Telcos’ ‘power women’ share success secrets

By Victor Anthony V. Silva |September 12,2016 - 10:47 PM
Gina Nomellini, chief finance officer of GTT (4th from left) and Natalia Ellis, chief finance officer of Speedflow Communications LTD (5th from left) are among the top women executives-panelists in the Hottalk forum at the Movenpick Hotel Cebu (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Gina Nomellini, chief finance officer of GTT (4th from left) and Natalia Ellis, chief finance officer of Speedflow Communications LTD (5th from left) are among the top women executives-panelists in the Hottalk forum at the Movenpick Hotel Cebu (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)


How women can survive, grow in male-dominated industries

Walk past the road blocks and don’t let it stop you.”

Gina Nomellini, chief finance officer of GTT, gave this advice to women who would want to grow in the male-dominated workplace or industry.

Nomellini also said that professional women should make it a point to also mentor the younger ones in their organizations and teach them what they know.

“Take them under your wing. Do not compete against each other. Help each other. Lift each other up,” she said during an all-female panel discussion called Hottalk during the Asian Carriers Conference 2016 held at the Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu on Wednesday.

Nomellini was among the top female executives of international telecommunications companies, who shared their insights in the forum on how to empower more women in the workplace and to become leaders.

Despite efforts to level the playing field between men and women in all aspects, the latter still greatly experience discrimination in the workplace today.

Nomellini said that early on, she was told by a “gentleman” in her career that “no woman will ever be taken seriously in international business.”

“(He told me) that he was taking over the function I was running because it would be impossible for me to be successful,” she said.

But with a lot of effort, she said she was able to prove him wrong.

Most, if not all, women have experienced road blocks that prevented them from getting growth opportunities in the workplace but Nomellini encouraged them to “walk past it” and “don’t let anyone stop you.”

Education

For Mai Linh Giang, deputy managing director of VPNT, education is very important for women to grow in the workplace.

“Keep on learning and trying,” she said.

Linh Giang added that the mindset in the workplace should also change, emphasizing the need to look beyond gender or age or race and to focus more on performances and contributions to the organization.

Nomellini said that there was no big secret on how to get ahead as a woman in the business.

“I don’t work as a woman. I work as a contributing member of society and as a leader,” she said.

For Linh Giang, what matters at the end of the day would be the outcome of a woman’s work in her organization.

Sam Excell, international account manager for Spark NZ, said the end goal is the same for everyone and that “we all want to get where we want to be.”

Edge in business

Natalia Ellis, chief finance officer of Speedflow Communications LTD, said women have an edge in business because they bring family values to the organization and have an “internal opinion.”

Chaye Cabal-Revilla of PLDT, on the other hand, said women have to be “extraordinarily great” to thrive in business but she said only women can combine IQ and EQ (intelligence quotient and emotional quotient) together.

“Women are usually more insightful. We can look at both technology and people. We also provide a soft touch to business,” she added.

Include men

Isabelle Paradis, president and founder of Hot Telecom, said women don’t have to be like men to become successful in the workplace and that they can use their innate characteristics to their advantage.

Nonetheless, Paradis said it is also important to include men in discussions to end inequality in the workplace as well as empower more women in the telecom industry.

According to the United Nations, women’s economic equality is good for business.

“Companies greatly benefit from increasing leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organizational effectiveness,” UN Women said in a report.

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