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IWD 2020 interview: Snowflake’s Alana Sahakian

05 Mar 2020

As a celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re running a series of interviews with women in technology. Snowflake’s A/NZ channels and alliances manager Alana Sahakian shares her thoughts.

What does the data analytics/data warehousing industry need to do to attract more women in the years ahead?

Being in the data analytics/ data warehousing industry doesn’t have to mean that you’re a data analyst or DW Administrator. I think that the title of the industry can sometimes be daunting, especially for those who haven’t come from a technical background. 

But there are a multitude of roles within the industry that many women currently know and love today in other industries- whether that be in legal, marketing, sales, customer support, alliances or HR. The data space is absolutely booming, and companies are hungry for more female representation.

We need to be better at advertising all of the available career options to women, and also be more welcoming to talented newcomers from unrelated industries with no data background. Everyone has to start somewhere and there’s nothing to say that a top saleswoman in the FMCG space, for example, wouldn’t be equally as successful in our industry.  

What does the industry need to do to ensure that more women have the opportunity to achieve senior leadership roles in the industry and within the organisations in which they work?

The industry is definitely trending upward in terms of the number of women in senior leadership positions, which is great to see. Companies need to keep this momentum going by leveraging media avenues to promote the successes of their female leaders. The more we see women in high places, the more we get used to it and accept it as the norm. 

At an organisation level, this comes down to individual responsibly within the executive team to ensure equal opportunities for career progression. 

An easy way to measure a company’s strength (or weakness) in fulfilling that responsibility is to scope out their Linkedin page. I look for companies like the one I’m in now, where gender plays absolutely no role in an individual’s opportunity for success. 

Any other comments you would like to make?

Most of the top companies in the data and analytics industries are relatively young in age, meaning they’re progressive in their employee benefits. Women get more access to flexible hours, generous maternity leave and great pay. If you’re a woman and these things are important to you- then join one of the many companies in this space who are dying to have you! 

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