Monika Nowak-Toporowicz, Chief Technology Information Officer
Can you tell us about your role?
I’m one of four Chief Technology Information Officers in the T&I organisation. I cover Slovakia and Poland. I manage about 300 people; about 10% of the team are women. My goal is that 30% of the team are women in the future – but I’m a realist.
What is your background?
When I was younger I wanted to be a psychologist. I studied biology and chemistry at school, but realised I was better at maths and physics. I went to University in Poland and graduated with a computer science degree.
I started as a Network Engineer in a Polish bank and spent lot of time in banking and finance. I didn’t realise what a big change it would be going from finance to telecoms.
I’m extremely extroverted. In my heart, I enjoy working with and meeting new people. As we evolve to become more digital, it’s more important than ever to build strong relationships – digital will never completely replace people.
And what does an average day look like for you?
The majority of my day is spent focusing on the team. The question I ask is how we can drive forward the experience for customers in Poland and Slovakia and continue to stay connected to the broader T&I organisation.
What’s your experience of being a woman in engineering?
When I started I thought I had to be doubly good as a man. I believe it’s all about self-confidence. Unfortunately, young girls don’t always believe they can do it.
Before I joined Liberty Global, I’d been a Network Engineer for two years and I went for a new role in engineering. The hiring manager at that company wouldn’t talk to me because I was a woman. I called his boss and got an interview, but at that point I knew the role wasn’t for me. That experience was a great motivator.
Six years ago, I created ‘Engineering Technology Wears a Skirt’ with a group of friends – an NGO (non-profit organisation) with the aim of driving self-confidence and diversity in IT and Engineering. We created a programme of mentor and mentees, which are made up of 50/50 men and women.
What do you think about the engineering opportunities at Liberty Global?
I think they’re amazing. There’s so much opportunity. One day to the next is so different.
In eight years I’ve done five different jobs. Ultimately, we’re here to deliver fun for our customers.
Who inspires you?
My friends from the NGO. They help me to focus on passion and what makes life better. I have a friend who set up her own company and I’m in awe at how she manages everything – work and family.
I’m a mum of two kids and have a great husband. They inspire me too. My daughter who is six years old reminds me that life is simple. When I think ‘what should I do?’ she helps me to keep things simple.
I don’t necessarily split my home and work life – I want to be happy whatever I’m doing.
If someone is wondering whether a role in engineering is for them, what advice would you give them?
Go for it! It’s absolutely for you. There’s a lot of flexibility with engineering roles – you can work mornings, nights and there’s great mobility too. It’s interesting and you can have stability. You get to meet people from different countries and cultures. You’ll never be bored!
Thinking of this year’s theme #transformthefuture – what would you like to change in the future?
I would like to help more women get into in engineering. I think it starts early at school. I’ll be continuing the NGO, where the focus is on improving self-confidence in women.
I want to remove the glass ceiling and help people believe you can do anything!