Always Look for the Opportunity: An International Woman’s Day Celebration
Mar 7, 2015
We’re excited to have Q&A with TechWomen participate Alaa Fatayer as part of the year’s International Women’s Day celebration. Thank you Alaa!
Juniper Networks is celebrating International Women's Day today by spotlighting participants of our TechWomen program! Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
When you were a kid, what did you imagine that you would be when you grew up?
I have always imagined growing up and becoming a teacher. Now I am in Engineering and Technology fields. I have no clue how my dreams changed so much, but I have a feeling that I will end up going back to my first dream, becoming a teacher. There is something about helping shape the minds of the next generation that enthuses and excites me.
What led you to a career in network engineering?
I've been through phases in the past when I was working in different fields of Engineering from which I gained a very good experience, but I've always loved doing challenging jobs! And nothing as challenging as Technology and Telecom are! That’s why I decided to move to this world that is constantly evolving and changing, and I can’t get enough of it.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding part of being in Technology field ,for me, is the time spent solving the problem that seems impossible to have a solution for from business people’s perspective, which means innovation is always set to “on” mode when you work in such fields.
What do you think makes your job unique from other careers?
I love working and communicating with people as much as I do with systems, and I think the place I’m currently in charge of requires having a very good technical background along with business one. I have to understand the company’s and business’s vision, translate them into technical requirements and finally configure the system in a way to adapt the new changes. So basically you have to let both the technical and business sides be always present at the same time which makes this position really unique.
Have you had to or are you still overcoming challenges as a women in your field?
Unfortunately yes, Engineering and Technology are male-dominated fields in which people tend to underestimate women capabilities of doing these kinds of jobs, so in order to be visible, you have sometimes to work harder –sometimes even harder than your male counterpart- to prove the very opposite.
Did you have a mentor or role model?
Yes, I did.
Which women in leadership roles do you admire?
Women when confronted with a challenge, they look for the opportunity within. They see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, Optimism is their mindset because they see opportunity in everything.
What would you tell young girls who are interested in science and math?
“Isn't it time we told her she's pretty brilliant, too?” this is the thought-provoking question that one of my favorite videos which promotes science and math for girls who really love STEM fields ended with.
Girls, follow your passion, show that the good work being done is not only by men.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies or interests?
I like reading, travelling, exercising and hiking.
What’s on your list of goals for 2015?
I have many, some of which are personal others are professional goals, but on the top of the list I have;
1- To start a useful, popular social project to help my beloved people in Palestine.
2- To network more.
3- Improve a work-life balance.
4- To Force myself out of my comfort zone more often, as I believe that the moments you've never experienced before, are the ones you’ll remember.
Tell us about your Tech Women experience with Juniper?
Although I spent only one month at Juniper networks, but it was a life-changing experience indeed! On the personal level, I got to know wonderful people who have become mentors and friends for life! Besides, it was my first time to work in such diverse community that has this large number of different nationalities and ethnic groups, I learned how powerful this diversity can be and how to accept others just as they are, because our differences make us unique.
On the professional level, the schedule prepared for us was really full and rich! We had the chance to meet great people and role models in the field, discussed ideas and learned about their journeys. I also was a member of a staff who created a very welcoming environment for me. Everyone is willing to help each other out in order to get things done. I liked how my mentor, Shawne Van Deusen-Jeffries, would explain the background behind every assignment she gave me. This way I would get to learn more about Juniper as well as gain valuable working experience that will benefit me in the future. I also had the chance to work with people in several different departments. This also allowed me to gain a better understanding of what Juniper is all about. Moreover, I also had the opportunity to attend very interesting trainings and sessions.
Overall, I would consider my experience with Juniper Networks to be a great one. This is definitely something that will stick with me for a very long time, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in it.