The Total Telecom Congress is privileged to be supported by a huge number of brilliant women from all aspects of the telecoms sector – join us in getting to know some of them

Like so many industries, especially those related to technology, the telecoms sector is one that still struggles when it comes gender equality and inclusivity. While positive steps have been taken in recent years to encourage the next generation of women to enter the telecoms sector, there is still much work to be done to reach anything close to fair representation, especially at the top of the corporate tree. 
Beyond the ethical imperative of social equality, having women in leadership roles within industry have been shown time and time again by numerous studies to be a business necessity. Just a few months ago, a study by The Pipeline showed that firms in the FTSE 350 that had an executive board  where at least one-third of members were women recorded a net profit margin almost ten-fold that of those companies with no women at all. Shockingly, in 2020 only 13 of these 350 companies had a female CEO.
But if the need for women to reach senior positions in business is both morally and economically paramount, why is it taking the business world so long to change? 
This is a question far beyond the scope of this article, but one key issue we would like to raise is that of mentorship. Seeing and interacting with women in senior positions within a male-dominated industry like telecoms is absolutely vital to encouraging the next generation of women to join the sector and to become leaders themselves. At the upcoming Total Telecom Congress we are privileged to be supported by a wide range of women executives from all across the industry and we would like this opportunity to showcase some of them and their exciting sessions.
Lucy Lombardi, Senior Vice President Digital and Ecosystem Innovation at TIM will be talking on a panel exploring the roles that AI can play in numerous aspects of telcos business. With over 20 years experience working with TIM, Lucy has seen first hand how innovation has changed Italy’s largest operator in the last two decades and is excellently positioned to discuss the current future prospects of AI. 
When it comes to AI, Lombardi is not the only specialist speaking on behalf of TIM at this year’s Congress. TIM’s Head of AI Platform, Marina Geymonat, will later be speaking more specifically about how telcos can utilise AI to make better use of their data, alongside experts from Cartesian, Türk Telekom, Sure Group and Vodafone.
In another key session, this time on the Corporate Strategy track, a panel will be discussing how the coronavirus has changed the economy for telcos and how they must shift their sales and marketing strategies as a result. Here, Priya Thakoor, Managing Executive Digital Channels for Vodacom will be in discussion with Jacqueline Teo, Chief Digital Officer at HGC Global Communications, along with speakers from STL Partners, Cisco, Telenor, and Beeline to mull the value of new customer experiences and the differences in strategies across a number of diverse economies. 
In the Network Transformation track, Inbar Lasser-Raab, Chief Marketing Officer at DriveNets will be arguging that cloud-native, software-based networks are the future when it comes to telco architecture. Just three weeks ago, AT&T announced they had selected DriveNets for their network’s core and Inbar is set to explain why.
Finally, in a session focussing on the evolving role of the Chief People Officer and delivering digital transformation, moderator Andrew Collinson, Research Director at STL Partners, is joined by four women set to share their experiences. 
    • Anood Abbas, Head Of People And Culture from Batelco will share her perspective from Bahrain, where the company has launched its 5G services across the country earlier this month.
    • Chantal Free, Executive Officer, Capita People Solutions at Capita, will bring over 20 years experience in solving human capital issues to the fore, explaining how her role has evolved throughout her career.
    • Anna Capitanio, Director of HR Consumer at BT joined the UK’s largest operator just months before the pandemic struck, leaving her well positioned to explain exactly how quickly the role has evolved in 2020
    • Finally, Cecilie Heuch, EVP & Chief People Officer at Telenor will share her digitalisation journey, exploring her role that she says is about the “ways of creating a digital employee experience to support and mirror what the business does towards its customers”
The Total Telecom Congress will be taking place next week on the 27th and 28th of October. For more information about any of these speakers and their sessions at the Total Telecom Congress, please visit the agenda here. Conference passes are still available for the event and we heartily encourage all of you to join us next week – passes are even free for operators and employees in the public sector.
Your pass also entitles you to watch the World Communication Awards, set to take place immediately after the close of the Congress. The ceremony will feature 24 awards, including the ‘Women in Telecoms’ Award. Check out the shortlist here.
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