Diversity, equality, and inclusion is more than just a goal for the technology world — it’s a necessity. That’s why Mission Critical hosts the annual Women in Technology contest. As the demands for data generation, consumption, sharing, storage, processing, and more continue to grow and cybercriminals become increasingly more threatening, it’s clear that the industry needs more people to collaborative on innovative solutions to consumer needs, sustainable connectivity, and cyber safe infrastructure.
Women from all over the world in a wide range of technology sectors, including data centers, health care, and food processing, were nominated for their admirable contributions to the industry and the people who rely on it.
As Rebecca Ellis, president of Questions & Solutions Engineering Inc. and one of this year’s winners, so matter-of-factly put it, “If technology is to benefit all people, then all people need to be represented in the development and application of that technology.”
And, with that, Mission Critical is excited to introduce you to the 2022 Top 25 Women in Technology.
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Company: Supernap (Thailand) Co. Ltd.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in applied sciense from Rotterdam University, the Netherlands; certified in artificial intelligence from MIT Sloan School of Management
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: Certified Data Center Professional, Certified Data Center Specialist
Organizational Affiliations: Chapter leader of Infrastructure Masons - Thailand and member of the Thailand Management Association, the Netherlands Thai Chambers of Commerce, the Belgium-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce, and the Telecommunications Association of Thailand
- Completed on schedule, from the ground up to go live, the construction of Supernap (Thailand) the most advanced purpose-built data center in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), using concrete and steel infrastructure and world-leading patented innovations.
- Offering the most advanced critical infrastructure services, with the highest data center standards in Asia-Pacific and 100% uptime since opening; powering the ability of businesses to succeed in the escalating global digital revolution; supporting Thailand 4.0 program; and reinforcing its position as regional hub.
- Achieving an average PUE rating more effective than any other data center in ASEAN, accompanied by 33-kW capacity per cabinet, which no other data center in the region matches, resulting in a suitable and sustainable critical infrastructure for organizations to reduce their environmental footprint with leading technological innovations.
- Supernap (Thailand) will be the first data center with at least 50% local renewable energy in the country by 2022, joining the global movement toward clean energy and supporting our clients reaching their own green milestone.
Awards: APAC’s 50 most data center and cloud influential leaders 2018 and 2020, iMasons IM100 Award 2020, and Women in ICT Shining Star Award 2021 (Channel Asia)
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
Actually, I was not focused in pursuing a career in technology. The technology/data center industry chose me.
More than a decade ago, I was approached for a data center vice-president position while having no experience in the digital industry but I had gained some start up experience in my former positions and that was one of the main reasons why I was approached for the position. Overseeing the construction of the facility and its commissioning activities seemed a very exciting opportunity at the time, so I seized the opportunity and since that moment I have had the passion for the data center and technology industries.
More than 10 years later, I am truly grateful to have found a sector where learning, improvements, and possibilities are limitless. It makes waking up every morning quite exciting.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Having unlimited ground to learn and improve or to create and capture opportunities is very inspirational.
Moreover, I have reached a position where I can make a difference — for women, as an ambassador; for students by creating internship programs; for my employees by making sure they have good benefits, work conditions, and access to trainings to improve themselves; for my clients by delivering the best services; and also for the nation I am living in, Thailand, by providing the most advanced data center technology and services and setting the highest data center standards in the region.
What role does sustainability play in your life?
Sustainability is another inspirational domain where possibilities are countless, and actions make a difference. I believe that it is the current generation's responsibility and duty to develop and maintain sustainable solutions for the future generation to continue to prosper on our planet.
At the data center, we are proud to have a very low PUE, one of the lowest in Asia actually, meaning that Supernap's (Thailand) energy usage is truly optimized. It enables a low footprint for our company and for our clients. We also provide our clients with real-time access to energy usage data through our data center portal, so they can optimize their equipment and data processing to minimize energy use.
Supernap (Thailand) also has a waste management policy in place to reduce and recycle, our lavatories are highly efficient in saving water, we do not use bottled water, and we hold workshops for our employees to learn to manage their waste better at work and in their homes.
And, last but not least, we are looking forward to running the first data center with at least 50% local renewable energy in the country by the end of 2022. This accomplishment will enable enterprises to further reduce their carbon footprint and reach their own green milestone by joining the global movement toward clean energy.
What is the most fascinating thing you have learned while working in this industry?
How people and businesses are directly or indirectly supported by data centers.
People often do not grasp enough how important and complex our industry is and how vital our role is to businesses and the end-user, who at all times want to be able to access their apps, data, files, pictures, etc.
We always have to be innovative to be able to facilitate the need and upcoming tech developments that impact the carbon footprint demand.
AI, IoT, IIoT and many other developments all highly effect the demand for data center availability. The wave of information distribution, processing, and storage will continue to grow, and I am highly fascinated how our industry supports the continuous growth.
What’s something unique about you personally?
That I never step away from a challenge once I commit myself to it.
In my personal and professional life, I always try to look for challenges and to push myself to learn and develop. I was fortunate to work in different geographical locations globally, with different cultures and different levels of professionals, which enabled me to adapt to many situations and help contribute.
My mother has always indirectly inspired me to stay focused, see the bigger picture, and make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. She still is an inspiration in my life, and, although she has no technical background, she always makes sure that I stay ambitious and show that women can thrive.
What’s something unique about you professionally?
I have no technical bachelor or master’s degree.
I have always been fascinated by the tech industry from my early teenage years. Based on my managerial skills and my interest in the tech industry, I was able to enter the data center industry and develop myself at a rapid pace into the position where I am today. I am still very humble and thankful to the people who gave me the chance to be ambitious, and I am very glad that I was able to make them proud.
What’s your most admirable quality?
I always try to be accessible and to inspire people around me by showing high professional standards and giving them a chance to grow and develop, and, when they do, I am very happy to have contributed to their growth.
Having the right knowledge, experience, and standards is very important in our industry. It creates trust and peace of mind that you are dealing with the right person who is there to partner with you.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion important to you?
The demand for digital talent is growing faster than the supply, leading to many vacant positions. Fortunately, Thailand is way ahead of most countries in our region when it comes to women working in STEM fields.
While gender diversity is a growing area of focus in the region for many organizations as they recognize the benefits of creating more balanced workforces and leadership teams, I have always been strongly committed to ensuring that Supernap (Thailand) allows no discrimination in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age, and national origin.
Opening paths to women’s employment is extremely important for sustained economic growth. It is primordial that social inequalities are addressed and opportunities are made available for all to flourish and thrive in terms of rights, security, economic opportunities, and well-being.
As the female leader of the pioneer regional data center, my goals are to continue developing and delivering innovation and excellence, through the powerful and permanent commitment to values, which include inspiring and supporting female talents across Southeast Asia and developing a sustainable future for everyone.
What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
The pandemic has accelerated the use and growth of cloud services and everything-as-a-service to the next level. As more companies embrace cloud and service-based IT to drive innovation and transformation, the demand for cloud services will see an exponential growth the coming years.
The aspect for improvement is automation/digital transformation. When the pandemic began more than two years ago, it catapulted many organizations into the future, rapidly accelerating digital transformation. Work environments had to change overnight as companies realized they were not ready to work from home and that their technology, systems, equipment were outdated. Companies were losing revenue because they were not able to transform their businesses fast enough, nor were thet able to capitalize on the e-commerce growth.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
We will live in a more futuristic and virtual world, with the rise of robotics, electric vehicles, and the developments in the metaverse. Technology, the globe, and people will be, more than ever, connected with each other.