Giovanna Dughera: «You can focus on your strength while pushing yourself to learn a bit more every day.»

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Microsoft Switzerland employs many interesting and successful women. This article is part of an interview series with women who work at Microsoft Switzerland and inspire us.
As a strategic Account Executive of ABB at Microsoft Switzerland, Giovanna Dughera guides her costumer through their digital transformation. Giovanna and her team not only provide the suitable technology for ABB that empowers them to carry out their tasks, but they also aim to generate the most value out of the technology. Since she joined Microsoft, Giovanna focused on deepening the strategic partnership with ABB and expanding the collaboration to a discussion about cultural transformation in the digital age. Giovanna was born and raised in Italy, where she also attended university and studied Economics. She started her career working for Luxottica, an Italian eyewear manufacturer and retailer. She joined Microsoft Switzerland two years ago and lives now in Zürich.

How do you organize yourself during these special times while working from home?

I think everyone is challenged in a different way. I am lucky because I live on my own and I don’t have to share my office with someone else. Even though I couldn’t meet my colleagues in the past months, I tried to have a continuous communication channel with them. For example, I organized a weekly «coffee catch-up call» with my team which was really appreciated. This way we were able to stay close as a team and got the chance not only to talk about work but also about personal issues. I think the main challenge while working from home is to find the right balance. Currently, my kitchen is my office and last week I burned my lunch because I received a call and got completely distracted. These times it is important to pay special attention to draw a clear line between your professional and your private life even if it is difficult to separate them spatially.

What are your experiences working in a primarily male team?

I see myself in a privileged position because in my career I have never felt discriminated for being a woman. But especially in the ICT sector, women are often outnumbered, which is a pity. I am convinced that the industry could benefit from more female power and it is absolutely necessary to have those discussions. Even though the gender diversity in our team isn’t ideal, I can see the diversity on many other levels. In fact, the reason that convinced me to work for Microsoft was the diversity in the team that I experienced during the interview process. In our team many different characters and people with various backgrounds come together which creates a great working atmosphere. I think it is very important that women are adequately represented in our sector, nonetheless, in my experience I can see that diversity is much more complex and exists on so many levels. To me it is important that every team member is included and people feel free to speak their mind to make sure that different points of views are recognized.

What advice would you give any young woman starting out today to build a career similar to yours?

To be curious and not to be scared even when technology seems to be impossible to understand. There are so many different ways to look at technology and the part that I enjoy the most, is when I can apply it to a real-life problem. I never considered myself as a techie and it still is very overwhelming to me to grasp the full extent of the technology that we provide as a company. I think at some point you have to accept what your limit is, without limiting yourself in terms of what more you can learn. You can focus on your strength and at the same time push yourself to learn a bit more every day.

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