"ARE YOU READY?" - Q&A with Olga Martens-Stuurman

November 5, 2019 | Olga Martens-Stuurman, HP

Olga has fulfilled numerous Global and EMEA leadership positions in HP's Customer Support organisation. With 20+ years of experience, she is currently leading the worldwide Knowledge Management organisation. 

woman writing in notepad next to open laptop

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into your career?

A: My name is Olga Martens-Stuurman and I currently fulfil a Worldwide Director role within HP’s Support organization. I have been working at HP for more than 20 years in different European and Worldwide leadership functions. I started at HP in the call centre and via roles like planner, project manager and business architect developed into people management roles.

What does a typical day at work consist of for you?

A: Every day is different, but it is always centred about making experiences better for customers, partners, stakeholders and employees. I often travel and then work from HP locations in for example the US, China or India. When working from the Netherlands, I am working part of the week from the HP NL office and the rest from home. Leading a global team means calling into meetings at ‘strange’ hours. Days can be long, but are never boring!

What would you say is the best part about working for HP?

A: I love to learn and at HP there are endless opportunities to learn and grow, individually and together with amazing colleagues

What challenges have you faced as a woman in tech and how have you overcome them?

A: I have not faced that many challenges as a woman in tech. At the start of my career, I was asked to be more ‘tough’ as a leader, but I experienced that following my own style worked better for everyone.  I also have struggled at times to find the correct work-life balance; being eager to further develop, while raising kids and taking care of family has been energy-consuming, but also helped me to focus on the most important things and has paid off.

What developments in the technology world are you most excited about?

A: I really like Virtual Realities (AR/VR/MR) and the way they can help to immerse learners in an experience. I am also fascinated by the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the future of work, and by the implications for business strategy and the impact AI can have on company culture. AI requires all of us to do more: to challenge the status-quo more, to simplify more, to test more new ideas, but also to accept more "failures" as learning opportunities.

Why have you decided to get involved with European Women in Tech?

A: It's a great opportunity to learn about exciting new developments happening in Europe, while meeting new people!

What will you be speaking about at the conference and why?

A: I will talking be about the future of work and share my perspectives how you can best prepare for the future looking at all new technology trends and accelerated automation. I think the future is bright, for me the only question is "ARE YOU READY?"

Who is your female tech inspiration and why?

A: There are several like Cynthia Breazeal, Head of the Personal Robots group at the MIT Media Lab, who is a pioneer in the field of human-robot interaction. Her work balances technical innovation in AI, UX design, and makes robots more social. I also admire the fact that Neelie Kroes, a former politician, successfully placed digital a high on the agenda of the European Commission and who had an inspiring vision for equal access to the internet and to add coding to the curriculum of schools.

What advice would you give to people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

A: Always try: you might not be there (yet), but you can do more than you think you are capable of.

Follow your passion and invest in building up (on) your relevant, signature strengths.

Practice your learning agility: be able to give up skills, perspectives, and ideas that are no longer relevant, and learn new ones that are.

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