Increasing the number of women in comms is a major challenge, for sure, but according to Intel's Aska Keddy, the next challenge is moving beyond your comfort zone and exposing yourself to "different points of views, market insights and approaches to problem-solving," in addition to building a strong pipeline of women in leadership roles.
Keddy is vice president in the Platform Engineering Group and general manager of Next Generation and Standards at Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) She is responsible for fostering innovation and industry standards in mobile communications, including investigating and developing new technologies, ecosystem intelligence and collaboration and translating those activities into products. Women in Comms checked in with her via email to get an understanding of her management style and how the industry can recruit and retain more women.
Women in Comms: Tell us a bit about your background, philosophy and/or leadership style.
Asha Keddy: My responsibilities include fostering innovation and industry standards in mobile communications. This encompasses investigating and developing new technologies, ecosystem intelligence and collaboration and translating those activities into products. I am passionate about designing and developing tomorrow's mobile technologies to create the future for the wireless ecosystem (4.5G to 5G, connectivity evolutions and platform evolutions) and translating these into products.
WiC: What do you see as the biggest issue facing women in comms today?
AK: I am excited about the changes that are underway to increase the opportunities and visibility for women in technology. For example, STEM education programs that foster interest among young women in technology will be key to improve the gender gaps in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The next challenge is extending beyond our current comfort zone of surrounding ourselves with people who think and act as we do. We need to cultivate a workforce that encompasses different points of views, market insights and approaches to problem-solving, as well as continuing the momentum to build a strong pipeline of women in leadership roles to influence their companies' technology development and strategic direction.
WiC: What can we, as an industry, do to recruit, retain and/or promote more women?
AK: To encourage more women to become masters of technology and science and take on greater roles in tech in general, I believe that the encouragement and support must start at an early age. Working with schools and parents, especially with children of households where parents are not from a technical background, is key to encourage women to take on greater roles in technology. I also believe it's important to grow a support network, including enlisting men.
WiC: Are there any programs you or your organization are involved with that you'd like to highlight?
AK: I am most excited about 5G, as it will help enable a fully intelligent, connected mobile society where billions of devices will connect with each other to bring new experiences to our lives. With multi-gigabit per second links and applications in industrial and smart cities, 5G will be present in all aspects of our daily lives and in ways that we can't even imagine.
With this future, we can fundamentally help transform our lives and our planet. We will likely see billions of sensors in smart buildings, and in wearable devices that could monitor blood pressure and even brain functions. In the area of energy management, these sensors can be placed in utility meters, street lights and water systems to reduce costs and carbon footprints.
WiC: What is your biggest piece of personal advice to a woman pursuing a career in the next-gen comms space?
AK: Diversity of thought, views, experiences and culture are critical to thriving in a global economy. Embrace innovation and risk-taking and extend beyond your comfort zone to encompass different points of views and insights. Enable a culture where everyone can leverage experiences and differences.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading