Francesca Sartori is Head of 5G Sales e2e Europe at Nokia and finalist of the ITP’s Women in Telecoms Award 2016. We chat to her about her career and women in tech.
Can you tell us about your telecoms career history so far?
My career started more than 25 years ago. After finishing an electronic engineer degree, I was hired by an Italian company with business in the telco sector. It was not an “official” apprenticeship, however I spent the first semester with a tutor who was really supportive and helped me to move from the “school” mindset to “working” mindset (I remember him still after 25 years 🙂 ).
After that, I took many roles from HW designer to System Architect, from Standardization Representative to Senior System Engineer, then I moved to a Product Line role with special focus on European customers.
After the merger between Nokia and Siemens, a second part of my career began. In fact, I moved to less technical roles such as SW Sales Manager responsible for Europe, Customer Marketing Head for South Europe, Global Operators Business Strategies Head and, since April 2017, Head of 5G Sales e2e Europe.
Of course, the technical skills and technical knowledge have been always one of the relevant and distinguishing factors to be kept updated, however I have also developed other capabilities, like leadership and coaching skills, analytical and decision-making abilities, experience in working in virtual international teams, the capability to easily adaptive to new challenges and responsibilities, and presentation skills.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Being able to achieve excellent results in any role I have had; meaning I am able to leverage what I have learnt and, at the same time, extend my capabilities to go beyond what was required.
How important is mentoring to you? Have you been mentored or mentored a colleague?
Mentoring is an essential aspect in developing people. I am a mentor and I have “mentored” several people and I have been advising many colleagues seeking support and guidance.
What did becoming a finalist mean to you?
Becoming a finalist last year proved that my achievements, experiences, my abilities and skills are valuable and recognised outside my company and my closer working team.
What has happened since the awards?
I am more motivated to keep pushing and improving as much as I can in any opportunity I am involved with, not only at work, but also in personal matters.
What advice would you give others considering entering an industry award?
Be yourself, be honest and try to define clear goals, and be ready (and sometime even dare) to take opportunities might come unexpectedly. If you work with passion and professionalism, the results will be acknowledged.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in telecoms?
Have an open mind, do not only think/focus on what is happening in telco industry, but try to be updated in as many sectors as possible. In the future, the board lines among industries segments will be thinner and thinner and something relevant in other verticals might be useful for telco as well.
Read more about this year’s ITP Awards.