To mark International Women’s Day 2022, Information Age is publishing a special series, Women in IT Leadership. We speak with 15 women in various tech roles across Australia about how they got their start in the IT industry, their approach to leadership, and how to encourage more females into technology careers.
Today we speak with Angeline Maronese, MD of Rackspace Technology ANZ.
As a natural optimist, Angeline Maronese has drawn on that trait throughout her career with a determination to always find answers and a way through challenging tasks.
“I always believe there’s a way you can find a solution. And that's probably what led me into tech, because there's always a solution with tech.”
It’s also a philosophy of making the most of everything.
“I try to find ways to enjoy each day, even though it might be incredibly busy and incredibly hectic. I always try to keep sight keep of what's really important.”
After more than 25 years since in the industry, the Rackspace Managing Director for ANZ has been so many changes, within technology and across the industry.
“I've gone from being the only female on the floor, let alone the only one in a meeting room, to now there being a lot more women. It’s fantastic having a lot more females in tech roles,” she says.
The importance of taking opportunities
Putting in the hard work, Angeline has seen how advancement is achievable, but it relies on putting yourself forward, something she believes women could do more readily.
“Often women will think: ‘I need to have all of the skills necessary before I do that role’. But really once you've got all of the skills necessary for that role, you're probably ready for the next role.”
Her advice to women eyeing a move in technology would be to embrace the dynamic, fast-paced industry. “It's an industry that is willing to give people a chance, and that's certainly what happened to me.
“The biggest lesson that I have learned is to always take the step forward, put your hand up, and take the opportunity, even if you don't think that you're actually 100 per cent ready for it or completely qualified. “Take it because chances are you’re probably qualified and if you're not, you're going to learn.
“The message we need to get out there is to really encourage women. So, we need people who will let them step into those roles, but we also need women to put their hand up and say: ‘I'm ready, and I do want to take that on now’.”
For Angeline, leading is also about connecting with people.
“It's one of my biggest passions. Finding the right talent, bringing that talent in and also developing the people that we have is a key challenge and focus for me.
"My focus is around that next generation of tech talent and looking at graduates, and also how we get more women into STEM and provide roles and opportunities for them."
The key attributes that make a good leader that Angeline tries to live by are: empathy and accessibility.
“You have to be able to understand what your team are experiencing, what your customers are experiencing and what your partners are experiencing. You have to really have that empathy, and lead with empathy.
“I think you also have to be accessible. I have a philosophy that I try to reach out to everybody within the organisation…. You have to be genuine, you cannot put on a facade.”
As a people person who loves a challenge, Angeline enjoys tennis in her downtime.
“I’ve just started playing tennis again as a social round. But I can’t help my competitive spirit coming out. Now I'm thinking maybe I drop the social and just join the comp,” she laughs.
But at the end of a busy year of work, the reward is a different sport – a longed-for ski trip.
“I love skiing. One of my favourite things after working hard all year is to take three weeks off and go skiing overseas. That's my absolute must-do and we do it as a whole family. It's a fun thing.”