For the tech industry to be successful, it is crucial to have diversity of thought and approach

June 27, 2019

This week, as part of our #HGWomenSpotlight, meet Maryam from CIBC.

Growing up, Maryam Hosseini’s dream was to become a Genetics Engineer curing all diseases; she did not envision a career in technology. Today she helps employees across CIBC get the best experience when it comes to their technology needs. In her role as Senior Director, Employee Technology Delivery & Adoption at CIBC, Maryam works with an awesome team of about 60 people. She was recently promoted to the position of Senior Director, a huge accomplishment. Maryam helps employees learn how to adopt new technologies so they can use them to their best advantage to help serve CIBC clients.

Maryam is a big supporter of women and diversity. She is an active member of the #movethedial working committee at CIBC which aims to raise awareness on the importance of diversity in technology and supports initiatives to increase the number of women in technology and leadership roles at CIBC.

This year you visited Our Lady of the Annunciation Elementary School. How did the hackathon go?

The girls were amazing! They had taken the time to learn how to code prior to the event and were comfortable with the programming language. What I noticed and loved the most was that they had fun coding.

Throughout the day, the girls worked together as a team. They were researching, asking questions, and brainstorming — all important skills needed for collaboration and problem solving in our lives and jobs. I hope we can continue to increase the number of girls who learn and interact with coding as a fun experience.

Why do you think it’s important to support girls in schools and in the middle school years?

It’s crucial that we encourage young girls to get involved early on, giving them the opportunity to experience coding. It’s all about problem solving, creativity, imagination, and working together to build something out of nothing. That’s one reason why CIBC is a big supporter of encouraging girls to pursue STEM programs. In November, we hosted “Take Your Girl to STEM Day” at CIBC. We introduced a group of girls in grade 6 to 8 to women role models working in the STEM fields. We strongly believe that if you see it, you can be it, which is why we also support and distribute the See It, Be It, STEM It calendar to showcase inspiring women who are passionate about STEM.

What do you think is the best part of being a woman in the tech industry?

Some people may think it’s intimidating to be one of the few women in a room filled with men, and it definitely can be in the beginning of your career, but I totally find it empowering. My team is great at welcoming and encouraging all ideas around the table. Every single person brings a different flavour to problem solving, and for the tech industry to be successful, it is crucial to have diversity of thought and approach. Diverse groups result in improved collaboration and innovation, higher satisfaction and engagement and improved client relationships, leading to stronger financial performance and economic growth.

What message do you want to share with young women considering technology as a career option?

Technology careers are all about collaboration, creativity, problem-solving and helping others. If any of this sounds interesting to you, go explore STEM courses throughout your schooling. It’s not just math and physics alone. We need to get past these misconceptions.

What are the most critical changes that we must make to face the future effectively?

We must get better at having diverse teams: diversity of opinions, approaches and solutions. For the world’s big problems to be solved (like climate change) and for any company to be successful, we need a good balance of perspectives. We also need to get better at helping our younger generation discover and develop their interests, taking risks and learning a diverse skillset.

If you could travel back in time, what would you tell your younger self?

I was always interested in STEM, mostly science and biology, but I would tell my younger self to be open to exploring more. Worry less about the future and have fun learning. I would also believe in myself more!

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