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Believe in Your Abilities and Surround Yourself with Support

Part of the Gaia-X Voices: Women in Tech campaign

Giuditta Del Buono, Technical Product Manager at Gaia-X, discusses her role in shaping Gaia-X specifications and her diverse career journey in technology. She addresses the challenges women may face in the industry, emphasizing the need for support and belief in one’s abilities.


Can you introduce yourself, your role in the Gaia-X community, and your current position in the tech sector?

I’m Giuditta Del Buono, the Technical Product Manager at Gaia-X. I’m part of the CTO team, and my role is focused on the support to the drafting of Gaia-X specifications in terms of quality and consistency, in alignment with the Gaia-X strategy.

For this purpose, I work in close cooperation with the rest of the CTO team, to ensure alignment with the activities performed by the Gaia-X Lab, with the COO team in terms of release planning, and with Gaia-X members involved in our Working Groups and Committees.

I contribute to the dissemination of technical content to the Gaia-X members and the public and I participate in relevant projects and initiatives where Gaia-X is involved, like the Data Spaces Support Centre and the CEN-CENELEC Workshop on Trusted Data Transaction.

I have been involved in Gaia-X since its very beginning, taking part in some Gaia-X technical working groups as part of my previous job for an Italian cloud provider which is a Gaia-X member.

Can you briefly walk us through your career journey in technology/science, highlighting key milestones and experiences? Were there specific moments that significantly influenced your career path?

After classical studies in secondary school, I graduated in chemical engineering.

I have always been interested in the study of development processes based on innovation and collaboration between companies of different sectors and sizes and between companies and research institutions.

I started my career carrying out research activities in the field of technology transfer, innovation processes and R&D public-private collaborations.

Then, I worked in supporting the realisation of a public project aimed at the creation and development of academic start-ups, and after, in the scouting and acceleration of innovative business projects for a venture capital firm.

I started my own business in the field of startup support, support to the implementation of open innovation programs and drafting of project proposals for R&D activities.

Before joining Gaia-X, I worked for a small Italian Cloud Provider, where I oversaw the analysis and implementation of regulatory rules, guidelines and industry standards. There, I learned the importance of compliance matters in the tech industry and I also discovered the Gaia-X initiative!

What challenges have you encountered as a woman in the tech industry, and how did you overcome them?

I have never perceived and experienced being a woman as an obstacle in my career path. Nevertheless, I recognise, especially concerning the Italian context, which I know better, that in general, it is still more difficult for women, compared to men, to access leadership positions and, in many cases, to be paid equally for the same job position.

A challenge that I certainly had to face and still face as a woman and mother is the reconciliation of work and family life. Cooperation from the partner here is crucial, but I think it is the society that has yet to evolve in terms of expectations toward the role of women.

Who are some of your role models or sources of inspiration in the tech/science field? How important do you think it is for women to have strong female role models in the industry?

I believe it is important to have female role models who demonstrate the achievements women can make in industry and technology and how their leadership styles can differ from typical male leadership styles.

As for me, although I have always met strong and talented women at work, who in some cases have been my managers,  I think the most important examples are the women in my family: my mother, who is a doctor, and my grandmothers, one of whom graduated in natural sciences and the other, who had to interrupt her studies because of World War II, always pushed me towards study and emancipation.

In the context of the 2024 theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” why do you think diversity and inclusion are crucial in the tech and science sectors?

Going back to the beginning of my work experience and the study of innovation processes, I believe that diversity, and therefore inclusion, are key elements in generating something new, through the combination of skills, perspectives, and needs.

I believe in the power deriving from the cooperation between men and women, research and industry, different sectors – which is what we want to enable as Gaia-X with interoperable ecosystems – and, concerning the development of Gaia-X, in the power of an increased diversification in our membership, in terms of countries and types of organisations involved.

What advice would you give to young women and girls aspiring to enter the STEM fields? How can women support and uplift each other in the male-dominated tech/science industry?

In general, I would advise a young woman and girl to believe in her abilities and to try to surround herself, both at work and in her personal life, with people who support her career growth path. In a collaboration between women, I think it is important to listen to each other, encourage each other when we perceive a lack of self-confidence and mutually value our skills and the results we achieve, especially when men don’t recognise them enough.

On a lighter note, if you could choose a superpower to make your work in tech even more incredible, what would it be, and how would it help you tackle the challenges of the digital world?

I wish I had a special mapping superpower, which would help me quickly put together, in creative and easy-to-communicate ways, all the pieces of the complex and constantly evolving scenario in which we work, from a technical and economic point of view. This would help to identify new powerful links to be strengthened to generate innovation and growth.