Seema has more than 18 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry combined with Big 4 consulting experience and an MBA. As a seasoned business leader, she’s keen to pass on her insights to others, especially people from underrepresented groups just starting their careers in tech.

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

I am the Senior Director of Strategy at Pixel United, a role that offers exciting opportunities due to our unique portfolio business structure. Within our Group, we have three distinct gaming companies, each with its own strategic agenda. Initially, I started at Pixel United, but now I work on strategic initiatives across the entire Aristocrat Group, which enables me to have a broader influence.

Currently, a significant focus of our efforts lies in refining our location strategy. Our goal is not only to identify the most suitable markets for expansion but also to embrace the power of data-driven decision-making, something I passionately advocate for. By doing so, we can revolutionise the way we assess and evaluate our strategic objectives for each market. This data-centric approach empowers us to establish robust business processes and governance, utilising data-driven insights to steer us towards smarter, more informed decisions.

In the field of women in tech, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in various projects and initiatives that are close to my heart. As someone who values diversity and inclusivity, I have participated in endeavours that aim to support and empower women in the tech and media industries. This includes contributing to mentorship programmes, organising workshops, and engaging in discussions on the challenges faced by women in tech. I strive to make a positive impact and promote a more inclusive environment for women to thrive in the technology sector.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I have to admit that I never sat down and meticulously planned my career, as much as I enjoy planning in other aspects of my life. However, I did have a broad vision of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to achieve. Fortunately, I’ve been able to pursue my interests and goals successfully.

Throughout my career journey, I’ve traversed diverse paths, starting with economic development, followed by venturing into the media industry, specifically the commercial side of TV production. I then transitioned into consulting and subsequently explored the realm of Pay TV, before eventually finding my way into the dynamic world of technology. Each step has added a unique dimension to my experience and contributed to my growth in exciting and unexpected ways.

Instead of following a rigid plan, I believe I’ve been fortunate and had some level of foresight in terms of the areas I want to delve into. Hard work has been a constant companion in making these opportunities a reality. So, while my career may not have been meticulously planned, I’m grateful for the diverse experiences and opportunities I’ve encountered along the way.

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

One of the most significant challenges I faced along my career journey was the experience of becoming a mother. It brought about a profound identity shift, which is a common sentiment for many working women. Balancing the responsibilities of motherhood while pursuing a fulfilling career was indeed a daunting task. I had made a personal choice not to work part-time, and I stand by that decision because it was what made me happy at the time.

However, finding the right equilibrium between my professional aspirations and personal life proved to be a complex and time-consuming process. Adapting to this new reality took several years as I navigated through uncharted waters. My determination to strike a balance was essential, and I gradually discovered what worked best for me.

Interestingly, the tech industry, as it is known, hasn’t always been the most female-friendly space. Yet, I was fortunate to land in a remarkably flexible business environment, which provided invaluable support in achieving the desired balance between my personal and professional life. This level of flexibility eased the challenges I faced as a working mother.

In summary, the journey to finding harmony between motherhood and career was not without its hurdles, but my perseverance, coupled with the conducive work environment, enabled me to overcome these challenges and thrive in both aspects of my life. My experience serves as a testament to the importance of continuous adaptation and finding opportunities that align with personal values and aspirations.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

One of my most significant career achievements to date occurred early in my career while I was working at Endemol. At that time, Deal or No Deal was still just a concept on paper, and I saw the opportunity to contribute my expertise in making it not only commercially successful but also a prominent TV brand. I collaborated closely with the Executive Producers of the show, suggesting key elements to enhance its commercial appeal. This included incorporating prominent brand elements visually and integrating impactful spoken taglines.

I am proud to have been involved in shaping the trajectory of Deal or No Deal, as it eventually became one of the biggest TV successes not only in Europe but on a global scale. Playing a pivotal role in commercialising the brand across multiple platforms marked a defining moment in my career, particularly considering it happened early on.

By focusing on strategic insights and leveraging my skills, I contributed to the show’s immense success, which remains a source of pride and a testament to the impact of collaborative efforts and innovative thinking in the television industry.

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

Without a doubt, one major factor that has significantly contributed to my success is the unwavering support of my family. They have been my rock and foundation, and I owe a great deal of my achievements to their constant encouragement and belief in me. Coming from a close-knit family has instilled valuable values and a strong sense of support, which I’ve carried into my workplace.

At Pixel United, where I am fortunate to work, I have found a professional environment that feels like an extension of my family. The people around me are incredibly supportive, and we foster a collaborative and inclusive culture. This supportive network empowers me to pursue my goals and aspirations in the tech industry with confidence and determination.

Having a strong support system both personally and professionally has been a crucial element in my journey, providing the strength and encouragement needed to overcome challenges and embrace opportunities. I believe that surrounding oneself with a network of caring and supportive individuals plays a pivotal role in achieving success, especially in a fast-paced and innovative industry like tech.

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

To excel in a career in technology, I believe there are key principles that have been instrumental for me. First and foremost, confidence plays a vital role in navigating the dynamic tech landscape. Having the self-assurance to communicate with clients and senior stakeholders effectively has proven invaluable in my journey. Secondly, I emphasise building a purposeful network, focusing on quality connections over quantity. A diverse and responsive network of contacts has provided valuable insights and support whenever I encountered challenges. I also firmly advocate for continuous learning and curiosity. Embracing the wealth of knowledge available in the digital age has allowed me to stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies. Additionally, seeking mentors and role models has provided invaluable guidance and inspiration on my career path. Adaptability is another key attribute I value, enabling me to thrive in an ever-changing tech environment. Strong problem-solving skills, effective communication, and a growth mindset round out the essential qualities that have helped me excel in my tech career. As technology evolves, I am committed to embracing new challenges and opportunities with enthusiasm, always striving to be at the forefront of innovation and progress.

What barriers for women working in tech are still to be overcome?

Addressing barriers for women in tech is crucial to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the industry. While I cannot speak to specific experiences at the moment, it is essential to acknowledge that various challenges persist. Gender bias, both conscious and unconscious, can create hurdles for women in the workplace. Limited access to mentorship and opportunities for career advancement can also impede progress. Moreover, work-life balance issues and gender stereotypes may discourage women from pursuing or staying in tech careers. It is essential to break down these barriers by fostering a more inclusive culture, providing equal opportunities for growth, offering mentorship and support programmes, and challenging gender norms within the tech community. By sharing experiences and working collaboratively, we can create a more equitable environment that empowers all individuals to thrive in tech-related roles.

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

To support and advance the careers of women in technology, companies can take concrete actions to foster an inclusive and empowering work environment. First and foremost, celebrating differences and embracing diversity is essential. Companies should actively encourage diverse voices to be heard and ensure that individuals from various backgrounds have a seat at the table. Visual representation of diversity, encompassing gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, neurodiversity, and disability, is crucial in showcasing the value and strength of diverse perspectives.

Additionally, having diverse role models in leadership positions is immensely impactful. When employees see individuals from diverse backgrounds in top positions, it sends a powerful message that the company values and promotes inclusivity. These role models set a positive tone and serve as inspiration for others to aspire to leadership roles, fostering a culture where everyone’s contributions are recognised and valued.

Moreover, creating mentorship and sponsorship programmes specifically designed to support women in tech can be instrumental in their career growth. These programmes provide guidance, encouragement, and opportunities for skill development, ensuring that women have the support they need to excel in their roles.

Furthermore, companies should implement equal pay and promotion practises, ensuring that all employees, regardless of gender, are rewarded and recognised fairly for their contributions. Providing flexible work arrangements and promoting a healthy work-life balance is also essential to supporting women’s career progression.

Ultimately, companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion by representing a broader cross-section of the population will foster an environment where different perspectives converge, leading to better decision-making and increased innovation. Embracing diversity is not just the right thing to do morally; it’s also a strategic advantage that enhances a company’s overall success and competitiveness in the dynamic tech industry.

In an ideal world, how would you improve gender diversity in tech?

In an ideal world, improving gender diversity in tech would involve several key initiatives. Firstly, we need to challenge and dismantle the stereotypes and biases associated with the tech industry, particularly in areas like gaming. Creating awareness and showcasing diverse role models who have succeeded in tech can help break down these barriers and demonstrate that tech is an inclusive space for all individuals.

Encouraging and supporting women to venture into entrepreneurship in the tech sector is another essential aspect. By providing mentorship, funding, and resources, we can empower more women to start their own tech businesses, thereby diversifying the landscape and paving the way for future generations.

Education and early exposure are also critical. Encouraging girls to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields from an early age can help bridge the gender gap in tech careers. Schools and organisations can introduce tech-related programmes that appeal to girls and promote interest in these fields.

Furthermore, companies and organisations within the tech industry should actively implement diversity and inclusion policies. This involves setting clear diversity goals, conducting unbiased recruitment and promotion processes, and providing equal opportunities for growth and development.

Mentorship and sponsorship programmes designed to support and nurture women in tech are crucial. These programmes offer guidance, encouragement, and networking opportunities, enabling women to excel and thrive in their tech careers.

Creating safe and inclusive workplaces is paramount. Establishing an environment where everyone feels valued and respected, irrespective of their gender, will foster creativity, collaboration, and innovation.

Ultimately, a collective effort from educational institutions, businesses, and the broader tech community is required to achieve a more gender-diverse tech industry. By breaking down stereotypes, promoting entrepreneurship, providing educational opportunities, and implementing inclusive policies, we can create a future where women are equally represented and thrive in tech.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

As a woman working in tech, I am a firm believer in the power of continuous learning and drawing inspiration from diverse sources, which are fundamental to my professional growth. I prioritise immersing myself in topics that genuinely interest me, seeking valuable insights from various perspectives, and expanding my knowledge within the tech industry.

In my relentless pursuit of knowledge and empowerment, I have discovered TED Talks as an exceptional source of inspiration and empowerment. These talks have not only allowed me to explore fascinating subjects but also served as a platform to discover incredible role models, providing invaluable insights from their experiences.

Moreover, I have found immense value in podcasts like “Women in Tech Podcast” – Hosted by Espree Devora,” “Women in Tech Show” – Hosted by Edaena Salinas “Ladybug Podcast,” and “Tech Talker’s Quick and Dirty Tips for a More Efficient Life,” which offer practical advice and valuable insights on various tech-related topics. Additionally, websites such as Women 2.0 and She+ Geeks Out have proven to be empowering resources, offering transformative programmes and supportive communities tailored to women in the tech industry.

In my search for knowledge that drives positive change, I have turned to impactful books like “The Algorithmic Leader: How to Be Smart When Machines Are Smarter Than You” by Mike Walsh and “Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley” by Emily Chang. These books have enlightened me on the impact of AI and illuminated gender disparities in tech, offering crucial insights for navigating the evolving tech landscape and fostering a more inclusive industry.

Though I haven’t had the opportunity to attend events like the Grace Hopper Celebration and Women in Tech Summit, I have heard positive feedback from others in the industry. These conferences are renowned for providing women in tech with exceptional networking opportunities, inspiring talks, and enlightening workshops.

Engaging with these dynamic resources empowers women in tech to stay informed, supported, and connected in the ever-evolving tech world. These platforms celebrate the accomplishments of women while fostering an environment where we can thrive and excel in our tech careers.

Read more from our inspirational women here.