[Women in Tech] Untapped potential needs to be recognised and empowered, says Shaked Avraham of NetConnect Global
An organisational consultant based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Shaked Avraham has more than a decade of experience in managing and consulting with large organisations, specialising in leading and assimilating processes of organisational change that enhance growth and maximise potential. She has expertise in globalisation, emerging markets, growth strategies, market creation, and ecosystem development.
Shaked Avraham is the Director of International Relations of NetConnect Global and also Co-Founder and MD at Shepha, an international consulting, business development and investment banking firm, supporting mid-size, large, and Fortune 500 companies based out of Israel and India.
She has majored in BA behavioural science specialising in marketing and PR and MA in organisational consultancy and business development from Tel Aviv.
In an interview with HerStory, Shaked talks about growing up in Mumbai, her role at NetConnect Global, life as an entrepreneur and her biggest inspirations.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
HerStory (HS) Tell us a little about yourself.
Shaked Avram (SA): I am the Co-founder and Managing Director at Shepha and the Director of International Relations at NCG.
My father is an entrepreneur who has lived in India for more than 18 years, and this is how my journey in India started when I was 15 years old in Mumbai. Though most of my education was completed in Israel, I completed three years of my studies at the American School of Bombay.
My higher educational journey began with a BA in behavioural science with a specialisation in PR and Marketing. I did my MA in organisational consulting and business development, with a specialisation in strategy and change management. I knew that my passion was to combine it all; the way I see India, Israel, people, and organisations. I love making them all come together and handholding others in their journey, making it as outstanding and successful as possible.
HS: What drew you to STEM?
SA: I was always interested in various industries, and in my daily life, I am involved in many different ones. Supporting Israeli companies in the Indian market got me deeply involved in technology companies as this is one of the biggest strengths of Israel and one of the most extensive needs in India.
HS: Please take us through your career.
SA: From a very young age, I knew a lot about the nitty-gritties of owning a business, as I come from an entrepreneurial family. My love for business is reflected in my studies as well. This is why I studied organisational consulting. I envisioned doing something that I could call my own. That dream came true with Shepha, a consulting firm based in Israel and India that serves companies globally. Apart from this, I am also a part ofas the Director of International Relations.
HS: Tell us about your roles and responsibilities?
SA: Being a director of NCG involves strategising, planning, and executing bilateral and multilateral relations with global multi-sectorial customers and partners in countries like Israel, Europe, the US, etc. In addition, I focus on end-to-end alliances for NCG and facilitate international cooperation for both premium professional services and their technology offerings.
At Shepha, my responsibilities revolve around general management across all our business verticals, ensuring daily operational requirements are met with time and ease. Furthermore, I constantly learn about the market's trends and changes, which helps me strategise and keep track of our targets for our clients.
HS: Tell us about working with a team.
SA: I work with a few teams with different expertise for each client. I have experts by sector for defence, tech, agriculture, water, and more. I have diverse knowledge in finance, manufacturing, supply chain, business development, market creation, and more. I choose my teams, most importantly, by people; I love to surround myself with passionate, engaging, kind people so that, together, we grow, learn, and enjoy every day.
HS: How did you face the challenges of working in a pandemic?
SA: Working in an international company and not being able to fly is a challenge. Working with people and not being able to meet them face to face is a challenge. Working in penetrating new markets with new companies when the business world is unstable is a considerable challenge. All these and more made us better, more creative, and more flexible. With offices and teams both in Israel and India, we were able to work all the time and the need of us being on ground all the time because so valuable to our clients.
HS: What can be done to retain women in the tech workforce?
SA: Over the past couple of decades, the gap between the talent women behold and the opportunities provided to them has surely decreased. There is an abundance of untapped potential that needs to be recognised and empowered. We need to work to strengthen the ground laid for us when it comes to empowering women. For any employee, the key to retaining them is to respect and compensate adequately for their work and the time they devote to the company. Retention is directly correlated to the policies we have for our workforce. An approach that reflects inclusion and respect will be able to retain employees.
HS: What have been your biggest successes and challenges?
AV: Success for me is living a peaceful, happy, and joyful life. Also, to be in a position to explore and fulfil my dream and passion.
HS: Do you mentor women in tech?
AV: With only a fraction of women in tech, it can sometimes be challenging. Connecting with women who want to find their way or advance their careers in the tech industry is an honour for me. I can help them through my learnings so they can deal with the difficulties they face in their journey.
HS: Why is networking essential for women in tech?
AV: It is essential to be surrounded by like-minded people who support you and your career and also by people who inspire you and can help you navigate your path in the industry. In addition, forming long-term business and personal relationships, collaborating, and sharing experiences are essential for growth.
HS: Why do you think there are very few women in leadership positions in tech?
AV: A high dropout rate for women across sectors leaves a significantly low number of women on the active job front. Stereotypes and barriers in society prevent women from accelerating in their careers. Even though women today are breaking biases, we have a long road ahead, and I believe women are ready to take the pilot seat!
HS: Why should every organisation have an equal opportunity mindset?
AV: Inclusivity and equal opportunity encourage employee wellness and create a healthy environment for employees to learn and grow. In a diverse workplace, different cultures come together to bring various ideas and perspectives, making the organisation a safe space for all. To achieve this, business leaders must prioritise equality and promote inclusivity in the workforce and workplace.
HS: Looking back, is there anything you would like to change about your career?
AV: Reassessing my life and career choice today, I can think of a few things I would have done differently. However, making mistakes and learning from them is a part of the journey. We learn through failures, and these learnings have significantly affected some of my future decisions and contributed to my personal growth.
Edited by Teja Lele