This International Women’s Day, Optiver was honoured to host insightful virtual conversations with two influential women in our industry. We discussed their entrepreneurial journeys, got unique business insights and gained new perspectives on how to increase representation for women in tech.
Optiver’s Amsterdam office had a fascinating conversation with Jayshree Ullal, CEO and President of Arista Networks. As a respected industry leader with over 30 years of experience, Jayshree answered questions from Optiver employees worldwide, discussing her impressive career from joining Cisco to growing Arista into what it is today.
Jayshree also shared her unique perspective on how to increase gender equality in the technology industry and the progress that still needs to take place to create a truly equal environment.
“You have to lead by example. 30% of my senior leadership are women, 30% of my board of directors are women, however 30% of my engineering staff are not yet women.”
For true progress to occur, Jayshree notes that it starts with education and building confidence from a young age: “It is a long term journey, because it starts with awareness and wanting our daughters, our nieces and our future generation of women to participate in tech and finance… building confidence in women that they’re just as good in tech is a process that starts in middle school.”
“There is still a lot of work to do in creating a pipeline of engineering candidates. You have to start with girls who code, provide internships and provide labs very early on.”
Driving social impact through technology
Similarly, Optiver APAC was excited to host an insightful conversation with Dr. Jane Thomason, a successful entrepreneur and thought leader in technological innovation, fintech and blockchain.
As a Forbes recognised leader in Blockchain for Social Impact, Dr. Jane dived into the fascinating world of Decentralised Finance (DeFi) and Blockchain, sharing thought-provoking examples of how blockchain is transforming industries, such as secured data sharing in healthcare. She also explored how it is enabling cash economy-based communities, who were impacted by the pandemic, to develop new streams of income such as Play-To-Earn games and using crypto-providers to make micro-exchanges.
Dr. Jane commented, “The pandemic was a pandemic of inequality as it affected the poor far more than it affected the rich…It is important that we take the opportunity to use DeFi such as blockchain, crypto and tokenisation to build more inclusive models and create economies that are distributed by design.”
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, Dr. Jane closed the session with some motivating advice for young women in the industry:
“Your voice, your different perspectives is valuable – don’t forget that. Get out there and be proud to work in whatever area of tech that you’re interested in. Don’t worry about what other people say as what matters is your assessment of yourself, your determination and your drive to succeed. And finally, surround yourself with people who will help you.”
“Blockchain, in particular, is a very inclusive and supportive community. Many of us in the industry are mentors and we’re always happy to give people a hand.”
“Digital is our future, so get involved, find an area that interests you and have a go!”