From “Waiting for Mike” to ‘Vote for Mieke!’

Not so very long ago, when I was wondering why we didn’t start the planned meeting, the others said: “We are waiting for Mike”. Turns out they thought I would be a man, and ‘Mieke’ was just a spelling mistake. Today, I can proudly announce I’ve been nominated for ICT Lady of the Year, and humbly ask you for your vote.

Click here to vote

Let’s start with the ‘Mike” anecdote. Could I blame the men in the meeting that they were expecting another man at the table? Not really: I’ve always been one of the few women in a man-dominated industry. As a student in industrial and civil engineering, as an ICT professional, I’ve always had to - sometimes literally - make my name. But, I must add, as soon as one realized that I performed as well as my male colleagues, I didn’t face any obstacles or friction. Motivation, talent and enthusiasm prove more important than gender, at the end of the day.

That’s why I am so excited to work at SAS! I remember that when I started studying as an engineer - I was tempted by the robots they displayed during their introduction days. Since then, AI have been a recurring theme in my career. I was involved in a Phd research at University back in 1994, explaining how AI could help predict when best to induce labour, but it was hard to apply AI in a business environment in those days.

When technology was sufficiently advanced to apply AI in day-to-day contexts, it seemed inevitable that I end up at SAS, one of the organizations that is most actively involved in developing and implementing the intelligence required to fully benefit from AI.

My nomination by Data News as ICT Lady of the Year thus seems the recognition of two main themes in my career: the growth and maturity of AI on the one hand, and the increasing acknowledgement that ICT ladies are - at least - as good as ICT gentlemen. That’s why I would like to end this blog with the slogan: “forget about Mike, vote for Mieke!”