Belén Ripoli featured

Inspirational Woman: Belén Ripoll | Global Partnerships Business Manager, Cloudreach & Founder, Wagora.io.

Belén RipoliBelén Ripoll is Global Partnerships Business Manager at Cloudreach and founder of Wagora.io.

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

I have been working at Cloudreach for nearly 4 years, and have held different roles. I currently work as Global Partnerships Business Manager, and prior to that I led our Talent Acquisition team.

Before moving into the tech industry around 6 years ago, I worked in the sports industry for about 10 years, both in Spain and the UK. I started working at the age of 16 as a tennis coach a few hours on the weekends, and a couple of years later, while at university, I started combining my studies with a full time job in the same company where I held different roles in 7 years.

After 7 years, I knew that in order to take my career to the next level I would need to be proficient in English. I decided to move to the UK not speaking English fluently at all, and consequently, I had to take a couple of steps back in my career to start off with. Scary times back then but it has now paid off!

In my spare time, I lead a community of women in tech called Wagora which I founded a few months ago. Wagora is a community dedicated to empower, connect and advance women and underrepresented genders working or aspiring to work in tech. Wagora was born from the back of some Tech Women meetup groups I had been organising for about 3 years. I had been wanting to do it for a few months but I barely had time - then the pandemic hit and there was no excuse (the only silver lining!)

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

If we talk about 3-5 years planning, not really. Even if I plan that far, I'm sure it'd divert somehow! However, I follow an 'agile career plan', where I set myself goals and areas of development for the year ahead and work towards them. Having a good mentor is key.

The technology industry often moves at a fast-pace, and new opportunities arise as your skills and knowledge evolve.

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

I have indeed faced some challenges. My biggest one was to move to the UK not speaking the language, or understanding pretty much anything. I knew I had to take a step back in my career because of that, and that was mentally challenging. It was not only challenging career wise, personally my first year in the UK was a difficult one, yet one of the best ones.

I'm an ambitious person and a bit impatient at times I have to say... Mentally, it was tough. I knew I could do much more but at the same time, I really couldn't - it was very frustrating but I'd do it all over again.

Being a young immigrant and trying to fit in when you can’t speak the language isn’t easy, and I'm very thankful to those who have helped me and supported me along the way.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Overcoming my biggest challenge has been my biggest achievement.

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

My hard-work, curiosity and resilience. You can always learn new skills and acquire new knowledge, but your attitude and effort will always set you apart. Attitude is a multiplier of your skills and knowledge.

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

As I just mentioned, attitude is key. Be curious, work hard, be a team player. Help people around you without expecting anything in return - it’ll come back to you.

I also highly recommend to network and find a mentor. Don't be afraid to ask for help and guidance.

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

Yes I do. Objectively, looking at the number of women in leadership positions, women entering the industry & women backed by VC companies, there has been no meaningful improvement in the last 10 years - numbers have remained the same.

There are still barriers for women to succeed in tech, and people will have different opinions on what these are. Amongst other things, we need more women in leadership positions and decision makers to change the status quo.

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

Firstly, companies should put their money and effort where their mouth is. What is your company meaningfully doing to support and advance women? It is great to have D&I and employee resource groups, but action needs to follow. Work with the community and other organisations out there to really make an impact and drive change.

Secondly, companies need to make sure their environments, policies and processes are inclusive. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand, and should your company not be inclusive, you're just doing a tokenism exercise.

There is currently only 17 percent 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?

More women in leadership positions.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

You should check Wagora's website: wagora.io . We're always looking for volunteers and like-minded partners that want to drive change in advancing women in the tech industry!

3 book recommendations: Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking, Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men & The Chimp Paradox.


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