Brittany Benson: Susana, can you please start by telling us a little bit about your role at Sage?
Susana Duran: Of course! I joined Sage six years ago, and my role is focused on digital experiences which include areas like: Conversational Artificial Intelligence, mobile strategies, and other services that are part of Service Fabric like Collaboration or Smart Transactions. My main focus is on helping our customers to digitise their businesses.
Brittany Benson: That is fascinating! How did you get involved in the technology space?
Susana Duran: Since I was very young, I was fascinated by technology and the fact that you can create a solution for a problem from scratch. That solution can be very different depending on many factors. Understanding and being able to solve those problems seemed like magic to me. Also, technology is kind of a blank canvas – it allows you to build anything you want; all you need is time and the right people. The technology path and in this case, computer science, was the logical step for me.
Brittany Benson: I can tell that you’re super creative and passionate about problem solving and finding solutions. With that in mind, what would you say is the best aspect of your job?
Susana Duran: Yes, I love the fact that I don't know how each project is going to go. New technology and finding solutions is experimental, and therefore I can learn something new every, single day. That's the best part! However, it’s also important to recognise that not every project or experiment goes well all the time. Some of them don't succeed because the outcome was not what was expected, the technology was not ready, or simply because the market was not prepared.
Brittany Benson: That does seem challenging, but also a very exciting role. From a personal perspective, are there any other challenges that you can share from your work experience, and any key learnings that came from it?
Susana Duran: Unfortunately, a clear obstacle in my career was when I was working at a previous company that held the belief that being a mother meant you can’t be a good leader or be successful at your job. This simply is not true. But I had to start from scratch in a different company, during a time in my life when I was not expecting to have to do that. It took some time to get where I was, but I did it. That's a reminder for everyone that you may find unexpected obstacles in your career but you can always work on them and overcome.
Brittany Benson: That's remarkable how you handled that! When you find yourself in challenging situations, is there anyone that you look to for inspiration that has really helped you during your career?
Susana Duran: Yes, Michelle Obama! She was a real role model, raised her voice, and is an advocate for women rights and diversity. She said, “Don’t waste your seat at the table. If you are scared to use your voice, then you’ve got to get up and give it to someone who isn’t afraid to use the spot.” This was so encouraging for women to speak up in the workplace, and I like to use that quote when I'm mentoring other women.
Brittany Benson: That’s incredibly inspiring! When you’re not mentoring and leading others, are there any off-work passions or hobbies that you have?
Susana Duran: Yes, definitely. I'm the mother of two little girls, so I try to spend all my spare time with them. As they get older, I’ve enjoyed sharing one of my passions with them, that in fact, has to do with technology. I'm trying to contribute and close the gender gap in technology. When I have time, I'm taking part in events, conferences, round tables, and mentoring. It’s important to me to show that women are visible in these areas. I want my daughters to grow up and see that they can be visible and have a powerful voice at the table.
Read the other colleague profiles who are part of Sage’s Women in Technology interview series.