ISACA'S SHELEADSTECH PROGRAM SEEKS TO INCREASE THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP ROLES AND THE TECH WORKFORCE.
Get to know one of the pioneers in blockchain in the Philippines, Catherine Anne Bautista-Casas.
The technology profession has always been led by men. As our world begins to embrace diversity and inclusivity, we generally see the shift wherein more women are actively leading the development in information technology.
ISACA Manila Chapter’s SheLeadsTech Committee’s featured ‘Women in Tech’ recognizes Filipinas who bring wealth of contributions to the technology profession. For the first feature this 2021, we’ll get to know one of the pioneers of blockchain in the Philippines, Catherine Anne Bautista-Casas.
Cathy currently is the Head of Blockchain and Fintech Business Development of UnionBank. She joined UnionBank fresh out of college as a statistical analysis officer having graduated from University of the Philippines with a BS Statistics degree. At the very onset she wanted to work in a bank as a teller considering that her favorite toy was a yellow cash register. She has built her career, moving up from Professional Staff to FVP in roughly 8 years and in 2017 started to think about the big SHIFT which made her move from Treasury, where she was head of Foreign Currency Emerging Market Bond, Derivatives and Structured Products Portfolio and then to Private Banking, where she helped setup the unit, and finally to the Fintech Group with her first project – the Bitcoin ATM.
When asked who she looks up to in the profession, her answer “I don’t usually look that far for inspiration. I see and get these everyday as I work on my projects. I see it in each of the developers, delivery leads, solutions architects, IT support people, operations and risk people, etc. I look up to their persistence, patience and passion for getting things done. I look up to those who, despite not getting as recognized as the project owners or stakeholders, still continue to give their best and take pride in the things they contribute.”
One of the most fulfilling projects she handled during the pandemic is to lead the team that worked on Bonds.PH a collaboration between the BTR, PDAX and UnionBank. It was first app that allowed even the underbanked and OFWs to participate in the Progreso Bonds offering of the Philippine government, the proceeds of which was meant to support sectors affected by the pandemic. She shared that it was truly an honor to be part of that collaboration.
Cathy has always felt that she was given the same opportunities, same chance to contribute, and move up in the career ladder. She has already seen women in the Board room and in top management and never felt it was just a place for men. For her own unit, they don’t really hire for gender, but for skills, passion and character. She mentioned “Having the willingness to learn, grit, persistence, willingness to collaborate and excellent communication skills are must-haves for any woman considering pursuing the profession."
In an industry mostly dominated by men, seeing other successful women also continues to inspire and motivate her. Cathy who keeps herself updated has been really burning hours studying and immersing herself in the Fintech world. Being a mother of two, she tells her children “Follow your passion because you can do anything you want to do, and be anything you want to become. You just have do it and you have do it everyday. There is no limit to what you can achieve- only limit is really yourself.”
When asked on how she de-stresses, her reply is simply “Morning prayer time with my husband, singing, reading, playing with the kids, being a plantita, and listening to music.”
Cathy has always thought also that Tech- development will already be a basic skill in the future. And the young women starting out their career now will be the mentors, leaders that the future young women will be looking up to. Cathy takes pressure positively and stated “everything I know, and everything I have, comes from God.”
She has shared that at this point in time she sees equal opportunities for both and women and believes that the IT Professionals of today will be the leaders of tomorrow, and hence, more women in this field would mean, more women leaders in the future, as everything goes digital.
As to the definition of success, Cathy’s own words were “Success for me are moments when I am able to do things that I have committed to do-be it at work, or at home. Moments that allow me to inspire others, celebrate with people I love and that push me to become a better person.”
Truly an inspiring woman in tech.
Conversation with ISACA Manila Chapter’s Power-Woman President, Isa Ojeda-Enggay
The technology profession has always been known to be led by men. As our world begins to embrace diversity and inclusivity, we gradually see the shift wherein more women are actively leading the development in information and technology.
ISACA Manila Chapter’s SheLeadsTech Committee’s featured ‘Women in Tech’ recognizes Filipinas who bring wealth of contributions to the technology profession. In this first issue, there’s no better power woman to get to know more but our very own ISACA Manila Chapter President, Isabelita Ojeda-Enggay.
Isa, soft-spoken as she may seem, is no ordinary woman. She is the third female president of ISACA Manila Chapter and is the first female president after 15 years. Isa was also awarded as the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Exam Top Scorer in Asia at Kyoto, Japan last 2009 and was the only female awardee at the event. On top of being the current President of ISACA Manila Chapter, Isa also works as Vice President-Compliance Risk Management Officer for a multinational bank. She has 18 years of experience in different management disciplines including Audit & Assurance, IT Compliance & Corporate Governance, IT Risk Management & Business Continuity, Information Security, Physical & Facility Security, and Data Privacy. Recently, Isa was recognized as one of the Top 10 Women in Security by the Philippine Women Cyber Alliance (PWCA).
Surprising as it sounds, a career in IT was not her first choice. Isa was a business major back in college. At the beginning, Isa does not have an idea on what the IT profession or career could offer nor was she exposed in the IT industry. Being a business major, she only viewed IT as a business enabler. In her first job as a Management Trainee in a bank, she was first deployed to Internal Audit, then was later transferred to IT Audit. That was when her career in IT began.
According to her, “It wasn’t really planned, it just so happened that I was in that place at that time and I had to adapt and learn what I need to in order to thrive in this career. It was very helpful that I am a member of ISACA. For me, the certification paved the way to get a structured knowledge around IT because at that time, it was not covered in my college years. So, that’s how I began with my knowledge and learnings.”
As she expands her IT experience and as the IT industry continuously matures, her view has shifted in a 360-degree turn. She said “When I started my IT career, it was around that time when the internet was improving. So previously, it was all static pages and over the years, I’ve seen how the lives of people are changing because of the internet and the use of mobile technology.”
As she pursues her career in technology, she took inspiration from great women leaders, as she feels happy and proud seeing women CEOs heading the organizations and leading the business.
Never did Isa feel that she was treated differently because she is a woman. All organizations where she became part of provided equal opportunities for men and women. She strongly believes that as long as you are knowledgeable and capable to deliver results, you will be recognized regardless of gender. However, she admits that there are still times when disparity between men and women specific to the IT profession is observable. She said, “There are a lot more men, for example, in the IT Department especially in the earlier years, but it doesn’t mean that there is gender stereotype. I think it was more around, probably, women were not exposed that much in having a career in technology.”
Isa believes that encouraging women to join the IT profession, or any other male-dominated profession, should start at home. Parents should treat their sons and daughters equally, motivate them both to determine what they want to do in life, and give them equal opportunities to showcase their talents and abilities. Because at an early age and with the right guidance, children will gain the confidence needed to interact with people and to do what they aspire to do. Isa further said that children will always bring these values wherever they go.
Isa believes that as a manager, she has a big responsibility to promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. She said, “If you are managing people, you have a big responsibility in terms of their career and development from hiring, to developing and to promoting people. You also have an influence as well to promote diversity. As a manager, you must see people based on their capabilities regardless of gender, then, I think you would be contributing in a way, to the balance of diversity in technology.”
In the IT industry that is still evidently dominated by men, Isa puts herself forward without fear. For her, it is not about proving herself to be equally capable as men are, but rather, she is motivated by her own personal responsibility to do her best. With conviction, she emphasized that “You have to be happy with what you’re doing, with how you’re contributing. It doesn’t matter what your gender is as long as you do your best and you live up to your values. Then, people will notice you, and they will recognize your efforts.”
Despite having different responsibilities as a leader, mentor, wife, and daughter, Isa still manages to be kept up to date with the fast-changing technology as she exposes herself to these as part of her job and by being an active member and the Chapter President of ISACA. She shared, “We have lots of training to offer in ISACA. We give opportunities for people to learn and we have a lot of resources at our hands by being members of ISACA. We just type in and log-in to our system / website and we can get all these knowledge and frameworks available to us.
Our jobs gives us the ability to be up to date with trends and new developments And of course, I think on a personal level, it’s really how you manage your time as long as you’re able to fulfill your responsibilities into different areas of your life and if you’re learning and still continue learning, you’re exerting efforts in what you’re doing and giving it your best, then, I think you’d be able to do everything all at once.”
As a woman with passion and commitment in the IT profession, Isa sees that women should possess self-determination in order to progress in this field. Women should be certain of their objectives, should not be afraid to challenge things the way they are, and should always be open to learning. Isa further defines success as, “Being able to do what
you love to do, being content and happy with what you have done, with what you have accomplished and contributed in however big or little way it is. As long as you have that self-fulfillment, and you know at the end of the day that you have made a difference and you have lived your values well and you are surrounded by the people you love. I think I would consider myself successful.”
When asked about how she handles pressure, Isa mentioned that pressure is relative. For her, “ When you’re able to set priorities and you’re aligned with your manager or the board or whoever you need to manage as a stakeholder, as long as they know what you’re working on, what objectives you are trying to achieve and that you are both aligned and contributing to the overall objective of the organization. Then I think that pressure can be managed.”
With regard to her de-stressors, Isa shared that relaxing involves spending time with her family, her cat Sprinkles, and eating. Like most of us, Isa really loves to eat a lot! She also ensures to disconnect from gadgets and other distractions, pausing and leaving everything behind, from time to time. She also exercises, meditates, and does yoga.
Isa believes that there are equal opportunities for both men and women in the technology profession. She observes that there are a growing number of organizations who are more conscious in promoting diversity and inclusivity. Although there is still a big room for improvement, the involvement of women in IT is progressively increasing. Younger women are joining the IT profession. As the technology industry continues to grow, more women are excited in the potential of what the profession could bring to them.
Erin Teague once said that “Being a woman, on a team of all men, means that you are going to have a unique voice. It is important to embrace that.” Isa indeed embraced the uniqueness of her voice, put herself forward without fear and in turn, gained the respect of her colleagues and peers dominated by men.
Power woman indeed!◽️