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Q&A with Vineesha Satwani

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Vineesha Satwani , Advisor - Digital Strategy & Transformation

Describe your professional life in a few words?

I work in the field of digital transformation and strategy. Some of the positions I have held in my career include Advisor to the Ruler’s Office to top government leaders, Senior Consultant in a global consulting firm, MENA Region Women in Tech Ambassador, Advisory Board Member for digital transformation and cyber program in the UAE, and Chief Digital Officer leading transformation office for a government entity. I have consulted over 40+ government and Fortune 500 companies. As part of my work, I have defined digital strategies, set up transformation capabilities, improved government digital services, designed & implemented emerging tech use cases, led large digital initiatives, and supported organizations achieve leadership goals by improving the digital maturity of organizations. I am extremely passionate about the work that I do and the meaningful impact that it creates.

How could you describe your career path? What made you choose this path and what drives you?

Growing up in the UAE, I was constantly inspired by the country's rapid growth and the visionary leadership of its leaders. As a child, thanks to my parents and my brother, I was instilled with the belief that I could achieve anything if one has faith and works hard. I knew that I wanted to make a meaningful impact on the world, and I saw technology as a powerful tool that could help me do just that due to the scale of impact that can be created. That's why I decided to pursue a career in technology.

I have worked for public sector entities in UAE and even as a consultant in top global multinationals. As part of this, I have worked on truly transformative initiatives that made a meaningful impact on everyday life for millions of citizens. This made me stick to the field of advisory and consultancy in the digital and tech space.

After completing my engineering degree, I began working in various MNCs and consulting firms, gaining valuable experience and skills along the way. Eventually, I decided to join the government as an Advisor of Digitalization in the office of senior government leadership, where I could use my expertise to support the government's vision through digitalization.

In my role, I have developed digital strategies, established transformation capabilities, improved government digital services, designed and implemented emerging tech use cases such as artificial intelligence, metaverse, RPA, consumer behavior analytics etc. and supported organizations in achieving their leadership goals by improving their digital maturity. I have also led large digital transformation programs and transformation offices, and have been fortunate to be recognized for my digital expertise by the UAE government, multinational firms, and UK's top tech jury, as well as receiving some of the most prestigious awards in the Middle East. My pitches proposing unique solutions to solve real world issues received grants from top notch judges from organizations such as Facebook (Now META) and Careem.

What is the most meaningful impact you believe you have created? What are some of the accolades/awards that you have received?

What I love most about my work is seeing the impact of my digital initiatives on the lives of residents. It's truly rewarding to be able to make a difference in this way, and it doesn't feel like work when I love what I do. In addition to my professional work, I am also involved in various community philanthropic initiatives and am the country chair for a global non-profit focused on creating opportunities for women in the technology and innovation field. As a Google Tech Women Ambassador for the MENA region, I am also committed to contributing to the agenda of increasing the number of young women in tech. I am also an international speaker and enjoy discussing emerging technology and women's leadership. Overall, I believe that "the greatest satisfaction in any work is derived from seeing its impact, and technology provides wings to this impact," and I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in this way.

In terms of awards, I was fortunate to be recognized by government and international jury for my work. Women in Tech 2022 – A World Conference

  • Women Leader of the year 2022 – GCC Awards

  • Digital Accelerator in UAE 2022 – Local Summit in UAE

  • Future Star of Tech Finalist – Organization Change Management/Transformation - UK Top Tech Jury of Largest tech magazine of UK (Information Age)

  • Roads and Transport Authority award due to success of a tech project (UAE Government)

  • Protiviti Exceptional Performer award (Youngest woman to achieve this award)

  • Honoured with the Title Daughter of the Emirates as part of the program sponsored by national entity and non-profit organization.

  • World Women Leadership Congress “Women Leader”

  • Certificate of Achievement – Daughter of Emirates

  • Distinguished Speaker – 2022 (Data, AI and digital transformation)

  • Jury member Achievement Award – Stevie Awards for technology and Innovation

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?

The key success factor for a female leader or manager is resilience. Being a leader can be challenging, and women often face unique obstacles and bias in the workplace. It's important to be able to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and persist in the face of adversity. One example I can recall is one of my dearest childhood dearest friends – Ana; she would never let herself be a victim to circumstances and always fought back and stood up even stronger. Today, she is a successful entrepreneur of a company in spite all the challenges she had faced. True inspiration is sometimes around us and very close to us through our parents, friends etc.

Other important success factors for female leaders and managers include:

  • Confidence: Having faith in your abilities and ideas is essential to inspiring confidence in your team and making bold decisions.

  • Communication: Being able to articulate your vision and ideas clearly and effectively is crucial for gaining buy-in and support from your team.

  • Empathy: Being able to understand and connect with the needs and perspectives of others can help you build strong relationships and foster a positive work environment.

  • Adaptability: Being able to pivot and adjust to changing circumstances is key in a fast-paced business environment.

An inspiring quote that speaks to the importance of resilience in leadership comes from Maya Angelou: "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."

An analogy that can illustrate the importance of resilience is that of a tree in a storm. The tree may bend and sway in the wind, but its roots remain firmly planted, allowing it to weather the storm and emerge even stronger. In the same way, a resilient leader may face challenges and setbacks, but their core values and beliefs allow them to remain steadfast and come out stronger on the other side.

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