Responsible for ensuring sectorial growth for technology and innovation in Malta, Dana has established herself as a leader and innovative thinker in an often male-dominated environment, proving that gender is no barrier to success.
Tell us about who you are, your leadership style and philosophy?
My leadership style revolves around inclusion, being a catalyst for change and a target driven achiever. My philosophy is about creating a strong team to ensure seamless operational activity. I remind everyone including myself that nobody is indispensable, and leaders should ensure a healthy running of their organization independently of internal and external factors that might impact the organization. This way of operating is all about agility and swift adaptation to change.
As a leader in your business, how do you set the tone for the team?
I like to work together with my team and not order them around. I spend a fair amount of time coaching and mentoring the team and equally enough time to train them to do their job. In this way I am very clear of what the expectations are and the team is fully aware as to what levels of service I am expecting to be delivered. It is important that everyone understands the culture of an organization to fit in, otherwise output is impacted negatively.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve the success they want in their workplaces, especially in male-dominated roles or industries?
Your success at the workplace or anywhere else depends solely on you. If you want something keep working towards your goal, keep improving yourself and keep finding ways to get closer to your objectives.
What is Tech.mt doing to encourage more girls to consider a career in Tech?
If globally we are acknowledging that a huge percentage of future jobs will be related to the digital economy, then change needs to be reflected in our education and fast. Streaming is an important factor if the country is to identify the human resources that would excel in STEM. It might be time to consider STEM specialized secondary schools, where students performing best at mathematics at primary level are streamed and enrolled in STEM focused clusters. In this way, female high-fliers in STEM subjects are further encouraged to belong in technology and make it a natural habitat for them. Malta has the right educational system and technical infrastructure to provide every opportunity for females to reap the benefits that the digital world can offer. Technology puts forward multiple possibilities for a person to evolve and succeed both from a career perspective and from a personal perspective. The question lies as to whether we are maximizing our potential as a country when it comes to female participation in the digital world. The crucial question of whether it is a conscious choice to choose another type of career for themselves.
Tech.mt is tackling this in multiple ways one being by working with educational institutions to encourage more take up of STEM subjects by girls and females at primary and secondary level of education. Tech.mt actively promotes STEM subjects and activities related to STEM in order to engage young girls and motivate them to consider these topics.
Tech.mt is also responsible for the Women4IT project, which aims at developing the digital competences and thereby, the employability of young women as well as to provide innovative solutions to increase the number of young women in ICT careers and women participating in the digital economy. A good match between the skills demanded by the labour market and those acquired in training is important for promoting strong and inclusive growth for women. Studies show that female human capital accumulation has a considerable impact on technology adoption, innovation and economic growth and although women are beginning to achieve gender equality and close the gender gap in IT by developing digital fluency, they still remain underrepresented in the workforce in many developed countries. Thus, helping women to access the skills they need to be successful can improve gender equality, promote inclusive growth and affect positively productivity, while also improve the efficiency of human capital allocation. This project is now in an advanced stage and training is envisaged to commence in the coming months. Through a tender, Tech.mt is currently seeking proposals for the delivery of innovative training solutions aimed at preparing the target group of young women for employment in one of five pre-designed job roles.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
There is always a way – find it. This piece of advice has always driven me to find solutions in every situation, however difficult the situation may be.
What lesson/story can you share from your experiences that is unique to being a woman?
You will find that there is a lot of resilience in you as long as you do not give up. There will always be someone who disagrees with you, who might attack you every time you speak, who might dislike you as a person or who might simply not take your presence for no valid reason. Women are softer by nature but historically harsher amongst themselves and many argue that a woman’s worst enemy is their same gender. What really makes a woman unique is her empowering other women to reach their full potential.
How do you engage with and empower others?
One of my continuous personal goals is to help others improve and develop themselves into a better version. This requires a lot of empathy and trust. I try to nurture open communication within the team and allow for constructive criticism that leads to tangible deliverables. I would like for my team to look back on the time spent at Tech.mt as being a transformative journey, one that led them to positive venues in their lives.
What energises you about work?
Technology is a very dynamic and fast paced environment keeping us on the ball and certainly forbidding us to get bored. No year is like another as new technologies constantly emerge and consumers are putting new pressures through trends that did not exist before.
What strategies are you focusing on to help women advance in the Tech world?
Digital technologies are proving to be pivotal for female empowerment and participation in the labor market by bypassing cultural and mobility barriers. Reflecting on the effect of technology as an enabler to more female participation in our economy, we delve into a realm of possibilities which we might or might not be tapping into as a country. In celebration of Women’s Day, we applaud all women around the world and all the other human beings who travel side by side to them in this curious journey called life. One might argue that the evolution of one’s journey has become a blend between having a physical and a digital identity, with younger generations having a stronger digital presence than other generations.
What are the traits of leaders you admire?
I admire mostly inspirational leaders, those leaders who convey life lessons and not just textbook practices.
Where are you going for your first vacation once the travel bans are lifted?
I think the first country would be Italy, anywhere in Italy. I miss the culture, the food, the beautiful landscape & architecture.