ZEOs Embrace Equity through Innovation and Technology

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and kickoff Women’s History Month, we’re leaning into how collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity and build a world where difference is valued and celebrated.

We all have a role to play in creating a world that is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. As women in tech, we also know that innovation and technology has the power to create a more equal “DigitALL” world.

As part of our series this month, we’re fueling conversations around these very topics and some incredible stories have already started to emerge. Check out the personal stories of how some of our ZEOs are leveraging innovation and technology to impact their lives and help create more equity for those around them!

 

Prachi Bhatia

Platform Product Manager, Product Team, Chennai 

“Does technology have gendered patterns? Maybe, maybe not. But the confidence that comes with innovation and technology is certainly not gendered.”

The fact is, technology is shaped and structured according to social norms. Historically, in India, the unequal power relationship between men and women is reflective in digital innovation even. When I was growing up, the introduction to internet and internet cafes was a revolution. The internet cafe was a hub for students and young professionals to learn and enhance skills. Unfortunately, this paradigm change was influenced by gender. The visits to internet cafes were taboo for girls and otherwise for boys. The silver lining here were the rebellious girls like me who would rather break the norms than to miss the online knowledge. Technology was a game changer for me then. I started my career in the retail industry, got married and landed in a foreign land with a job in the education sector. I moved back to India and landed myself professionally in the Information technology sector. Now when I look back, the one thing common to all the events was learning and adopting technology. So, I still do not have an answer whether technology has gendered patterns but the confidence that comes with innovation and technology is certainly not gendered.

 

Heather Loeper

Strategic Account Executive, North America Strategic Sales Team, Remote – Texas

“Technology has created more opportunities for mentorship and platforms that help eliminate barriers for building relationships that arise from geography and time constraints or biases related to age, gender, race, and socio-economic status.”

I currently volunteer as an iCouldBe on-line mentor where I collaborate to help high school girls develop critical networking skills, to develop self-efficacy, academic and career skills, and to grow their webs of support to achieve their full potential. iCouldBe developed an innovative technology-based program model and structured evidence-based curriculum through an online e-mentoring platform that helps eliminate barriers for building relationships that arise from geography and time constraints or biases related to age, gender, race, and socio-economic status. Their program has reached 24,100+ mentees in under-resourced schools where systemic inequities often prevent students from reaching their full potential.

 

Sumithra Sudersanam

Sr Machine Learning Engineer, Strategy & Ops – Data Science Team, Chennai

“Technology took me from the small village I grew up in, to multiple countries across the world where I compete with men and have the opportunity to support other women to do the same.”

I am from a very small village in Erode Tamil Nadu and I dreamed of seeing Chennai but never saw it’s beautiful beaches until I was 20.

I received my Computer Science degree in the same college where my dad was a professor, and graduated as a topper. After my B.Sc, as a normal practice, I applied for MCA/MSc in and around colleges. I didn’t have any idea of what I would become at that time. During the holidays, I tried applying for the post of NIIT tutor and while I was offered the position the salary wasn’t what I wanted. Furthermore, my confusion about my future and curiosity about Chennai and didn’t allow me to take up the NIIT tutor profession. The next day, I saw a very small advertisement from a new eCommerce company in Chennai, inviting B.Sc graduates. I applied immediately and was called for an interview. My dad and I traveled to Chennai and I was so excited to see the tall buildings and the Marina Beach. After a couple of rounds of interviews in Java, I was selected and the salary was more than double the tutor position. In parallel, I did my MCA in distance education and graduated.

The technology I learned at that age, brought me to Chennai and the same technology took me to multiple countries across the world. Even after 23 years of experience, I have the same curiosity to learn new technologies and explore much more. Now I’m competing with men with very high confidence and power of technology. And it doesn’t stop with me as I have groomed many women and made them techie too.

 

Jeyashree Sivasankaran

Solution Architect, Global Services, Chennai

“Technology has enabled us to connect and empower people with the tools and information they need to create more equal opportunity in their lives.”

As a woman in the tech sector, creating equality across underrepresented populations is incredibly important to me. I’ve conducted workshops for young girls in rural areas to empower and educate them about the opportunities available to them. But I’m also really passionate about empowering people with disabilities and supporting them to live with dignity and more equity across several different aspects of their life. For example, I volunteer as a scribe for many foundations for visually impaired students of varying levels and assist them in writing their exams by reading texts and digitizing texts into audio format. During the pandemic, exams need to be submitted online, I assisted them on mobile calls though outreach programs. I even volunteered at the Tamilnadu visually challenged sports association for Volleyball. There are so many opportunities to create an equitable world for all.

Thank you to our ZEOs for sharing their stories and for their impact and in and outside of Zuora.


To learn more about what it’s like to work at Zuora, head on over to our career site.

 

 

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