Young ICT Lady of 2022
Great news: Bélise Songa, team manager at Colruyt Group IT, has been elected Young ICT Lady of 2022! This title is awarded annually by ICT magazine DataNews to women who set themselves apart in the IT sector. Bélise does so with great passion and enthusiasm!
Congratulations Bélise! Did you expect to win?
“Not really, the election was a long process. First there was the selection within Colruyt Group, then I received the news that I was among the last ten selected people of the DataNews award and many votes later I was among the last five. Then came the moment suprême, convincing the jury with a short pitch: who am I, why am I taking part in the competition, why do I think it's important to put women in the spotlight, what does my career look like, etc. I think my enthusiasm and passion tipped the balance.”
And you didn't even train as an IT professional. That's quite something!
“I trained to be a lawyer. In one of my first jobs, I managed a team of lawyers and analysts. I followed several different IT training courses to be able to give my team members the best possible support and to have a better understanding of what they were doing. Later, I worked as a consultant and gained even more IT knowledge. In March 2021, in mid-pandemic, I made the switch to Colruyt Group IT, where I am currently team manager at Digital Customer Services. It's a great challenge: my colleagues and I can still learn a lot from each other.”
What are your plans for 2022? How will you fill your role as ICT Lady?
“Since my participation, I've met many new people and been offered several opportunities. I was invited to join Women of the World on a study trip to Dubai to discuss gender equality in different contexts with a group of women. Impala Bridge, an organisation which, in Belgium and Burkina Faso, helps to give young talent access to IT, also asked me to be its ambassador this year. I will go to schools and job fairs to inspire young people. And at Colruyt Group itself, I've also been given the opportunity to encourage young (female) talent to work in IT. All these initiatives ensure that I can do what I love doing: supporting people and guiding them in their career.”
What did you think of the competition itself?
“It was great doing it. I had an amazing support group within Colruyt Group IT. Not only women, but also men. This was not a competition just for women, we all joined forces! And I also met a lot of people through the competition, like the other ICT Lady finalists. We've already agreed to meet up again after the award ceremony. I can only recommend this whole experience!”
Finally, do you have any tips for women - inside or outside of IT?
“Don't be afraid and dare to experiment. Even if something does not immediately turn out how you initially wanted it to, you will still learn a lot from it. Being yourself is also important. Women have specific competences and we should be proud of them. Show what you're worth and what you can do! More specifically for IT, I would like to emphasise how incredibly interesting this sector is. IT is far more than just programming, the sector has so many facets. Many different profiles are required. To anyone thinking of a career switch: discover the wonderful world of IT and see what's possible!”