Tech’s a very dynamic fast paced environment and that for me suits my personality
Hema Marshall has enjoyed every stage in her tech career so far. She’s taken on a number of different jobs over the 9 years at Cisco, ranging from marketing, strategy and planning. Currently she’s Head of Country Digitalisation and Skills at Cisco but who knows where tech can take her next.
What is the most enjoyable part of your current role?
I always tell people that I’ve got the best job at Cisco as my job is predominately working with people. I spend all of my day working with people, whether that’s apprentices, graduates, or those early in career. I spend a lot of time looking at how we can create diversity in the organisation. So yeah, I do have the best job at Cisco.
What is your educational background like?
I am educated up until degree level with BA honour in English literature and language from Birmingham University. I loved English and I love books.
What inspired you to enter the tech industry?
I originally wanted to do journalism but then I accidentally got involved in tech and started working for a tech company. I think the attraction to tech is that it changes every day. There are new technologies, there are new ways of working and there are new ways of communicating with people. That was the bit that attracted me to tech.
What do you like about the tech industry?
The tech industry has a different culture to other industries because it’s very workforce mobile in terms of having the ability to work from anywhere, any place, any time – which is great. I think that it’s a very dynamic fast-paced environment and that suits my personality very well.
What advice would you give to young people?
Whether you’re a graduate, apprentice, a women, a man, be open to the possibilities that tech can offer you. Your career is not going to be linear. Your career is not going to be down one path. Experiencing new things is a really good idea. I’ve done a variety of roles and all of them enriched my learning, so I think the idea of being open and exploring your hidden potential is key.
Has being a women impacted your career in tech?
It has affected my career because I’m more passionate about getting more women into tech. I have a very large family who are predominantly in the finance sector and I spend all my time trying to convince them to come into tech. I do think that tech has a lot to offer. The reason that tech is so good for everybody is that there are jobs that don’t exist today that will exist tomorrow; there are jobs that are yet to be created. In all the time I’ve been here I never thought 9 years ago that I would be doing this job, or working around such talented people.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
The ability to believe in myself. Having my son is a great achievement but from my selfish point of view, I think my biggest achievement is finally believing in myself.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m a huge believer of not looking that far ahead. I want to move as the technology moves. I want to say, in 10 years time, that I grasped every opportunity that was put in front of me, and that I didn’t let those opportunities pass me by. I want to say that I actually had the confidence to do it.