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By Naomi D’Souza (5 min read)
Ever since school, my dream has always been to work in design, strategy, and digital. At 23, I got the opportunity to join IBM whilst I was still pursuing my Masters in Mechanical Engineering. It has been over two and a half years now, and I am thankful to IBM for making my dream come true.
As a Digital Strategy Consultant, I’ve been exposed to some of the most exciting fields whilst being part of the Consulting by Degrees (CbD) program. My first project was at a healthcare sector where I was a marketing strategist; on the second one I became a business analyst at an aluminum company; the third, I was a customer experience (C/X) strategist which is my dream role; followed by being an instructional designer to a graphic designer, my second dream designation. I can definitely say that being a consultant teaches you multiple skills, as it pushes you out of your comfort zone and teaches you how to deal with different personalities, only to make you a better consultant and, more importantly, a very empathizing human being.
Women in tech roles definitely have their fair share of highs and lows depending on the client they work for. However, I can definitely say having an impactful and motivational male mentor changed the game for me entirely. Shout out to Jason MacLeod, (whom I worked with on one of my projects) who, whenever I hid into my cocoon or spoke less would make me lead, and whenever I thought I didn’t have the skills or capabilities to do something, would make me present. He’s taught me that hierarchy, age, and gender are the last things when you have the skill. He’s definitely taught me so much this past year and has always empowered the women around him.
““I can proudly say some of my most important milestones were achieved at IBM!””
Working on My Passion and Becoming One of the Top Influencers in the Middle East
Whilst working at IBM, I also ran my own food and lifestyle blog. Being both a consultant and a blogger taught me a lot and shaped me to become a better professional and in 2017 and 2018, I was recognized as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Asians and Influencers in the United Arab Emirates by various publications.
Being able to work my passion alongside my day job allowed me to learn and truly understand what ‘work-life’ integration is all about — I even wrote a blog on the same topic that was published on IBM’s global internal site.
Using My Voice to Inspire Women
As a proud IBMer and blogger, I will continue to use my voice to motivate my colleagues, friends, and followers to speak up when they have to and gain the skills and expertise required for the current market environment. I aim to always choose the more difficult path, as this is where one can learn more, and I encourage each of you to do the same. Knowledge and talent will help us understand our value, and learning will help us to continuously reinvent ourselves and remain relevant to the market, thereby driving personal success.
Lovely ladies, my advice to you is to always keep learning, and never give up. Sometimes we need to research or put in much more effort than our male peers in order to stay ahead of the game or ‘prove’ ourselves, but believe me, it’s worth it! This will not only in turn expand our knowledge, but even help us create better strategies and widen our horizon for growth.
About the Author
Naomi D’Souza is a digital strategy consultant by profession, and a blogger by passion. At the age of 25, she has her MSc in Mechanical Engineering, works as a Digital Strategy Consultant revolving around CX and UX, with some of the most reputable leading organizations in the UAE. She is a TEDx Speaker and has been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Asians and Influencers in UAE.