Brittany Benson: Thank you for joining and sharing a few minutes of your day with me, Gaelle! Could you share a little bit of detail about your role at Sage, and how you got involved in the world of technology?
Gaelle Bourven: I joined Sage four years ago, and I'm currently the VP of Engineering for Sage X3 in the global organisation. Technology has always been a passion for me. I remember I wrote my first programme when I was 10 years old. It was on a French computer, and they don't exist anymore because they were not competitive. My major in school was on materials engineering, not really related to computer science, but it was my passion. That's where I found my first job.
Brittany: You’re so hands-on with the product and the innovation behind Sage X3. That's a deeply impactful position to be in. What type of impact do you hope to have in this role?
Gaelle Bourven: I’m in a space where there are not many women. It's important for me to be a role model for young women. If I want to name just one impact, that's the one I want to have fully. Today, the leadership standards are male-oriented, such as working long hours in a very competitive world. Hopefully I can show that being a good leader is about embedding values and driving the team, being aligned with the strategy of the company by being different, by creating more collaboration, and by raising my hand when I need help.
Brittany: You mentioned that it is a very male dominated field. I think just by nature of being a woman in an engineering role, there are going to be other women, not just in engineering but also within the company that look up to you. Being in a leadership position yourself, what are some key traits that you think others should possess to be a good leader?
Gaelle Bourven: A key trait would be to amplify – being able to look beyond and listen beyond what is said and amplify those voices.
Brittany: Very well said. I think listening, especially at Sage, goes very much hand in hand with how we treat our customers. When you are working with your team, direct reports, and other leaders within the business, how do you make sure that you are working with a very customer-centric framework in mind?
Gaelle Bourven: In engineering, that's quite easy. We have created personas for different roles within our customer's company. They have pain points, strengths, etc. That's how we get closer to our customer in many different ways. I'm also trying to be as close as possible to real customers by participating in as many opportunities as possible to engage with them.
Brittany: When you're not leading this fantastic team and providing so much innovation to the company, are there any off-work hobbies or passions that you have?
Gaelle Bourven: I'm passionate about nature and everything that is related to ecology. I love exploring how we organize plants so that they grow and protect themselves. I'm trying to grow my own vegetables! I don't have that many, but I still try. I'm also trying to be low waste to reduce the carbon footprint. As a family, we had two resolutions this year: One was to reduce the recycling bin and waste by half, and to not drive more than 10,000 kilometres by car. Lockdown is helping a lot!
Read the other colleague profiles who are part of Sage’s Women in Technology interview series.