Ludovic Gaude

6 min read

Women in Tech series: interview with Ludovic Gaudé, CEO 2012-2019 at intive


"There are things to be done, larger goals in front of us. We need equality to get there."

- In recent years, gender gap is a topic that has been raised quite often. What’s your take on that subject?

- From my point of view, diversity, in general, is crucial; especially for innovative companies like intive. We need to make sure that the people that work for intive are connected to as many subsegments of the world as possible, combining different social contexts and professional networks. Having said that, the way I see it, diversity doesn’t mean favoring all those who are different. It’s the abilities, experience, and passions that count. Of course, we need to strive for diversity, but in the end, we’re always looking for output and performance. 

- The IT industry is still largely a male-dominated environment.  Do you think that women have the same opportunities as men in the tech world?

- I can only talk about my experience, and for me, it doesn’t really matter if I work with a woman or a man. Everyone should have equal opportunities when they get interviewed, hired and managed. We can’t make any differences. I think we should do something to make the tech world more open for women. It’s no secret that there are fewer women in IT companies than men. There are things to be done, larger goals in front of us. We need equality to get there.

- Can you imagine to what extent would the tech world change if the gender ratio was 50/50? Do you think it would be different at all?

- It’s quite difficult to depict... I think in general women do bring a different perspective on things. Maybe it’s a matter of better understanding people’s emotions and needs. If the gender ratio were 50/50, maybe we wouldn’t talk about technology as such, but more about the way it’s being used. Instead of just building tech, we would look at a problem to solve. If there were more women in IT, the whole industry would become more democratized. The technology wouldn’t be a goal per se, but a way to achieve something more inclusive, making sure that everyone participates in the digital transformation.

- Were you ever inspired by a woman during your tech career?

- In 1993 I started working for Nokia Networks and at that time an incredible woman – Sari Baldauf – led the company. I didn’t report to her directly but she was managing a team of 20 thousand people, and I was among them. She was the boss all throughout my career at Nokia, for 14 years. Subsequently, one of my first professional experiences was being managed by a great female leader.  Later, in my professional life, I had both male and female managers, and it was always valuable both ways.

- What can a software company, such as intive, do to encourage more women to consider a career in tech?

- I believe we can make women more interested in IT by making technology less relevant and focusing more on larger goals. It’s something I already mentioned. Digital transformation can exclude whole groups of people, and we stand in front of a great task. How to prevent that? How to make tech more accessible to all? I think women could be a very important factor in this process.

- Do you plan any workplace initiatives to help promote empowerment? Especially towards women.

- It is important to make the matter more visible internally. Therefore, starting June 2018, we are going to publish a series of interviews with different women who work at intive, sharing their thoughts on the topic.
The other approach I'm promoting at intive is about supporting families. I have two kids myself: a son and a daughter. Family life is very important to me. I want mothers (and fathers!) at intive to feel comfortable and happy. Every time one of our employees is going to become a parent, I always try to make an extra effort to make sure that coming back to work is as smooth as possible.

- You’ve mentioned that you have a daughter. Would you recommend her choosing a career in tech?

- It’s very difficult for a father, a parent in general, to recommend any career to a child. I think I’d tell her to do what she likes. If engineering and software development is what she’s into, I will definitely support her and give her a little insight into the upsides and challenges. It’s really cool to be an engineer – you get to build things with your own hands. 

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