Stephanie Foucart Exotec

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

My name is Stéphanie Foucart. I have more than 15 years of experience in the tech sector and I’ve managed Exotec’s software R&D team since 2020. I’m a graduate of Mines d’Alès, a French engineering school, and hold a Master 2 in Computer Science research. I’ve work for Thalès (2006-2017), Acteos (2017-2018) and Incubate Yourself (2018-2020). At Exotec, I’ve had the pleasure of being in charge of a growing and rapidly evolving team. The company itself is growing exponentially, and is the first French industrial unicorn with 600 employees.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve never really had a career plan. My path has been built around opportunities that reflected my interests, including IT and logistics embedded systems. I’ve always looked for roles that align with what I’m passionate about and where I can add value to the company.

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

I’ve been fortunate in my career that I’ve not had too many significant challenges, and I’m not someone who stresses easily. However I would say that the biggest challenge I’ve faced during my career is transitioning into a management position when returning from maternity leave after having twins. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do everything at once when taking on an increased workload.

I overcame these anxieties by looking at the bigger picture and telling myself that I have to try anyway, and then I will adapt – and I did!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Teamwork is important to me, and is especially key in such a rapidly evolving and collaborative environment, so the biggest achievements of my career so far are the teams I’ve grown from the ground up and have watched thrived under my leadership. I’ve done that many times, and I’m extremely proud of the people I’ve worked with and helped shape. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing people grow and flourish within a team while achieving outstanding results.

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

For me, the major factor for achieving success has been my work rate and ability to give the best of myself to every role at every company I’ve worked for. I always strived to go above and beyond to take my job seriously – almost as if the business I’m working for is my own!

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

I feel like people should try and enjoy their career, taking every day as it comes. For example, learning to code should be a fun experience that you get a taste for, become good at and then potentially turn into a career. It doesn’t have to be a grueling, negative experience. It should be enjoyable!

When practicing coding, women should also be aware of the resources available. It’s hyper-accessible, and there’s something for everyone. From the most technical development to the most user-oriented, there are no limits to what you can learn and achieve.

Also, don’t limit yourself to clichés as there is no reason why these flexible and lucrative jobs should be reserved for men.

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

There are many barriers for women in tech, but these barriers are complicated. Many of us have been told from a young age that tech careers are just for men, so now, although opportunities exist, women limit themselves because they’ve been told that’s what is right. So now I hope that the more women in tech share their stories and experiences, as well as crucial resources, so that more and more women will come to realise that they too can work in tech and be successful.

Other barriers include the lack of role models, but society has shown progress when it comes to gender equality, with there being an increased focus on education.

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

Companies can encourage women to embark on tech careers by joining associations that promote women in tech, and by highlighting the success of current women within their organisation so that they can become role models.

Companies also need to learn how to detect female talent within their workforce so that they can support them, ensure that their careers progress and adopt a proactive stance in recruitment.

There are currently only 21 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?

If I were to do one thing, it would be to make computer classes mandatory from primary to secondary school, with students learning how to handle IDE handling software. The overall objective would be to create vocations, making it commonplace for women to learn these kinds of skills while raising awareness that these jobs exist.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, eg Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?  

I am a big advocate for 50inTech, as they provide the perfect gateway for women wanting to enter the tech industry, outlining the range of tech jobs available for women. Additionally, Elles bougent is a brilliant platform supporting and encouraging young girls to enter technology and engineering careers.

Read more about our inspirational women here.