Natalie Harrison, Head of Marketing, Epson, Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, spoke with TECHx this year on International Women’s Day about her experience with Epson and the role of women in tech industry. See what Natalie has been up to.
TECHx: What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?
Technology plays an important role in shaping the world we live in both now and in the future. Epson is investing in creating technology to address the impact of climate change, something I feel strongly about, so being a part of a technology company looking to the future for the benefit of us all is exciting and extremely gratifying.
TECHx: How have you dealt with challenges throughout your career?
Challenges present opportunities and a chance to learn and develop. From personal experience, having a strong team and support network around you helps. I’ve also been lucky to have people I could turn to for advice when needed.
TECHx: How do gender balance and a diverse workforce contribute to the success of an organisation?
A diverse workforce helps organisations draw from a range of views, skills and experiences. Many organisations recognise this including Epson Middle East, and are working to improve workplace diversity.
TECHx: Do you have a female role model? If so, who is she and how has she inspired you?
Throughout my career, I have had many role models and mentors – not gender specific and have been lucky to have worked alongside (and for) multiple inspiring and supportive people Within Epson, the culture is very much in line with this – striving for an open and honest environment in which we can all thrive. I personally aim to be someone who is fair and who always supports their team – both day to day and in their career development.
TECHx: What is it about your work that excites you?
I am fortunate enough to be in a position I am excited about, working for a company I believe in. Epson covers so many interesting and exciting product areas with more projects in the pipeline so there is always something going on to keep you involved and interested.
TECHx: With technology moving so fast, how do you remain updated?
Working in the technology field, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest technology trends, and to be looking at what’s likely to come next. Working within Epson, I’m immersed in not only the current technologies that we and our competitors provide, but also in those we’re developing for tomorrow. Of course, reading technology news and attending conferences and exhibitions is important, but it’s also interesting to me to know what our R&D teams are looking at, what they’re working on. These forthcoming developments fascinate me – for example our part in the development of a new form of bioplastic (plastics derived from biological sources) as part of a collaborative consortium, and our commitments to developing sustainable technologies. Knowing what we have in the pipeline means there is always something to look forward to and because Epson is societally and environmentally minded, I can feel good about the technologies I get to work with.
TECHx: What’s your favorite motivational quote?
As the late Steve Jobs once famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”. I truly believe in the power of being passionate about what you do, which will help you be focused and determined.
TECHx: Among all the gadgets you use, which is your favorite?
With technology playing a major role in many aspects of life, it is hard to choose one. I am a big fan of the Epson home cinema projector, which is my main screen at home, and allows me to immerse myself in TV and movies in a way a smaller flat panel can’t. Within my home office, I use an Epson EcoTank (cartridge-free) printer as it allows me to print thousands of pages without needing to refill the tank. This means I don’t have to think about it, and I don’t get caught needing to print but out of ink. And of course, I’m addicted to all Apple devices, from the smartphone to the iPad and iWatch.
TECHx: When it comes to progressing in a leadership role, what are the most important traits? Can you give one piece of advice to young females who are considering careers in tech?
The best piece of advice that I have been given is to set yourself goals. These could be small things to try to achieve every day or bigger things to aim to achieve during your career. If you always have something to work towards then you’ll always be moving towards something.
Regardless of gender, people should follow their interests. Not everyone is lucky enough to work in the area that they would choose to so if you can then that’s something to be proud of and grateful for. Technology companies are always looking for enthusiastic and talented people so the best advice I can give anyone is to research what you need to work in your desired field, do you need a certain degree or qualification? Can you get work experience placements or internships? Are there conferences or exhibitions you can attend to further your knowledge and network? You need to get yourself on the right track, believe in yourself and keep going.