Interview: Susan Bowen, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA

Why did you join the technology industry?

I was always interested in technology. I used to spend time with my Dad programming Froger onto our Amstrad Computer – hours of time spent copying code from magazines. The “GO TO” command will be forever etched in my mind. But honestly, I just really enjoyed the logic of it all.

Also, I have met her a few times and she will likely cringe with me saying this, but Maggie Philbin! I loved Tomorrow’s World and everything about it. Actually, I think my dream job would be to be a presenter on today’s Tomorrow’s World!

Who is the person who has inspired you professionally?

I have had the absolute pleasure to work with some amazing leaders. Meg Whitman (CEO Hewlett Packard Enterprise) is truly inspirational. Her stamina and work ethics are first class.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 13 year old self what would it be?

It’s ok to come second! I used to swim competitively at that age and I used to go training before and after school. It was highly competitive and I used to get so upset if I didn’t come first. Over the years I have learnt on a personal level it is ok and the added pressure you can put yourself under can sometimes make it harder to achieve. (Hindsight is such a valuable thing!)

How do you think we can encourage more women in tech? How do we encourage more women to consider STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers?

I believe we have to showcase our role models. There are so many females in tech (myself included) who feel that to “say something” makes us somehow a feminist. I have learnt over the years that this is not the case and that I am not a feminist just a female who happens to believe that we should make our industry and other STEM industries attractive to a more diverse group – otherwise it will never change.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is the variety of it. I love that our technology products enable so many different things; from MUSIC recognition applications (SHAZAM) to banking payments (Racing Post) to raising money for charity (Children in Need). It’s no longer money that makes the world go round, its technology!