Anna Higgins

As Strategy Programs Director at Sovos, Anna Higgins is responsible for the strategic planning, analysis and implementation of the go-to-market strategy for products and solutions at Sovos.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role?

I joined Sovos back in 2020 as Strategy Programmes Director for EMEA; a role that is very varied and consists mostly of strategic planning and analysis as well as implementation of our go-to-market strategy. My background is within the commercial aspect of VAT Managed Services and Consulting – this is where my involvement in the procurement of VAT reporting software helped pave the way to a career within tech. With over 14 years of experience in international business, account management and B2B, I love how my current role helps drive future growth.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Honestly, no. I began my career with a start-up firm that grew rapidly and therefore provided the ideal environment to grow both personally and professionally. As the company expanded, so did the potential for new roles and responsibilities. Following its acquisition by Sovos, I re-evaluated my aspirations and priorities, and as a result, decided to embrace the new challenges and opportunities created by a role within a much larger global organisation.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Absolutely. Who hasn’t? When first taking on a leadership role, it was tricky to navigate and embrace my authentic leadership style. Coaching really helped me to have more confidence to communicate effectively with a diverse range of people.

In recent years, I’ve faced the delicate balancing act between work and my children. On a practical level I strive to be efficient and organised with my work time – my calendar and ‘to do’ lists are rather meticulously planned, and I apply flexibility where needed. On an emotional level it’s about giving myself permission to do both and to be open and honest with colleagues about family-time boundaries.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I’ve had some great career experiences – from leading sales teams to exceed targets to helping orchestrate operational changes. I’ve also learnt a lot from experiencing the two sides of M&A, both being part of a senior leadership team that led to a successful acquisition of that company and integrating new acquired businesses into Sovos. The common thread between them all is collaboration, positivity, and commitment to completion – I love working with proactive and dedicated teams to achieve goals.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in your achieving success? 

It’s important to be adaptable and to keep learning – complacency is a dangerous thing. Economies, markets, the competition, and your own company are everchanging and it’s crucial to stay focused and keep seeking the answers you need to be successful.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

As before, keep asking questions. It’s great if you can find a mentor and/or a network of others in the field so you can share experiences and guide one another. Working in silos is never successful so pop your head up over the horizon and see what else you can learn.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

My day-to-day work interactions are often balanced when it comes to gender but not always. I fully appreciate that overall, women are still underrepresented in tech, especially within product management and development roles. Increased training around unconscious bias and outreach programmes to schools and universities would certainly help.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

The presence of role models and mentors is hugely valuable – it’s hard to aspire to something that you can’t see. The opportunity for flexible working is also advantageous for many women and the workforce in general.

If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I think this change starts with education and children seeing female role models in tech. My son attends a school engineering and coding club with many female peers – I wouldn’t want to magic away their valuable childhood so hopefully it’s only a matter of time until those who are most inspired enter the industry. Having STEM lessons and clubs available for all students is really important.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

LinkedIn is such a powerful tool, I’d recommend exploring all it has to offer.