InterviewsSecurityWomen in Technology

I Do Not Believe in Micro-Management: Dr. Angelika Eksteen

Arabian Reseller speaks to Dr. Angelika Eksteen, the Chief Strategic Officer for Strategic Security at Help AG

Tell us about your leadership style and philosophy.
Only employ people that are better than yourself! My team is the biggest contributor to success, and I do enjoy supporting people and helping them grow into more and more senior positions. I do not believe in micro-management. Rather I give people the room to develop and take responsibility and I also believe in leading by example.

Women in the field of technology are definitely in the minority, so why did you decide to pursue a career in tech?
I don’t believe that should be a deciding factor as my decision to follow a career in IT was based purely on my interest in the field. Yes, it is true that, traditionally, there are far more men than women in information security. Personally, however, I do not feel uncomfortable with this as I am used to that situation – I studied mathematics and computer science, and the male to female ratio there was often even more challenging.

How has your unique background prepared you for success in the industry?
My time at university helped me shape my thinking to pair analysis with problem solving and emotional skills, and this approach proved useful in my business life. I also never stopped learning and keep an open mind to new ideas and challenges.

What was your most interesting job?
My current role with Help AG is extremely exciting as it constantly presents me with opportunities that keep me motivated. For example, one of my biggest contributions has been the role I’ve played in the development of local standards. I have a long history of involvement in international standards, and it was a true pleasure to use this experience in the local context, helping to make local information security and business continuity standards successful.

I also see value from building this business here in Middle East – when I started to introduce strategic security services to the market, it was not a well-known subject. Being able to change this is an achievement which is not just good for Help AG, but also for the community as it helps all organizations to be more secure. This is particularly important considering the latest developments regarding cyber crime.

What advice would you give to women looking to break into the field of computer technology?
I have found that women are as talented as men in information security, and that the different strengths and viewpoints they bring to the team contribute to better quality results! For this reason, I have always staffed my team with men and women, striving to achieve an even 50/50 split.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?
The greatest and most powerful transformation in technology I have ever seen is recent, but it outstrips – in my view – any other technology development of the past due to its unique and incredible potential to reform the overall work life: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The evolution of AI happened silently, and almost not noticed by the public, and will change many, many jobs, and create big new potentials. But it also has a threat component. The challenge of the future will be to manage this situation successfully.

What are your thoughts on the next transformation in the tech industry?
There are so many different and very interesting developments; the Internet of Things and Cloud Computing will, from my point of view, play a very influential role in the next years. The impact on the market is far greater on the longer term as we are currently only seeing the start of it. Another interesting trend is the analytics that will become necessary to make use of big data- this challenge needs big answers.

Are you involved in any sort of volunteer work? Can you give us some details?
I am currently not involved in voluntary work due to time pressure; if more time was available, I would be interested in any voluntary work related to wild life, horses and/or children.

What’s next for you in terms of your career in the tech industry?
Technology is changing more and more rapidly, and the next challenge in my career will be to stay topical with relevant changes, but also not to forget lessons learnt in the past to apply the latest developments in the most beneficial way.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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