Connecting, inspiring and empowering women to lead the way

Natalia Melniciuc, PhD - IT Mediation Manager at Orange

27 Nov 2020 17:05 | Anonymous

Interviewed by Alison Oates

Meet our Talent Natalia Melniciuc, an IT Mediation Manager for Orange Moldova, and a member of the WIL Talent Programme 5th Edition. In this interview, we discuss how inclusivity in the IT sector has improved in recent years, as well as the impact that being part of different women-led professional communities has had on her perspectives.

You are currently an IT Mediation Manager at Orange. What does your job entail and what do you enjoy most about it?

In my current role I lead a team of IT experts, providing IT services in implementation Telco Mediation solutions for our international clients in Belgium, Luxembourg and Moldova. I am responsible for ensuring productive collaboration between the clients and the teams, as well as organising internal delivery processes and driving continuous improvement activities.

I am always on the lookout for new projects that can take my team to another level. This is what I enjoy most about my job: driving growth, taking on new responsibilities and developing new skills and team maturity.  As a leader, I am always focused on both processes and people. I really love when team members proactively bring new ideas, and I always ensure that we have a safe environment for people to give and receive feedback. Trust, openness, and mutual respect are key to the success of our team. This helped us to transform in a strong Competence Centre of Mediation domain during the last years.

“As a leader, I am always focused
on processes and people”

Prior to this experience you studied for a PhD analysing the economic impact of the IT sector in Moldova. How has this study helped you in your different roles?

Studying a PhD, for me, required maximum levels of self-discipline and concentration because I was working full-time alongside my degree. I spent long hours researching and investigating, which helped boost the analytical skills I still use today.

Throughout my PhD, I was analyzing the relationship between different sectors and trying to understand the impact of IT over Economics. I used this knowledge in my subsequent job roles, where I had to reveal non-obvious dependencies between different disciplines and create bigger picture over the topic. For me, my PhD was a marathon. It taught me to be patient and consistent, and I consider it to be one of my biggest personal achievements.

The IT sector remains a very male-dominated field today. What have been your experiences as a woman working in this sector and what can be done to make the IT sector more inclusive to women?

I have dedicated my entire professional career, more than 15 years, to the IT sector; thus I have seen considerable progress being made for women in this field. When I started in the sector, IT was not promoted to women, and as a result women rarely chose this area for their careers. I can think of a very clear example of discriminatory attitudes towards women in my own personal experience: one of my male teachers once began his lesson saying, “Today I will solve problems with the boys, and the girls can do anything else they want, but quietly!”

Years later, at the 2018 Summit for Women in Technology, the Head of IT solutions for Siemens (Germany) gave her inspirational speech with a story similar to mine. I was blown away, and for the first I realised that this story did not have a geographical component but instead represented a global, deep-rooted issue in our society.

Today, more and more women are choosing IT and we are fortunate to have many different events, conferences and webinars, aimed at promoting inclusion and diversity in the IT sector.  However, men still need to work harder by promoting and accepting women in senior positions. It is time for them to accept, support and promote women. The idea of diversity and talents despite the gender in our society is actual than ever before.

“It is time for society to accept,
support, and promote women.”

2020 has been a year of unprecedented turmoil and change. How can the IT sector better meet our needs both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic?

The pandemic has launched a new era for IT.  The speed of the economy already required fast IT development; however, COVID-19 has accelerated this need even more. The IT sector has to be dynamic since it is a partner for many other economic sectors. For example, IT provides online tools and digital services which enable the economy to adapt to our new reality. Everything we are seeing at the moment – with recent developments such as working from home, online entertainment services, online health, and education activities - requires integration between IT and other sectors..

These changes have placed a great deal of pressure on IT companies. This is not only because of the demand COVID-19 has brought, but also because there are increasing questions regarding security, privacy, and agility.

I feel that IT should reinvent itself quickly. This reinvention applies not only to technologies, but also to the people who work and develop IT. People have to be ready to adapt to the changes we have seen in 2020, and be more open and agile.

“People have to be ready to adapt
to the changes we’ve seen in 2020,
and be more open and agile.”

You are a strong advocate for personal and professional development and have taken part in different management and talent programmes, including WIL Talent Pool Programme 5th Edition. What attracts you to such programmes and what have you learned from being in WIL’s WTP?

What I love most about these programmes, other than gaining knowledge, is that you meet people you would never usually meet in your day-to-day life.  These people often have a similar energy and a hunger to grow, and I have found that networking in this way often has a long-lasting impact, which for me is a great achievement. WTP, in particular, is a great community of women who are willing to share their experiences without competition (as is often the case with male-dominated spaces); it is an opportunity to expand your perspective and way of thinking.

As well as your extensive work in IT Mediation Management, you seem to enjoy working in international environments. What have you gained from working with different nationalities and what has been the biggest challenge?

Working with different nationalities is about tolerance and the ability to accept different views. When we work with people of different backgrounds, we all bring diverse approaches. This is both a great advantage, and a substantial challenge. However, working in these environments in incredibly beneficial; it encourages continuous self-development, always retaining a “beginner’s mind”, the ability to listen, to accept and strong communication skills.

We usually finish our interview with a question from the Proust questionnaire. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement would have to be gaining understanding of key life principles, which for me are the following:

Happiness is a process and not a result. Focus on the process and doing what makes you happy and the result will come.

There are times for action and times for patience, and you should be grateful for both.

Human relationships are always the most important aspect.

Happiness is a process and not a result…
There are times for action 
and times for patience.”

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