Women in Tech: Caroline Krohn
Caroline Krohn is the Managing Director of Vindler GmbH providing IT Security consulting to businesses - as well as VITA - Vindler ITalents Academy GmbH, that finds and invests in IT Talents; the European Institute for Privacy & Security sarl that operates the European Data Protection Conference in Luxemburg and she is the founder and leader of Krohn & Partner Business Diplomats in Germany.
She is a french-german citizen and speaks 5 languages. Caroline has a master degree in political science, modern history and philosophy with a special focus on military sciences. She is a key note speaker and lecturer at diverse German colleges and universities.
1. What is it like to be a woman working in technology for you?
I am not a technology expert, therefore I have always been fascinated by tech experts and their knowledge. This inspires me every day at my work. I try to learn as much as possible. I have been one of few women who chose to focus on military science at university, I was part of a network called "Women in International Security", I used to work in the aircraft manufacturing business where there was a lot of endeavour to strengthen diversity, I became an entrepreneur later and here again I meet a lot of men supporting men.
The digital tech business, however, is even more complex than that: Having a different perspective on how politics, economy, society etc. works; I feel that we rely heavily on (digital) technology and that most people know far too little about it. Technology is always complex and for people who are not into tech that much, it is quite an obstacle to mature into the appropriate usage of technology. A lot of service providers offer usable and more easy solutions - but it is still quite appropriate for every user to understand what is being offered - and to what price.
I am not sure that this is something I see because I am a woman. I think I see this because I am experienced in what I do - be it as a manager who deals with risk, be it as someone who talks to tech people every day. The group of people I talk to on a risk management and leadership level are mostly men; the group of people I talk to on the tech side are mostly men as well. However, my approach to vouch for both sides, to build bridges, to explain and to manage business between these groups, is a bit of a female approach. I think solutions are always more sustainable if people buy into them. So I try and make them. I try to be constructive, I try to be patient, I try to show respect, I try to enable - I know a lot of men who do this too, but observing sociological mechanisms, I think this is a role that seems to come natural to many women. This is what I as a woman can contribute to the tech business.
2. What advice would you give to a woman considering technology as her career?
Where I grew up, I always got taught that men should not depend on women and that women should not depend on men. Working together or living together or sharing passions together should always be a choice, not a necessity. Therefore, we should first think: each and every one of us should strive to do exactly what we feel passionate about - and not let a thought like "oh, but there are so many women doing this; how would it look if I did this being a man?" or "oh, but there are so many men doing this; do I actually belong there being a woman?" stop us. Of course, it is never nice to be an alien anywhere and we should seek support - not only in the own group, but amongst majorities as well.
But once we are established, we should provide help to others as well. I think it is very important not to ignore the topic gender, - as well as age, nationality, etc. - there are differences and the goal is not to assimilate, but rather to appreciate the differences. This is what makes us diverse. But the goal is to value individual strengths, to recognize them as a success factor and to help each individual to grow with as much encouragement as possible - and with as little obstacles as possible.
3. Who are your role models for women in tech?
My employee Nina Fasel. A very brave woman who came into tech and seemed never to have been scared. I watched her prosper her knowledge and become incredibly successful in a comparably short amount of time. Without ever having actively decided to do so: she showed me a lesson or two in being absolutely fearless and open minded about tech. I got a lot better since she is part of my team.