We interviewed Debbie Love, Head of Project Management at Visa on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
I lead a team of Project and Program Managers, as well as the project and program delivery within the core Technology division of Visa in Europe. The role includes future demand planning, stakeholder management, reporting and driving the end-to-end delivery.
When I first started out, I didn’t consciously choose a career in technology. However, I have always been passionate about Maths and problem solving, and it was clear early on that technology was the natural fit for me.
I attended college for a HND in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, and during the second year, I was able to focus on either electrical or mechanical engineering. The majority of my peers went to Mechanical Engineering.
I joined the Armed Forces at age 17 as a Systems Technician and was given the opportunity to complete my 2nd year of the HND focussed on Electrical Engineering. I also completed several other trade and technical related courses.
Yes most definitely, at all levels.
It’s important that we change perceptions by not pigeon holing technology… lots of skills not just qualifications can be used in a number of roles that technology encompasses. I never really understood what would be a ‘technology related course’ outside of an obvious one such as Computer Science. Technology and therefore technology roles come in all different shapes and sizes and as such, the organisation structure shouldn’t need to dictate.
Well, there are very few role models across the technology sector unlike in other professions where we thankfully see women rising faster nowadays. The ability to progress in this environment is therefore not obvious or easy and furthermore it doesn’t currently lend itself to addressing the softer skills and more social side. The external perception is that we deal with hardware or software, not people, innovation or the business strategy. It’s hugely satisfying to be at the forefront of new innovation especially for a world-class brand like Visa and therefore it’s the strength of our technology products being foundational to the success of our innovative products which makes me feel truly connected to the business.
At Visa, I have been given the opportunity to enrich my skills within all of my roles. Visa has encouraged my professional development and really champions internal mobility, so although I have been working for Visa for many years, I have embraced the many opportunities for growth and movement to allow me to evolve both as a technology professional, as a manager and ultimately a leader.
I am an avid supporter of learning and development from a technology and business perspective, encouraging my team to make time to focus on this for themselves…. which takes me to now, where I am proud to be part of the Visa Leadership Accelerator Program. Who knows what could be next for me, I’m excited by that!
A career in tech should be considered by experienced professionals just as much as young people starting out in their careers. The tech environments often offer greater flexibility and is therefore able to accommodate for women at varying stages of their lives. Doing more to communicate the technology story, sharing the diversity of roles, plus looking at sponsorships will help to make it more accessible, AND for it to be seen as a long term career path.