Contributing to change & equality for women in tech | Blog | bol.com

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Leading with compassion

Raised in Cairo, Egypt, Noha knew from a young age that she wanted to become a programmer. “After obtaining my degree in Computer Science and gaining experience in various software engineering roles, I started looking for my true passion and purpose. I have always had a natural inclination to work with people, providing them with support and guidance. This motivated me to grow my knowledge by enrolling in leadership courses and obtaining my management degree.”

In search of a better life and greater opportunities, Noha moved to the Netherlands with her husband and 3 children. Following various roles at ING and Ikea, she now finds herself leading and guiding a large team of engineers at bol.com. “I believe that my life’s purpose lies in serving as a compass for others and this translates to my job. By applying authentic leadership, I empower the people in my team to always bring their true selves to work. There is no need to be someone you are not, authenticity is key.”

Paving the way for women in tech

Noha has recently been promoted to Principle Engineering Manager and her leadership style has played a significant part in obtaining the role. “I was almost the only woman applying and, at times, really questioned myself in the process. Once I got the job, I was told that my diverse way of thinking, my compassionate leadership style and my international background brings a new and unique perspective to the table. I can’t wait to get started on this new chapter, and combine it with my work for the Women in Tech initiative.”

When asked about Women in Tech, Noha’s eyes light up as she explains, “Our aim is to ensure equal opportunities, career development, and a safe workspace for female employees at bol.com. We work together with a team of strong and accomplished people coming from various fields within the organization. This creates a great opportunity to implement company-wide initiatives that address gender inequality.”

She continues, “We are very aware of gender imbalances in certain departments at bol.com. That’s why we are creating toolkits, based on thorough data research. These toolkits empower department managers to support their female employees by encouraging growth and by openly discussing their aspirations. I believe that as compassionate leader, it’s essential to embrace and support differences between genders, rather than pressuring women to conform to traditional masculine norms.”

Embracing the journey

Noha is actively contributing to other Women in Tech initiatives such as establishing a women’s cafe and participating in a role model campaign. In collaboration with bol.com’s Employer Branding Department, she also seeks ways to attract more women to the company.

“I now feel, more than ever, that I have really found my place. Bol.com perfectly aligns with my core values. Besides contributing to a more equal workplace, I get the freedom to be authentic and embrace my imperfections. I’m also given opportunities for personal growth and skill development, and I’m able to share my knowledge to support my team members’ growth as well. By offering flexible hours and hybrid ways of working, we also get the opportunity to enjoy a great work/life balance at bol.com, something that is very important to me.”

When asked if Noha has a message for other woman achievers she states: “You have to remember that no journey is easy. It’s important to embrace the experience, learn from both triumphs and challenges, and maintain a positive attitude throughout. Furthermore, I strongly encourage people to search for their purpose and values early on in their careers. It will help you make the right decisions in life and find a job that you truly love.”

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