There are any number of good reasons as to why the Internet industry needs female reinforcement. Numerous fields in the branch are up against a shortage of skilled workers. What’s more, homogeneous teams and uniform ways of thinking represent a clear obstacle to innovation. The digital industry is booming, new digital business models are being created each and every day, and lucrative jobs are being created – but all too often, women are still missing out. We want to change that. In our series “Women in the Tech Branch”, we invite inspiring female specialists and executives from the Internet industry to take the floor. Here we deal with the really important topics: from development perspectives, through career tips and hopes for the future, to the challenges in a male-dominated working environment – and ultimately, to highlighting why working in the Internet industry is fun. Kick-starting the series is Melanie Buck, Chief of Staff at US Webhoster GoDaddy.
First of all, what is stated on your business card?
Melanie Buck: Chief of Staff with GoDaddy has been on my business card for a good nine months now.
That sounds so exciting that I would like to apply directly for your job. As Chief of Staff at GoDaddy, what could I expect in my day-to-day work?
Buck: It is indeed exciting and very varied. No two days are the same, and that’s what makes my job so appealing to me. My main role is to support and advise our Head of EMEA and her Senior Leadership Team so that together we can achieve our goals for the EMEA region (EMEA = Europe, Middle East, Africa). The Leadership Team covers all areas of the company – from human resources, to technology, right through to sales in the region. I see it as my primary daily task to be a reliable and trustworthy partner for this team and to support them in all their queries and topical areas of work. Another focus of my work is project management for strategic initiatives. Trust and enablement are therefore two extremely important aspects of this position.
If a woman of any age were to ask you for a career tip – what advice would you give her?
Buck: Be yourself, have faith in your abilities, and build your network. I would gladly give these tips to everyone. Each and every one of us needs people to exchange ideas with and get feedback from. This strengthens and helps us to grow beyond ourselves. In difficult situations, which make me question whether I should do something or not, I like to ask myself: What can happen in the worst case scenario? The answer is always: Nothing really serious can happen. And even if something does go wrong, then we can learn from that and grow on its strength.
Thanks for the tip. If you yourself had the chance to meet some female personality, either living or dead (ideally from the tech industry): Who would it be and why?
Buck: The German actress and TV presenter Barbara Schöneberger immediately springs to mind. Although she may not be working in the IT branch, she is nevertheless also working in what is a highly competitive industry, and one which is still male-dominated. I like her humor and her natural manner, and I think an exchange with her would be highly entertaining. It would be interesting to hear what drives her and what she as a woman perceives as challenges.
We’ll now give you another interesting job and make you editor-in-chief of a leading media publication – let’s say, the German BILD paper, or the FAZ newspaper: Which headline would you like to see in a lead article concerning “Diversity/Women in the Tech Branch”? And what should the article say?
Buck: In a nutshell, I’d opt for: “The future is diverse”. I could also imagine addressing the readers with challenging or provocative questions, such as: “Do women now belong on a pedestal?”, “What can I still do as a man?”, or “So much is being done for women – when will it be men’s turn?”. The basic message would always be: We need a diverse world in which men and women complement each other and work together as a team. If we ended up with only women in management and technical positions, we wouldn’t have gained anything. We should use all our individual and gender-specific strengths, because together we can achieve so much. I myself work at GoDaddy in a diverse team – with colleagues from all over the world. The different perspectives and cultures are what bring us forward. This is exactly what makes the cooperation so fruitful and makes us successful as a team.
For our ongoing interview series “Women in the Tech Branch”, we will be conducting a range of interviews with women who are specialists and leaders in the industry. Is there any question you think we should put to these women?
Buck: It is often said that women have a hard time in the male-dominated IT industry. I would like to turn that around and ask: Do you see any advantages for you as a woman in this industry? What would those be?
Thank you very much for the interview!
For our series “Women in the Tech Branch”, we are looking for more exciting interview partners. Please contact us if you are interested. Further information on women in the tech branch can be found on our New Work Competence Group site.