Within the frameworks of “Women in Telecom” project I have spoken to several women leaders and discussed challenges and stereotypes they have faced during their career in a male-dominated telecom industry. Recently I have interviewed Suzanne Bowen, Co-Founder and VP Marketing at DIDX.
Why did you choose this career/job? What factors influenced you to choose this career path?
Making communication convenient, affordable, rewarding and powerful for customers is not only my DIDX.net goal but also our team's. The chance to collaborate with CLECs and other types of carriers and operators and the voIP, mobile, and other types of communications companies to make it easier for their business and consumer end-users to stay in touch with their VIP is and was also an exciting factor. Last, I have often welcomed the challenge to be an early adopter of new telecom and tech products and services since I was in high school.
Did you face any stereotypes when working in a male-dominated industry? Was it a barrier to career advancement?
Of course, I have always faced stereotypes while working in male-dominated industries like telecom and other technologies. I believe men and women do not want to talk about it because it makes everyone uncomfortable. We want to pretend it does not happen just the same as many other situations in society that we know are not right, but we pretend they are not happening to avoid discomfort.
How did you battle them?
I do not believe it has been a barrier to my career advancement. It is like ... if you cannot find a nice person, be one. If you cannot advance in a career that you know you have the skills, experience, passion, talent and personality for, start your own business. That is what I have done in my own three careers of health and fitness, telecommunications and fashion.
It is also essential to get to know men and women in our industry via conferences, video and audio podcasts, and other virtual and face-to-face activities. So many times I have, for example, recorded video and audio interviews with communications and technologies companies' decision makers and support team to share on social media. It breaks the ice. It helps people to forget each other's gender and focus on what we can accomplish together.
Which professional and personal qualities have been your greatest career allies?
Ask others to tell you what professional and personal qualities are your greatest career allies. I did exactly that. The most suggested are creativeness, collaborative nature, focused listening, careful but quick decision-making, good "big picture" view and determination.
What will you recommend to those who are just starting their career in a telecom industry?
Research how telecom can leverage adjacent verticals such as financial, tourism, medical and educational and be ready to grow the telecom company you work for or own in a direction that will keep it alive and competitive. Be ready to help enhance convenience and satisfaction with distinctive experiences that add value for customers. Participate in workshops, webinars and conferences like TelcoDays Las Vegas. Develop as many industry partnerships and friendships, even with competitors. Network, network, network! Leave the stereotypes behind and focus on keeping telecom and communications industry vibrant and necessary.
About Suzanne Bowen
Co-founder of VoIP startup Super Technologies, Inc. in 1999, known for its wholesale direct inward dialing marketplace DIDX and Suzahdi leather fashions brand, Suzanne Bowen is a vocal proponent of cloud communications, industry conference participation and the value of people over things. She was granted "Friends of Kamalio" award, Top 50 VoIP Experts on Twitter in 2013, and Top 50 Unified Communications Experts on Twitter in 2015 by GetVoIP.