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Best part of bringing women into tech is the skillset we bring to the table, says Mansi Thapar, Global Cyber Security Head for a large manufacturing company

I had a flare for writing and was good at developing content, so I was hired by a software company as a technical writer. This is how my journey started in technology

When asked if she could share a little bit about what it is that she does and what a typical day for her is like, Mansi Thapar, Global Cyber Security Head for a large manufacturing company, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, “I am currently heading Global Cyber Security for one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturing companies and am happily married with one daughter.”

My typical day is mainly divided into four parts. 20% is with family and friends, 10% for myself and the rest of 70% is mainly work and learning new things.

I firmly believe that learning new skills, spending quality time with family, and giving your best to your work are what need to be on my agenda for the day.

When asked if she always knew that working in technology was what she wanted to do, she said, “No, in fact, I never thought it would happen.” Born and brought up in an open-minded Punjabi business family, I always thought I would be a business woman. I had a flare for writing and was good at developing content, so I was hired by a software company as a technical writer. This is how my journey started in technology. I am very proud of myself for progressing from technical writer to coder to project manager at the age of 25. Then I worked in other IT/manufacturing companies and grew from positions such as PM/technical PMO/Release manager to IT head to a CISO.

I took what came my way and kept on learning new skills, which helped me shape up my career.

When asked if she has ever felt that gender has affected the way she was perceived or treated and how she handled the situation, she said, “If you want to be a leader, you need to convert problems into opportunities.” This is how I think I managed the gender problem. I still feel it many times when I am the only female in a room of 100 CIO/CISO friends or in a senior meeting. My staying up late at night or being aggressive was sometimes perceived in a negative way. But I took it with a pinch of salt. You can’t make everyone happy. Just focus on your goal and things will fall into place. Never complain that you are treated differently because you are a woman. I always tell my team to bring a chair to the room if it is not available for you. So coming back to the question, I managed the situation with positivity, not losing focus and also having men as mentors.

When asked about the best part of being a woman in the tech industry, she said that men and women both bring different skills to the table, which are important for any organisation to grow. Hence, the best part of bringing women into tech is the skillset we bring to the table.

When asked if she notices a lack of women in technology and, if so, why she thinks that’s the case, she said, “Yes, there is a lot of lack, especially as we move up the ladder.” We see many females in middle management, but most of them quit or stay in their comfort zone due to family obligations or personal reasons. My advice to them is to always ask for help from family, from bosses during this period. You will be amazed at how things turn out. Also, keep on learning; never stop that and be risk-taking.

When asked about her advice she would give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry and what she wishes she had known, she said, I would tell her you are the queen and millions of options are available for you in tech. Tech is not only coding, it has many flavours to it. So explore, learn and be awesome. I wish I had known in my early days that I had so much potential. I was a shy, under-confident, introvert who worked hard on herself and reached where I am today with the help of my family, friends and mentors.

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CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics

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