For most organizations, measuring the success of diversity and inclusion initiatives has become merely a matter of numbers. However, creating equal opportunities for women leaders and challenged persons is more than a numbers game. Diversity and inclusion must not be enforced; it must be embraced as an important pillar within the human resource strategy. This multi-part series shines a light on how women in leadership positions at SAP P&I Enterprise Cloud Services have risen to the top within their field. Each portrait shares insights, lessons learned, and tips for the next generation of women leaders in cloud computing.
In the fifth part of this series, Sueli Nascimento, a local product manager in SAP Globalization Services in São Paulo, Brazil, speaks about how her interest in arts and technology influenced her journey to become part of a UN Women panel.
Capitalize the ‘A’ in STEAM
“I want my own Rosie” was Sueli’s immediate thought when she saw Rosie, the housekeeper robot, in The Jetsons cartoon as a child. To Sueli, Rosie was the one-stop solution for the problems in the world, at least in her own little world.
Sueli continued to be fascinated by technology and its ability to bring positive change in people’s lives. She earned her degree, studying data processing and artistic education, then immersed herself in the distinctive worlds of art and technology. Creativity and continuous learning, including experimental learning, is the foundation and anchor of her IT career. “Never stop learning. Learning, unlearning, and relearning is inevitable in our ever-changing world,” said Sueli. True to her philosophy, she has furthered her education with coursework in diverse fields including HR, IT, informatics, and psychology.
She fully embraces the power of STEAM – a multi-disciplinary approach that combines science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics, a concept also promoted by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and executive director of UN Women. To Sueli, art is a source of inspiration to innovate customer service and team collaboration. On weekends, you can often find her at museums or art events. “Art is about different perspectives. Artists have different styles and look at our world in different ways. Intertwining arts and technology helped me to empathize with customers, colleagues, and the community, and ultimately to see their perspective,” said Sueli.
To encourage others to create better customer experiences by looking at a broad spectrum of viewpoints, Sueli started joining business networks within SAP. She currently heads the Business Women’s Network for SAP Brazil that leads women’s empowerment programs and she is part of the diversity and inclusion team.
“You have to build and expand your network throughout your career. Always look for opportunities to engage with colleagues about topics of interest. Possibilities exist at every stage of your career and life. For example, SAP Brazil has a buddy program for new mothers, a digital women program, and opportunities to attend panels and give presentations that discuss the role of women in technology. Engagement opens doors,” recommended Sueli.
When UN Women in Brazil invited Sueli as a speaker for a seminar on diversity and inclusion, she wowed audiences with her passion for helping more women pursue careers in technology. As a result, she was invited to participate in a UN panel discussion in Brussels on “closing the digital gap for women and girls in developing countries.” Her participation opened avenues for SAP Brazil to become part of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) initiative, a partnership of the UN Women and UN Global Compact office to propel gender equality and empowerment of women across the globe. Cristina Palmaka, managing director of SAP Brazil, signed an official document in May 2018 confirming to abide by the seven WEPs as a corporate commitment to women’s welfare.
Sueli began her journey by taking inspiration from both arts and technology and dreaming of having her own Rosie – a robot that can change the world. Today Sueli is inspiring women around the world to become human Rosies, someone who helps improve people’s lives with technology and who encourages girls and women to thrive with a career in technology.
If you’re not convinced that diversity is a business goal, read Why Diversity And Inclusion Matters – From An Innovation Perspective.