Business Break Lunch with Anna Navarro Schlegel
- Acknowledging your own merits … “Why not?”
- The team determines the success of a project: be confident and listen.
- We all have a superpower and must be able to convey our value proposition in the length of a lift ride.
- Gender equity in the technology sector means having women in product development teams and in key positions.
- American companies have such a large market at home that they often do not see globalisation as profitable.
- A well-organised agenda is essential for taking on management positions.
Woman, philologist and european: not an obvious starting point, but one that has not prevented Anna N. Schegel from being recognised as “the woman with the greatest impact on the world of technology in 2020”. Born in Olot, ambition and a global vision took Anna Navarro to California and from there around the world.
At the age of 24, shortly after arriving in the United States, she founded The San Francisco Translation Company, her first company, with which she helped to introduce products in various international markets. Despite being a philologist, she soon realised that “translations are only one of the fifty things you need to do to globalise a product”. Anna Navarro Schegel has made a brilliant career for the great technological exponents of Silicon Valley. She is Vice President of NetApp, has co-founded three NGOs and is an award-winning author for her book “Truly Global”.
When she was told of Analytics Insight’s recognition as the most impactful woman in the world of technology in 2020, “at first I was surprised, I spent two or three days hiding. I thought I was not the most important woman, I was put above Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (Google). But later I said: why not?”, explains Anna Navarro. She recognises that it is not easy to reach the top positions: it is a long road, a project that is built on a daily basis. But she encourages other women to bet on the technology sector.
Women have been particularly hard hit by confinement. In California, many women workers have left their jobs to care for their children. Thirty per cent of tech company workers are women, but “when you look at what that 30 per cent is, it’s usually lawyers, marketing or communications. In the technology teams where the products are created, the presence of women plummets to 5% or 15%: this is where the difference is made”.
Many US companies do not see the leap to the international stage as a clear option, as the US already has a large enough market and they do not see it as profitable to explore possibilities in other countries. Convincing top management that it is important to cross borders and helping to make this possible have been two of Anna Navarro’s key tasks in her career. As she explains, “by investing in other countries you make two things: money and allies. That is why the work of Barcelona Tech City is important, to explain why companies should be created and set up in Catalonia”.
Anna Navarro’s success has been a process, a daily struggle to break down barriers. But according to her testimony “we all have a superpower”. To progress, you have to be connected, know how to transmit your value proposition in the time it takes to travel in a lift, and form a good team. “Surrounding yourself with the best team will make or break your success. You have to be confident and listen a lot,” he advises.
His agenda is an orderly reflection of a position with many open fronts. He explains how he organises herself: “Monday technical reviews, Tuesday meetings, Wednesday projects with different NGOs, Thursday meetings with managers and Friday I don’t do any meetings, it’s the day I think about what has happened this week, I answer and read emails”.