Saskia Van Uffelen

SVanUffelen2Saskia Van Uffelen is a dynamic mother of five and CEO of Bull Belux, a company that provides IT services to public authorities and private companies. People are the most interesting part of her job: “I stimulate a team of about 300 people to collaborate together efficiently”, she says. “I manage three generations at the same time. Having such a high degree of diversity in an organisation is an opportunity but it’s also a challenge”, she admits.

In 2012 Saskia was appointed Belgium’s first Digital Champion to encourage young people, and especially girls, to take up jobs within the digital economy. Saskia is strongly dedicated to getting more young women into ICT studies and careers: “I personally want to lead by example, and to prove to young women who may still be reluctant to get involved in studying technology as it is well worth it.”

Her advice to young women is: “just be yourself and have passion in all you do”. This is what motivated her to launch the ‘IT is Cool’ initiative in 2011 which aims to improve the image of IT in Belgium.  “Too many people still think that IT is only for male nerds. We need to change this image”, she says. Saskia already visited several schools throughout Belgium and talked to hundreds of students about the exciting career opportunities in IT.

Saskia likes to coSaskiaQuote2mpare IT to electricity:  “IT is everywhere so if you work in the ICT sector you are at the centre of everything. IT is indeed the backbone of all kinds of businesses, this means that as an IT professional you can work in almost any sector, I don’t think there is another type of career offering so many opportunities!”. “The sector changes very fast and therefore every day is different”, she adds.

Starting her career as a receptionist in an IT start up, Saskia’s responsibilities increased over time. “Working in a startup helped me develop my organisational, financial and communication skills, and at the same time I discovered the wonderful world of IT!”, she explains. “A lot of the technical training came from the execution of my different roles. Self-study was also a key part of my job development”.

The IT sector can be very technical but Saskia considers that the skillSaskiaQuote1s needed to thrive in IT are not so different than in other sectors: “Marketing is marketing, sales are sales, listening to a customer is critical in all sectors. So yes other competences are also critical to succeed in the ICT world!”. In 2011 Saskia was awarded ICT Woman of the Year in Belgium in recognition of her successful career and her overall contribution to the sector.

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