I have pool with Simone Highlights women, role models with which generations Y and Z will build. Discover the interview ofIsabelle Mashola, co-founder of Isahit directed by Sophie Dancourt, founder and editor-in-chief of I have pool with Simone.
"Isahit is not an army of invisible little hands, but rather an active, enriching, multi-cultural, learning community, focused on the fulfilment of our women's professional projects. Or how to transform the social drifts of digital labour into a positive equation for all. The life stories that come back to us from our hostesses push us further every day. " Isabelle Mashola, CEO and co-founder of isahit
Have you made your career in large groups?
I'm a trained engineer. At the exit of my school I went to do an internship in London. EDS An American box was looking for engineers who spoke English well and in the years 80 it was not common. I worked in London and Germany, after I went to CISCO or I stayed 13 years in business intelligence functions. Then after I joined Dell in IT functions and marketing. In 2009 I went back to Publicis, my first experience of big French structure where I was IT director.
So the current talk about women and digital is talking to you?
I am active in two associations to boost women on digital. I find it very unfortunate 30 years after my exit from school that there are still so few women. It continues to be very macho in the digital. When I was at Publicis I managed teams of 400 people. Constantly I was fighting so that we would not make heavy reflections. When I started my career I wore skirts but more today!
"Recruiting a girl in a conglomerate of guys who are moderately polite and make two-ball reflections is very complicated!"
You were a pioneer. How did you fight this sexism 30 years ago?
I don't have my tongue in my pocket. If I walk on my feet and I walk on my feet! I was able to respond politely by not returning to the game of small reflections. I have some self-confidence. I worked for two years in Germany. In 89, there were very few women at work because there was no infrastructure to keep the children before they went to school. During the meetings I was looked at when someone wanted a coffee. And I said, "The machine is next!" But I do not want to portray the situation in black as it does not prevent a career. The thing to avoid is to get into a game where you behave the same way.
Does that mean staying on your own?
You have to stay firm on the square. You mustn't become a BIS man. We have different sensitivities and skills that is what makes the diversity of a team. For younger generations, there are more women in technical positions. I had few role models, and the ones I had were American worse than men at CISCO and DELL. It was the same type of woman, married, working 23h/24 and having no empathy. My experience was more unpleasant with women than with men and I didn't want to become like her!
Is that why you choose to change your professional life?
Tipping is not done in a day. I've always been a very whole person with very strong personal values. Injustice, respect, equality, sharing is important to me. When I'm at CISCO I'm 30 years old it's a box that goes up, I want to progress. There are some things that I like moderately but my priority is to have a promotion, more responsibility. At 40 years old I have other ambitions. I have a child, I'm more mature. And I bear less and less that we jostle my values. The company has become harder and harder. There is a strong enough tension and I accepted it less and less.
How was Isahit born?
A friend of mine created a endowment fund ten years ago. With the idea of helping young entrepreneurs women in Africa. In Burkina Faso, dryers were purchased from cereal processors to work during the rainy season. And in Cameroon, sewing machines to seamstresses. We worked with NGOs that manage the first emergencies (food, care). But once this step past what makes you have a future? We are convinced that it is work! The world is changing. We move from a vertical organization to a horizontal organization and there is the "geek economy". It was on all this reflection that the idea of Isahit was born. A platform that allows you to give work to distant people. We choose Africa and only women because I am convinced that digital is a real lever of autonomy and financial independence for women. Without digital education It's still the women who are going to drink!
"Today there are 2 billion people living on less than $2 a day, of which 70% are women."
After a successful career as an information systems manager in large companies, Isabelle Mashola decided it was time to put her professional experience to responsible use.
Digital changes the deal in terms of outsourcing and asks many questions. While the criteria for choosing external partners are gaining to take into account CSR and commitment factors, some go further and propose to help businesses work with people from struggling populations.
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