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Blazing Trails

MicheoBAEGisselle Micheo of BAE Systems shares her perspective on women and careers in technology.

The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu is a nonprofit organization helping women to succeed in cyber security. The society says that while 50 percent of jobs in all occupations are held by women – including 25 percent in computing occupations – the percentage drops to just 11 in the information security field. Clearly, there is room for growth.

Gisselle Micheo joined BAE Systems in 2015 as the vice president of the Business Solutions Group (BSG) for the Americas. With more than 20 years of experience in the financial and technology sectors, Gisselle plays a key role in the development of industry thought leadership efforts in the areas of Financial Crime, Cyber Crime, Managed Security Services and Managed Application Services. She is passionate about her profession but equally fervent about helping women succeed in this business.

We recently asked Gisselle to share some thoughts on career advice for women in information services. Following are some key takeaways from the interview:

 

Q: During your career, who were the people you felt mentored you in the most positive ways? What was it about them and their approach that helped you to succeed?

A: I have been mentored by several key individuals both men and women who have made an impact on my leadership style and career all together. I have seen women in all different settings during my tenure and I always look to set an example of professionalism through diversity and inclusion. The women in my circle have influenced me through their success and ability to maintain or remember where they began while mentoring others.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman executive in a business traditionally led by men?

A: The biggest challenges I have faced have been of inclusion based on my gender as well as my ethnic background. Balancing graciousness and assertiveness is important. My background and work experience is solid but, even today as a leader in my space I find myself having to push just a little further or having to be just a little more aggressive than my male counterparts. These characteristics are not only my drivers but also, truly a part of my DNA. It cannot be changed, but instead enhanced based on my own determination and will to succeed.

Q: What advice do you have for young women entering today’s workforce?

A: Some core beliefs or traits I hold dear include honesty, integrity and a passion for more. I strongly believe you should always plan for success through positive influences in the work place and personal setting. Young women today must focus their energy on nurturing and applying their knowledge, as well as collaborating.

Q: Do you think young women today value or take for granted the gains made by the women executives of your generation?

A: I believe some young women may not fully understand what many professional women have had to endure to be successful in a male dominated environment. It takes tenacity and endurance, which are learned experiences.

Q: In this decade we have seen women elevated to the CEO positions of major corporations like GM, HP and others – but they are still exceptions to the rule. Do you think this will still be the case in 10 or 20 years?

A: Improving business through diversity and inclusion efforts is within our reach as professional women. However, we have a long road ahead to break away from historical patterns in the workforce. Women are equally capable of achieving success in a leadership position within the technology industry. We are strong, educated, collaborative and purposeful. Even with the facts and examples all around us, statistics from different sources around the world indicate women will not achieve parity with men in top executive business positions in the foreseeable future. The challenge remains to shift the curve in terms of equality on all fronts not to mention a woman’s ability to continue to push ahead with a forward thinking approach.

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