Celebrating women at 4C: International Women’s Day - An interview with Anne Dieu, Business Analyst

Posted On by Fallon Everitt

We are thrilled to be supporting International Women’s Day 2020 by celebrating some of the women at 4C in a special four part blog series.

In the second part of the series, we’ve asked Anne Dieu, Business Analyst from our Core Clouds team to talk about the Women in Tech community and the making the transition from end user to consultancy.

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What does International Women’s day mean for you?
If I’m honest, previously I used to view International Women’s day like any other day and it only changed last year when I attended different seminars held at LSE. It was very interesting hearing all the stories from these successful women across the different industries. It got me thinking about my own life and gave me encouragement to try new things. Since then I found a new job, started learning Mandarin and Japanese, obtained two more Salesforce certifications, and just recently completed a three month Business Analyst course! So I am looking forward to reflecting and celebrating the year’s successes in the company’s breakfast event.

I do hope the next step is for everyone to feel comfortable celebrating their wins, no matter how big or small, every so often. I’ve joined a Circle of Success community where it’s encouraged to share your daily/weekly wins and it’s motivating and uplifting to see how much we have achieved so regularly.

What is your biggest influence and/or icon?
The biggest influence is my family and the values I was brought up with. We are always pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves, support each other to not settle for mediocrity, and ultimately to be a good person. To succeed and cause hurt along the way is not the only way to get to the top and it’s a quick way back down. My family and I are big believers of karma and all good deeds will pay back in dividends ten folds!

I also believe there are inspirational takeaways everywhere you look. You can get influences from the different people you meet, from reading, from watching, from listening, from learning….I particularly love a good quote so you may see a few familiar ones sprinkled around the blog!

Why did you choose to become a Business Analyst within the tech sector originally?
Choosing to study computer science at university really shaped my career to what it is today. It was a choice between psychology and computer science and I ultimately decided the latter would open more doors with how the technology industry and the use of technology was, and still is, growing. This experience has taught me how to work with technically minded people, to go beyond the interface and look ‘under the hood’ to get the answers, as well as thriving in a male dominated course.

Then I had an opportunity to work on a huge greenfield project and I was exposed to Salesforce and the Business Analyst role. Collaborating with the business and the technical team, analysing and working out the solution that brings the most business value really appealed to me.

I’m very fortunate to be able to work in such a great Salesforce consultancy firm like 4C where there is a wide range of clients to work with and an abundance of opportunities to continuously improve my BA skills. Transitioning from an end user organisation to a consultancy has not been easy as you have to constantly shift attention between projects and clients and still give your 100% focus, but nothing worthwhile is easy and it’s challenging in a good way.

I’ve always believed working at a Salesforce consultancy firm will be the endgame of my career and I had my doubts thinking I must have x years of experience first, or x number of Salesforce certifications / other qualifications before even thinking about joining. But with the support from friends and family I am here now 3 Salesforce certifications, working towards my BA qualifications and growing with the organisation.

How would you describe your work environment?
My current work environment is very supportive and always encouraging me to acquire new skills. I am working with very talented colleagues and there’s a good team spirit everyday. However, it did take many tries to find an organisation right for me. You want to be able to stay at a good company and be loyal but if it’s not growing at the same rate as you or it’s not going in your preferred direction I think it’s ok to be loyal to yourself and take the next step. I was advised to ask myself these three questions - Are you learning? Are you earning good money? Are you happy? If you cannot definitively say yes to at least two of these questions about your current work environment then I would say now is the good time to look for new challenges. Don’t settle for less when you are worth so much more!

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
“Do not mistake my quietness for weakness” - Chanel Miller

How do you succeed in a world where being loud and an extrovert are seen as desirable traits and being quiet and introverted are seen as being weak and unintelligent? Throughout my life I have been told to SPEAK UP and when I do I should SPEAK MORE. I don’t think this barrier is exclusively faced by women but being a woman and of ethnic minority, it does sometimes feel like you’ve have to put even more effort in being valued at work. When I came across the above quote by Chanel it really resonated with me. It was the first time I started looking at my quietness differently. Being quiet is not the same as being weak. Being introverted means you bring a different set of skills to the table. If you are also quiet I hope you can get to a stage where you accept that’s how you are and you are successful, you’ll grow in confidence and self belief and soon the little mouse within will ROAR!

If you want to learn more about introverts then a good book to read is called Quiet by Susan Cain.

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in the tech industry?
My first advice would be to break down the self imposed barriers. You have probably told yourself you can’t do something because…or that you can’t do it this way because…Do you truly believe this or are these just excuses? It’s known we are harder on ourselves so ask yourself what advice would you give a friend in the same situation. You’d be surprised with the different advice and encouragement.

Second advice would be to not be intimidated about working in the technology industry. No one goes into a role knowing everything. If you do, then it might be sideways move and not an upwards one and are you looking for that at the moment? Every new thing can be learnt. And yes, the industry is still very much male dominated but don’t let that put you off. You can learn from them as they can learn from you. It’s great when women support each other but men are also our allies in the fight for equality.

What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women in the workplace?
A big issue I see is how similar behaviours exhibited by both men and women can be perceived differently. They are often seen as strengths in men but shortcomings in women. The most common one being where men are seen as assertive and firm but women are seen as bossy. A man raising his voice is seen as being passionate but a woman is seen as being screechy. A man highlighting his achievements is seen as being admirable but a woman doing the same thing is seen as being boastful and immodest. If this leads to women being overlooked for senior positions then that’s also a big issue. This is very difficult to overcome because do you change yourself or behave in a certain way to get that promotion? Do you stay as you are and hope someone will eventually give you the opportunity? Everyone is different and will come up with the best solution given their situation. I will just end by saying being yourself in a world that constantly tries to change you is true strength. Just wear your invisible crown and keep going!

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
Everyday is different and some days can be tougher than others so having a strong support network is great. But the camaraderie and support you can get from other women is empowering. One of my favourite communities that I am part of is the Salesforce London Women in Tech community and every time I attend one of these events I leave feeling motivated and inspired. There is lots of advice on how to negotiate for a pay rise, to keep a brag file to bring to your next appraisal meeting and a lot lot more. Most of the points I’ve brought up here are based on what I’ve learnt from these sessions and wanted t o pass them along. I’d highly recommend attending any similar events if you have a chance.

On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
I would like to end on how to view missed opportunities. It can be upsetting and demotivating when you put your heart and soul into something and it still doesn’t turn out the way you want. But everything happens for a reason and this missed opportunity is just leading you to something greater. You may experience a lot of setbacks but because someone doesn’t see your value doesn’t mean you are not valuable. Keep going and best of luck!