Sara DalmassoI have over 20 years of digital and healthcare experience and previously worked in senior leadership roles for companies such as GE Healthcare.

I hold an MsC in Management, International Business from ESSCA in France and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. I am also certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Since 2020 I have been running Omnicell International. We are a leading provider of drug distribution management solutions around the world. Today, more than 7,000 institutions use our automation and data analytics solutions to increase operational efficiency, reduce medication errors, deliver actionable intelligence and improve patient safety.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, I never sat down and planned it. The only thing I knew is that I didn’t want to do the same thing my whole career. I was fortunate to meet some great leaders, men and women, who pushed me to achieve more, develop myself and give me fantastic opportunities.

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

I had a manager that didn’t want me to evolve despite me asking for job opportunities. I had to find opportunities so I started working and leading cross functional projects that went beyond my job description. This gave me some great exposure to leaders and broadened my experience enabling me to find opportunities outside my department.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I was promoted to a role leading very technical teams when I didn’t have a technical nor services delivery background. I didn’t feel competent for it because I felt I was an impostor. I was open and honest with my team about it. To address it I immersed myself with the teams to understand what they were doing. I went to customers with them and learned on-the-job while trying to help the team the best way I could with the experience I did have – decision making, communication, relationship building with customers. After a few months I felt accepted by the team and by the customers which was a great achievement.

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

The ability to step out of my comfort zone and learn on the job.

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

Believe in yourself:  if someone is offering you an opportunity, it means they believe you can achieve this (even if you don’t).  And be bold, you can learn tech and leadership on-the-go.

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

Yes, I believe there are still some barriers, likely due to a combination of historical and cultural factors. When tech development really took off in the 60s, women were still denied access to the business world. Furthermore, engineering schools are dominated by men worldwide, and the pop-culture representations that associate tech with an essentially masculine universe (think geek archetype or Zuckerbergian hero), do not inspire women to pursue a career in tech. We need to focus on the new female stars emerging and advancing the cause of women in tech. In addition, we need to recognise that digital is now everywhere, from commercial functions to marketing to finance, which presents an extraordinary opportunity for women because it is turning the tables. We need to keep the momentum going in terms of continuing to change attitudes, both from within the industry and wider society.

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

Every company and its leaders should lead by example as everybody will be watching them. If you don’t treat women the right way then there is no way you are going to foster the right gender diversity in the company and drive parity.

We are working on our own plan to support women in careers in tech which other companies could also adopt. At Omnicell, HR will now not conduct an interview without at least one female candidate in the running. We are also providing in-house training to provide the best opportunities for the women we recruit. Lastly, we are working as closely as we can with schools in terms of preparing female pupils for roles in the digital/technology industries in order to help encourage future generations of women into careers in tech, to show them that they truly do have a place in the digital sectors.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, 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?

Gender diversity. It’s not only my problem because I am a woman, it’s everybody’s problem. We all need to act to make the change – men and women alike.  We need to look at introducing quotas. We are so far behind in some countries that if we don’t introduce quotas, I’m not going to be here to see parity. Some will say that quotas might influence performance negatively, I strongly disagree. Quotas are the only way we are going to be forced to look for talented women (vs candidates coming to us), and believe me, there are as many talented women in tech as there are talented men.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I recently joined the International Women’s Forum in France, which works tirelessly to promote parity in traditionally male-dominated sectors and I would encourage other women working in tech to do the same. Being a member engenders a real sense of community and it has made me even more determined to move things forward. The IWF recently put on the annual Assises de la Parité conference in Paris which I attended and it was a really positive experience. It brought together companies and start-ups, experts, journalists and politicians in a space where we could exchange and share our views and experiences and stimulate a new dynamic for parity. The power of the network is beyond what you could imagine.

Also, I follow a few podcasts: “Finding Mastery” by Michael Gervais is one of my favourites. He interviews people excelling in the most hostile environments to discover the mental skills used to push the boundaries. Another one is “Dare to lead” by Brene Brown. Brene is having conversations with some passionate transformers, change catalysts and troublemakers who are innovating and daring to lead.

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