Uta Dresch

Uta is VP of Client Experience Management. She joined DocuWare in 2018 and established the company’s Client Experience function.

Uta’s global team is dedicated to customer advocacy, loyalty and support through consulting, training and education. With over 15,000 customers worldwide, customer retention is a top priority and Uta’s experience in technical customer support has helped foster happy customers who have been with DocuWare for over 25 years. Uta earned her degree in Mathematics from the University of Fribourg.

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

As VP of Client Experience Management, it is my responsibility to ensure recurring revenue by continuously identifying opportunities to improve customer and partner satisfaction and loyalty, deriving countermeasures at an early stage whenever necessary, optimising journeys and supervising adaptations in other departments. The basis of all this is a deeper understanding of our clients’ goals, their daily challenges, and their dreams – which means a lot of data analysis needs to take place.
That is the connection to the choice of my major at university: I have a master’s degree in mathematics. My first job after graduation was as a software engineer at IBM. I then made the change from software development to worldwide customer support. In 2018 I came to DocuWare to establish a customer experience department. Meanwhile, this department became a 30-person division.

So, this is my current job four days a week. On Fridays, I pursue my self-employment and a passion project of mine: I lead various workshops in elementary and middle schools on the topic of “Safe Internet Use” in grades 4 to 6, in order to show children who are just having their first experience with smartphones and the like what they should pay attention to in terms of data protection, copyrights and cyberbullying prevention.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

For sure, you sometimes sit down to decide which next steps you want to take – especially in the context of work-life balance when becoming a parent. Career and children continue to be a big balancing act. If you plan a career, you should not be off the job market too long, especially in the area of technology, because it is so fast-moving. But careers can also only be planned to a certain extent – sometimes it takes sheer coincidence. The only important thing is to always keep the goal in mind.

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

Indeed, many of them. If you want to make a career it still means you have to do more than your contract requires of you. Getting ahead requires persistence, passion, and commitment. And that costs strength. It only works smoothly if you have fun doing what you do, the environment is right, and your colleagues are the reason why you enjoy coming to work.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I would call my biggest achievement to date is being a VP and at the same time a mother of four wonderful kids. Still having time for them, knowing exactly what’s on their mind right now and always being able to say: Kids first. So, it’s not an achievement at a certain time, it is an achievement over time: The continuous parallel paths of job and family and self-employment.

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

I hope it does not sound arrogant, but I would say: Me – plus the support of my family. (Ok… these are two things!). There is not the one book, the one meeting, the one influencer: Primarily my husband’s support to fairly share the tasks at home and the upbringing of the children, never putting the career of one above that of the other. And as an integral part of me: my own mindset.

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

  • Enjoy technical topics and embrace being a technophile by keeping yourself up to date.
  • Be alert to situations that could be career-enhancing and then have no inhibitions about jumping in there. It is kind of a 2-step approach: Recognise and then raise your hand.
  • Differentiate and decide; if you are interested in a purely technical career, there is a slightly different focus. For this, you are best suited if you enjoy lecturing and sharing knowledge. Never lose interest in new things, stay curious, and try things out for yourself. Whereas, if you are interested in a career in the context of leadership, then, in my view, it is essential to have personnel management qualities: for this, you are best suited if you are naturally empathetic and enjoy being a coach. Success in this position is about seeing employees for what they really mean to an organisation – they are the most important and most valuable assets. What is valid no matter which course you choose is being visible as much as possible. Even low visibility is sometimes better than none at all.

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

YES! Definitely. But it all starts in school already. We need more women-driven school projects, such as coding classes. Women who have careers in technology need to get out more in schools, show what their day-to-day work is like, and take the fear out of it for girls. Because that’s what it is all about: Self-confidence in girls must be strengthened. It seems to be a fatal combination of the educational environment and the general attitude of women.

Let me give you an example: In one of my programming classes on Scratch – which is a nice tool for kids to get their first coding experiences and to code and design their first games – the kids were able to create their own little game. Whereas the group of boys took one of the given pre-designed objects (usually a car) and implemented a parkour. The goal of the game was getting a high score – which car was fastest at reaching the end of the parkour, so they immediately implemented a time counter. The girls’ group on the other hand designed a little painting editor – you could choose which animal you want to draw and then add shapes, change colours and add backgrounds. The sad side of the story was when the boys got to see the girl’s result: they laughed at them. Whereas when the girls saw the car race with the high scores, they might have been bored, but would not dare to laugh at them. The danger is that the girls might lose their interest in programming rapidly.

A mindset change needs to be done, but this also affects us women. We have to stop being discouraged, learn to speak confidently about our talents and showcase them accordingly.

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

I think if you start instilling a very positive image of women in technology in schools, that’s half the battle for companies to make it easy for them to have enough women in technology that they can promote. While I was at IBM, we had targets to get a fixed percentage of women into R&D management. But how could that work if the number of women working in this sphere in the first place is so low! That means we must start earlier.

Additionally, companies should create a positive error culture. You must have the confidence to ask questions when you don’t understand something in meetings and conferences.  And then remind women: Ask questions. Be self-confident. Women must remind themselves and each other to be resilient in the workplace, so when it’s a “Why her?” in the hallway they can handle it.

There is currently only 15% 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?

As outlined before: Change the overall mindset, and have women be more confident.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are no specific recommendations, that would be too easy! Read or listen regularly, and you are done. I would always recommend reading what fits your interests. If you are interested, you have fun while reading or listening. And, then you can easily remember and expand your horizons with it.