Portrait of Jessica Szenker, Business Development Manager at Transactis
What is your professional background? When and how did you join Transactis?
I have a Master’s degree in Cell Biology, but like many people who studied the sciences, I switched to computer banking after my studies.
I have spent almost my entire career in Société Générale Group, since I was hired there in 2010 after two and a half years as a service provider in the Payments Department of the Information Systems Division of Crédit du Nord. Then I joined Société Générale in 2012, still in the Payments Department of the ISD.
I joined Transactis in 2017 at the same time as my colleagues in Payments; I also led the project of integrating the Payments teams and applications within Transactis!
How do you see your job and the progress you have made today?
What attracted you to IT?
I have a totally atypical career path, since I transitioned from biology to IT (COBOL analyst, project manager) and then to cross-functional assignments (organisation, budget management, sourcing, offers, etc.) and finally to the role of business development manager.
When I look back, I see a winding road that has taught me so much! About IT, payments, banking, and all cross-functional areas. Communication, finance, legal, purchasing… I’ve met a lot of people with different and complementary backgrounds and skills, which was very enriching for me.
Initially, I found that IT was a way to satisfy my logical and cartesian side. I have always liked challenges, finding solutions, testing, observing, and trying again, until it works. And then, as the years went by, I moved away from pure IT, but I continued to grow alongside it even as I was distanced from it. And I’m still looking for solutions, but in a different way. And with a relational and strategic dimension that brings out the best in me professionally.
How did you get along in this male environment?
I had gone to work in Biology Research (a very female-centric field) and I found myself in IT, in a very male-centric environment. It has not always been easy, because unfortunately we are still the target of clichés, especially when you are a young woman who has not studied computer science. But as the years went by, I was able to prove my worth, and attitudes changed too. It’s important to remember that we have a lot of allies, both in the company and in society at large.
What can you tell us about gender diversity at Transactis? How are the interactions between men and women?
At Transactis, I have found that there is always goodwill between men and women. It is a company on a human scale, where women are represented at the EXCO level (even if it is more in the support functions) as well as in the operational departments.
I think IT fails to attract many women, probably from the time of study, and that’s a shame. Few women study IT and, ultimately, few women end up working in IT.
IT is seen as a man’s field, especially for developers… But it includes many different jobs. I think we really need to talk about this variety of jobs.
However, I have found that women like me can have a great career path in IT even if they were not predestined for it.
Furthermore, I think I bring a touch of lightness, humour, creativity and “madness” to all the projects I lead or contribute to.
Can you sum things up in a word?
There are so many jobs in IT; whether they are passionate about the technical or the functional side, women can find their place!