CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Lena Halbourian, Senior Regional Head of Marketing for Switzerland, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at Commvault, in the latest in our series of Women in Tech interviews.
“Women are demonstrating their strength, resilience, creativity, inclusiveness and power to make a difference in a male dominated world.”
“Having integrity and empathy by understanding the needs of each team member is important, and valuing diversity and different point of views.”
Lena Halbourian is one of the best known and respected marketeers in the technology ecosystem across the Middle East region.
She has enjoyed a decorated career, which at this point has spanned two decades.
In a candid sit-down discussion with CNME, she talked about her career journey, her own leadership style, the challenges she had to overcome, her views on gender-based quotas – and her goals within her own role at Commvault.
Can you provide our readers with an overview of your professional career?
Being a self-proclaimed fashion lover and addict, and having studied advertising, I always wanted to be doing something related to fashion.
However, sometimes life takes you in a different direction, which is what happened when I moved to the UAE almost 20 years ago.
I landed my first job in Dubai working for a tech company and began my career as a junior marketer working my way up the ladder as I moved to different tech companies throughout the years.
I had the chance to work with some remarkable people, many of which became my mentors and helped me advance tremendously in my career.
A theme throughout our Women in Tech series has been leadership. Can you tell us about your own leadership style, and what are the key characteristics needed in a good leader?
My leadership style is a mix of transformational, authentic and coaching style.
I always push my team to create a vision, to innovate and to think outside the box. It is extremely important for me to prioritise transparency, honesty and to foster trust and rapport.
I would like to think of myself as a mentor who is focused on developing my team members by providing guidance, constructive feedback and creating an environment where individuals can learn and grow.
Key characteristics of a good leader are first and foremost being a visionary and communicating that vision to their team, a good communicator who can be clear, but at same time a good listener.
Having integrity and empathy by understanding the needs of each team member is important, and valuing diversity and different point of views.
It is also very important for a good leader to be flexible and to subtly manage change and disruption, plus being accountable for both success and failures, giving credit and taking ownership as appropriate.
We know that in the IT and technology sector globally, only 25% of the workforce is female. Can you tell us some of the challenges you have had to overcome during your career – and what needs to be done to address the gender disparity that exists.
Being in marketing in a male dominated industry, was a challenge in the beginning of my career, as sometimes I used to be the only female in the room, nevertheless I was able to make my voice heard and always made sure to have a place at the table.
I believe the future of WIT is becoming bigger and brighter, as every single day, women are demonstrating their strength, resilience, creativity, inclusiveness, and the power to make a difference in a male dominated world.
Some companies are keen on gender-quotas, but many believe that will impact meritocracy. What is your opinion on quotas?
I don’t believe in quotas. I believe in having the right person in the right place.
It is not about having an equal number of male and female workforce as much as it is a matter of making sure the hired person will be able to perform the assigned job and tasks perfectly and as required.
Having said that, I also believe that the future looks bright for WIT, as more and more people realise the importance of having a diverse workforce in tech, there are greater opportunities for women to enter and succeed in this industry.
Can you tell us about some of the programs Commvault have that are designed to advance female careers in tech?
What I love about working at Commvault is the diversity and inclusion culture we have – and the commitment to building a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected and supported, which helps bring new ideas, perspectives and experiences that are essential to driving innovation and achieving business goals.
Companies, including Commvault are actively seeking out female candidates and many have implemented programs to mentor and support women in tech.
In addition, more women are starting their own tech companies and driving innovation in the field.
There is still work to be done to achieve gender parity in tech, but the future is looking bright.
Can you tell us more about your role at Commvault – and what your key goals and objectives are for the remainder of 2023?
I am the Senior Regional Head of Marketing for Switzerland, Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at Commvault. In my role I make sure our voice is heard in the market, by promoting our brand, improving our market position and building brand awareness. It is also very important, as part of my objectives to grow our customer base, expand into new geographies, improve market position, and continue to be a leader in our industry.