Maria Markman is a skilled technical consultant, business analyst and project manager with extensive involvement across various stages of Salesforce.com, Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud implementation projects. Maria has been working in the cloud computing space for the last 7 years and has been an active ACS member for 8 years. Early last year she joined the ACS Victoria Branch Executive Committee (BEC) and became Chair of ACS Victoria Women in ICT Committee. She is an avid and passionate ACS Victoria Ambassador for Women and believes that action on the gender parity issues is vital.
In light of International Women's Day this week, we asked Maria a series of questions so that you can get to know her more.
What do you see are the challenges for women in ICT?
There is currently a hostile masculine culture and isolation in the workforce. There are unclear and/or stalled career paths, substandard systems of rewards and extreme work pressures.
To what do you owe your success?
Supportive family and friends, my professional networks and ACS!
What do you hope will be the biggest advance for gender equality in the next 5 years?
I hope that there will be a 50/50 gender diversity ratio in the ICT industry.
What accomplishment are you proudest of?
Being trusted to chair the ACS Victoria Women in ICT committee is an accomplishment that I am most proud of. I work with some amazing women who are passionate and proactive about helping other women prosper in the ICT industry.
Being a busy business woman, how do you balance your work and home life?
Flexibility in the workplace is paramount. At home I outsource chores (cleaning, laundry, ironing), prepare food in bulk on weekends and ask my supportive family members to help with certain tasks.
How would you describe your personal style?
Feminine, strong and warm.
Do you have any inspiring words of wisdom for women looking to reach their career goals?
“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up”.
How do you define success?
A feeling that I’m moving forward and not going backwards; that every area in my life brings me happiness and that today is better than yesterday.
In one word, characterise your life as an ICT Professional.
Why would you encourage young women to pursue a career in ICT?
Very soon, ICT will be in all aspects of our lives, which will provide huge opportunities to combine our hobbies and passions with work. In the ICT industry, the sky is the limit!
According to the ACS Digital Pulse, only 28% of Australian ICT workers are women, what do you think is responsible for this low percentage?
In my view, the main reasons are negative stereotypes, unclear pathways to transition into ICT from other industries and unsupportive employers.
Can you identify someone who has impacted you as a leader? Why and how did this particular person inspire you?
Mehrnoush Salehpour, immediate past Chair of the Victorian Business Relations and Chair of ACS Victoria Women in ICT committee, inspired me by her amazing drive and dedication to ACS, women in IT and the ICT industry.
For other women aspiring to take the career path somewhat similar to yours, what is your typical day?
Wake up at 6am to get ready and prepare my 5yo for childcare. Leave home at 7.30am to ensure I’m at work by 8.30am. My workdays can be very different: in the office for a whole day working on projects with teams, on a client site, or a combination of both. Lunch is normally consumed while I work. I leave the office around 5.30pm to go to a gym and pick up my son from his grandparents’ place around 7.30pm. Then it’s bath and bed for him, dinner and extracurricular activities (ACS work, books, emails) for me. I try to separate work and personal commitments as much as I can, but in the modern world they are becoming more and more blended.
Do you think there are certain myths of what a career in ICT really is? Do you believe this is influencing women not to pursue a career in ICT?
One myth I can think of is that IT jobs are very technical. In reality, what’s needed is the right attitude and aptitude. The rest you can learn!