TechFemme Talk with Andrea Della Mattea: Take a risk and dream big

Participants at TechFemme 2017 in Singapore.
Caption: Participants at TechFemme 2017 in Singapore.

Andrea Della Mattea is President, Microsoft Asia Pacific and leads our commercial and consumer products, services and support businesses across Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. She oversees more than 2,000 employees and 11,000 Microsoft certified partners at a time when the region is fast embracing cloud, mobile and big data technologies. Andrea joined Microsoft recently from Insight Enterprises where she held senior management roles in Australia and the United States. This interview is part of #UnlimitedYOU at TechFemme – a program aimed at encouraging women to pursue careers in tech.

As a senior leader at Microsoft, how do you plan to encourage and engage with  young women who aspire to join the tech industry?
ADM – I’m very passionate about encouraging millennials to join the tech industry. Given my background with a Bachelor of Engineering, I’m also passionate about encouraging girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses. From my perspective, the tech industry has made significant progress since I commenced my career, but there’s definitely a long way to go. During my first week in my new role, I made it a point to spend time with our interns and I was really pleased to see the diverse talent we have here at Microsoft. As a leader, I believe it’s important to harness the potential of the next generation of enthusiasts, from all backgrounds. It’s important to create a work environment where our people feel engaged, excited and connected to the company’s mission and purpose.

It’s important to create a work environment where our people feel engaged, excited and connected …

Who do you believe helped you shape your career? What did these people see in you?
ADM – I have very been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some very capable, influential leaders early in my career.  I learnt a lot from these leaders and, to this day, I still look up to them. I recall, in my early twenties in Australia, my first interview with a gentleman at a tech startup. He offered me the role that led me to my career in the tech industry. He was a dynamic and passionate entrepreneur and I knew I wanted to work with him. Looking back, when he offered me the role to start up the Queensland business, I think he saw potential in me to grow.  And, I’ve loved working in the tech industry ever since.

What attributes do you look for in a candidate while hiring?
ADM – Primarily, I look for a passion for learning, a growth mindset, as well as attitude and aptitude. You have to bring energy and zest to work every day when you commit to something – be it the company, the team, or the role. When I consider a potential candidate, I also look for cultural fit, that balance between capabilities and character.  Is he/she ready and committed to becoming a part of something big?

What’s your piece of advice for those who are starting out?
ADM – Be bold. Get outside of your comfort zone. Take a risk and dream big!

Caption: Participants at TechFemme 2017 in Singapore.

Interview by Utkarsha Singh

Read – Pratima Amonkar: Be bold, be fearless

Read – Wendy Johnstone: Kids, career and leadership

Read – Women in IT: Moving the Dial. One girl at a time

Watch – Microsoft: The future of women in technology

Watch – Change the Odds




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