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Women in Tech and My Interview with Silvia Spiva

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Following up on the popular article on TechAcute about the ‘Women in IT’ Week, I wanted to write more about Women being in technology related careers. I also came across the Hashtag #WomenInTech which has a similar approach but is not only focused on IT but on all types of technologies.

In my research on the contributions into that feed I found out that my friend Silvia Spiva (@silviakspiva) was being one of the users regularly showing up on #WomenInTech. Judging on the great tweets from her I thought this would make for a great interview and luckily enough she agreed to it.

Chris:

Hi Silvia, thanks so much for making time to do this with us today. Let’s start with my first question: What is it that makes technology interesting for you?

Silvia:

Hi Chris, thanks for having me. Let me think.. I am not interested in technology. I am interested in education and entertainment. Technology is a tool.  That is why I’m always experimenting with new hardware, software, apps, because the tools of choice change with time. I remember something you tweeted that got my attention:

Twitter Quote CI

A picture of a cassette. That’s when I started engaging with you on Twitter, because I realized that you understood that technology changes, but ideas are meant to be recorded, shared, and live forever.

Chris:

What is it that you currently do at your work?

Silvia:

I currently manage the social media accounts for Cisco Cloud and Cisco Services as part of the #CiscoDigital team.

Chris:

Is there a difference on working in tech between being a lady and being a guy?

Silvia:

Yes, there is.  And guess what? It’s not always men’s fault.  Many women take themselves too seriously, which makes it difficult for men to joke around.  Women who are truly confident succeed in every way.  They focus on teamwork and getting the job done, not on looking for ways to be offended by men, or other women.

Chris:

How can we get more girls into tech?

Silvia:

The way to get girls into tech is not to use the word tech.  Same goes for boys. I’ve never met a girl or a boy who said: “I want to be an engineer when I grow up. I want to code all day long.”Girls and Boys want to be superheroes and rock stars.  They want to make impossible things happen.  They want to be rich and famous.  They want to change the world. In the business world we call this type of focus “Business Outcomes”.  We can have a conversation about outcomes with children, too.  Focus on the goal, and the skills necessary to reach that goal. A little girl who wants to change the world by bringing education to every remote village on Earth can do so by being CIO/CTO/CMO/CEO of a technology company.  Look for dreamers, because dreamers make things happen.  Don’t label girls or boys.

Chris:

Do you pursue one or more long term goals with your work in technology? What can we do to make the world a better place?

Silvia:

Thank you for asking these questions.  When working with technology, my focus is always on education for people of all ages.  Education isn’t just for children.  Life-long learning is increasing in importance for all types of workers around the world.  The Internet is the tool of our age.  It is the modern printing press.  It is the biggest library of all time.  My focus is always on the ability….the right for anyone around the world to have access to the Internet.  Mobile devices have done so much to bridge the Digital Divide by providing information to people as they need it.  But if you have access to fast, reliable Internet service, you’re still among the minority.

Chris:

How did you initially start your career in the tech industry?

Silvia:

I started as an Executive Assistant at a high-tech company during my last year in university.  I was younger and less experienced that many other people who wanted the high-profile job, but my advantage was in being multilingual.  The job required knowledge of all the languages in the Americas, and I was fully fluent in English, Spanish and French.  I learned enough Portuguese to do well while on the job.  By the time I graduated from university, I was offered a job within the same company in Field Marketing, where my language skills were also needed.  I did much traveling during that time, and became more familiar with the way of doing business from Canada to Argentina.  Lovely people!  The sales leaders taught me to sell ideas, not technology.

Chris:

What piece of technology has changed your daily life the most?

Silvia:

The iPad.

Chris:

How did it disrupt you?

Silvia:

I wasn’t too interested in the iPad when it came out.  Then, I got a job at Apple.  I learned first-hand how the iPad was used in everything from taking notes, to testing apps, to localizing content, to other things I can’t even talk about.  It was the perfect example of a company using its own product.

I bought an iPad for myself, and one for my husband, and we haven’t put them down since then.  Our son has his own iPad, and with it he learned to read English.  The interactive, multisensory features within diverse apps helped him reach a 5th grade reading level before he entered 1st grade.  Now, he is spending his summer vacation practicing Spanish and French.  I know he’s a lucky kid.  I want every child on the planet to have access to this kind of technology (tablets, WiFi).

Chris:

What do you think is the next big thing in enterprise tech?

Silvia:

We have a long way to go before employees are given the tools they need in order to be truly productive.  I’m still amazed that many companies continue to block social media or WiFi use at work.  Seamless collaboration requires the integration of private and public clouds.  At Cisco we refer to this as #HybridCloud.  You can have enterprise security, while giving your employees the freedom to interact with those beyond the firewall.

Chris:

How about consumer tech?

Silvia:

We need wearables and voice-activation.  I will not make it to a happy old age if I’m required to continue to type this much for much longer.  Yes, we live in the digital age.  And yes, digital comes from digits, meaning “fingers”.  But we must find another way to be digital.  A way that is more inclusive of people who are dyslexic, on the go, and just tired of typing.

Chris:

If you could change one thing in the world by just wishing for it, what would you change?

Silvia:

I would make everyone understand the importance of birth control. There are 7 billion of us in the planet.  That’s too much.  That’s not sustainable.  Technology is not going to get us out of this mess. Please be responsible – check out this page: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Chris:

If you were to interview me today instead of it being the other way around, what would you ask me?

Silvia:

Where do you see the next wave of innovation happening? Would you move there?

Chris:

Thank you, that is a very good question. I think there is a lot of innovation happening in many parts of Asia as of now. I also see a lot of fantastic startups in Eastern Europe. However I believe the strongest innovation happens in intercultural and interregional groups. The internet enables such people with similar interests to work together and collaborate online on projects. So I suppose that the ‘where’ might be virtual and present in the Internet. And would I move there? I think I already moved there. 🙂

Thank you, Silvia, for a great interview. I really appreciate your time and effort and I hope that our readers do as well. Keep doing what you do, because you’re great at it.

Find us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/SilviaKSpiva
https://twitter.com/ChristopherIsak

Photo credit: Silvia Spiva
Editorial notice: Interview was shortened to support readability and clarity to the reader.

Christopher Isak

Christopher Isak

Managing Editor at TechAcute
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. I love readers who leave a comment. 😉
Christopher Isak

@ChristopherIsak

Tech Journalist ✖ Founder of @TechAcuteCom Magazine ✖ Geek and Gamer ✖ Love LOLs and Tea ✖ INTJ ✖ 爱茶
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Christopher Isak

Christopher Isak

Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. I love readers who leave a comment. ;)

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