers. That’s nonsense, of course. But some of these old stereotypes still seem to persist. Especially at a young age, women are not particularly encouraged to pursue STEM subjects, but they are stereotypically more likely to pursue languages, arts, etc. Then, when they are older and decide to study, they often simply lack an overview of what the STEM field has to offer in terms of exciting roles. Fortunately, this is now changing, albeit still slowly. There are now, thankfully, numerous online webinars, boot camps, and code academies aimed specifically at a younger, female audience. This is an important step in the right direction.

Can you name a few challenges (or obstacles) that women face in the tech industry?

It is challenging in itself to find an entry point into the tech industry and especially the right employer for oneself. On top of that, there is an issue that was also discussed at the “Women In Tech” conference I attended this year. The problem is that due to gender bias and lack of diversity in hiring teams, women are often disadvantaged. Whether an employer is even considered for female talent often also depends on the regulations regarding home office, flexible working hours, parental leave, etc., depending on their life situation. For many women, it can also be a deterrent that tech teams are mostly dominated by male colleagues. We need to create psychological security to make STEM professions more attractive for women.

How would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?

At the “Women In Tech” conference, there was also a lot of discussion about the advantages of mixed-gender teams: They act more equally, build better relationships with each other, and work more successfully overall. Their decision-making process is twice as fast as that of same-sex teams. In up to 87% of cases, better decisions are also made. At the same time, company profits rise when the proportion of women increases. The figures speak for themselves and show the direction in which the world of work must develop. It is good for the economy and society when diverse and inclusive workplaces become the norm.

Find people who have been in the same situation as you. They can help you, mentor you, and guide you through your first career steps.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current discussion?

I recently attended the Out and Equal Conference, the largest annual LGBTQ+ conference. There were different responses to a similar question there. However, the general consensus was that while we are making good progress in establishing more diversity, there is still much to be done. I think the same is true for the tech industry. There are still big differences between countries in terms of the acceptance and prospects for women in STEM professions. In some regions, there is massive potential for improvement. But I expect that we will see a strong positive change in the next five years as the next generation starts their careers. Because I am convinced that, together with many colleagues involved in the debate, we will successfully drive the necessary changes.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career? What should they know about this industry?

Here’s what I would advise them: Educate yourself well about the field you’re interested in. Educate yourself in it. Take advantage of all the resources available to you, both online and offline. Join a Women in Tech network to connect with like-minded people. Find an employer that offers a “culture of support” and that you are proud to work for. Follow leading women in tech online and get a sense of the discourse. Find people who have been in the same situation as you. They can help you, mentor you, and guide you through your first career steps. Don’t let old stereotypes scare you away. Companies today are desperate for female talent in technical positions, especially since many have included a quota for women in their OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Apply where you, as a person, and your skills are truly valued. Always stay on the ball and keep up to date with the latest technological developments. And last but not least, look for an employer who offers you good training opportunities.

More Women in Tech:

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Jean Kiltz works as an editor at S&S Media since March 2020. He studied History at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz

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