Guest blog by Agi Marx, MarxContentMarketing
The fifth edition of #wetechtogether, the largest conference for diversity and inclusion in tech in Switzerland, took place this past weekend (29/30 September 2023). The event was, as usual, packed with golden nuggets of keynote speeches with career advice, inspirational workshops and networking opportunities. Plus, essential for early Saturday mornings – great coffee.
This year, there were not one but two keynote speakers: Siwan Lu, Tech Leader (Group Head of Business Development and Capabilities) at Zurich Insurance and Kim Fuchs, Team Lead of Transport IT at Migros.
Siwan Lu – The Moments That Shape Us
Siwan shared her remarkable career journey, including the pivotal decisions that have shaped her career to date. She highlighted the pressing need for change to reach diversity and inclusion in today’s tech landscape.
Throughout her life, Siwan has experienced a lot of moves, both geographically and career-wise. Surprisingly, although she is a leader in a major insurance corporation, she is also a certified yoga teacher. Thus, she knows the importance of taking care of yourself during the stresses and tribulations of life.
Previously, Siwan found it challenging to know how best to share her energy and purpose with others in her leadership roles. She says she has since become “a better person” in working with others and how to inspire others for the future.
Her advice to our audience is to “choose your path wisely; it’s your responsibility. We are privileged to do this; we can forge a path for those less fortunate in other countries.”
She leaves us with five valuable pieces of advice:
- Keep an open mind. What you know is only about 5%; business is not black and white. Take your time to find the right answer; it’s usually in the “grey area”, which is not always apparent. Find the patience to stay “grey” longer.
- Adopt a global mindset. Tech has no boundaries. To learn more and develop yourself professionally, say yes to living in more countries and experiencing different cultures. This ultimately contributes to helping tech scale globally.
- Believe in yourself. Sure, it’s a cliche. Some people believe in you, and some don’t. Therefore, you have to be your own best supporter.
- Have a great support system. Be intentional with who your support system is; it could be a mentor, peer, or partner. They give unconditional trust and pinpoint your blind spots when you’re facing tough decision-making moments.
- Take life a bit less seriously! Your career takes a lot of hard work; find the joy in life and enjoy the good times. Find a partner who will be your champion and who is there to support you throughout the career changes and potential moves.
Kim Fuchs – Learning every day
Our second keynote speaker, Kim Fuchs, began her career at Migros as a trainee and now leads a team of seven at age 26. She is currently also taking a MAS in psychology.
She asks, “Why do we still discuss diversity and inclusion in IT?” A good question, indeed.
Kim describes her learning path and how she wasn’t sure about working in IT initially. Kim quickly realised it was “not just about solving printer problems”. Since IT is a male-dominated field, being in her first management position, she questioned her role as a leader, wondering if she was ready for the challenge and if her team would accept her as their leader, having been one of their peers.
What ultimately helped her was the support of her manager, who gave her the confidence to learn and make her own decisions. She has since learned how to unite individuals to form a true team.
Her key learnings are to:
- Find something that makes you proud and motivates you every day.
- Be curious.
- Find people who support you and who you can trust. Without trust, you won’t achieve your goals.
- Move out of your comfort zone (to the place of learning).
Her last words are that instead of thinking about diversity and inclusion – just live it every day. Be the change we need.
Find out more about the #wetechtoger conference and check out the pictures of this year’s conference: