Introducing Smoothwall’s Women in Tech Series: Saeqa Gazi
Saeqa Gazi - International Sales Manager
Are you aware that women currently make up just 17% of employees in the UK tech sector? As part of our Tech Inclusion Programme we want to address this gender disparity, encourage more females to consider a role in technology and celebrate the female role models here at Smoothwall. Which is why we’re launching a series of interviews with our own women working in tech.
#1 Tell us a little bit about yourself, including your current role and what you like to do in your spare time Hi, my name’s Saeqa Gazi – I’m the International Sales Manager here at Smoothwall. I’ve been with Smoothwall since 2014 and I absolutely love being part of the company. In my role, I work with our distributors and partners around the world, supporting them with new opportunities, and also managing our current and new customers based in all the different countries! My work day and timetable varies as I work with lots of different time zones. But it keeps things exciting! In my spare time I run an e-florist business with my other half – that also involves technology, from website design to social media, it’s a brilliant feeling seeing your ideas come to life.
#2 Briefly explain your career to date, including any pivotal moments along the way I started my career at Smoothwall as a graduate in a new business sales role. I was essentially supporting the team by fielding new opportunities in Healthcare and Education. The following year I progressed into a Channel Relations role which again was something completely new to me. I’ve now progressed to becoming the sole International Sales Manager. The last few years feel like a blur, I’ve grown in so many ways – there’s been some amazing moments, and I’ve learned so much about tech and business!
#3 Did you always know that you would work in technology? I didn’t really think I would end up in Technology – I studied English Literature and Theatre Studies at University. I always knew I wanted to do something which was ‘people focused’ where I would be able to meet lots of new people, where I would be able to use my writing, communication and relationships focused skills. I didn’t think the technology world could offer me that. I just saw the tech industry having tech roles, and being based in an office behind a screen. I didn’t realise how many different roles there are in the industry! I came for an interview at Smoothwall after a recruiter suggested I look into the company. When I was offered a role, I was so excited to find out more about the technology the company offered and how I could be a part of it. Since then I’ve never looked back – it was one of my best decisions and my role allows me to use all my transferable skills and strengths along with learning about something new along the way to keep my mind challenged!
#4 Women make up only 17% of all tech jobs in the UK, what’s your opinion on this? It’s really sad to see that this is still the case in 2018 – it’s so important that all workplaces have diversity and equality in the workforce. Women have so much to offer in the tech world and I wish more tech companies did more to show that women do belong in this industry and in their companies. There’s boundless data showing how diverse teams make better decisions – as Sheryl Sandberg says, women should ‘lean in’ and go and grasp the opportunities in tech that are out there. Being a woman shouldn’t be a barrier, is not a weakness, it’s our strength!
#5 Who inspires you and why? The confident women I work with – I’m lucky I have them around me to support and inspire me every day. I see them all breaking the glass ceiling, supporting one another, and striving to be the best they can be! I also recently having been following Jessica Alba’s journey - from awarding winning actress to becoming a business mogul. It’s incredible to read about her brave decisions, being a business woman is hard, it does feel like man’s world at times – so being able to break away from what you know to something new must be so scary! The fact that she’s a mother of 3 and at the same time has started her own business which now turns over millions of pounds, and fills a gap in the market by offering ethical products is amazing.
#6 How do you strike your own work / life balance? Prioritising is key – looking after yourself is so important, if you’re not happy, well rested, healthy and enjoying the life you live, it will reflect in your career.
#7 What career advice would you give a young person who wanted to join the IT profession? Just do it, get involved, be confident, be dynamic – make your voice heard, if you have something to offer to a company then let them know. Tech companies are always on the lookout for talented individuals with diverse skills. Whether that be for the development, solutions, sales, or marketing team.
For more information on Smoothwall's Tech Inclusion Programme, click here. Please comment below with any questions.