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Tech is no more difficult for a woman than it is for a man!

Advocating for diversity, Nassima Auvray, the Chief Trust Officer at Orange Business and member of the Gaia-X Board, draws inspiration from Hedy Lamarr and encourages women to trust their capabilities.


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

I’m Nassima Auvray, the Chief Trust Officer at Orange Business, the Orange Group entity dedicated to businesses and organizations: a leading network and digital integrator. Orange Business created a department dedicated to digital trust in a context where geopolitical uncertainty is growing, digital transformation is steadily accelerating, and concerns over ethical use of technology, cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliances are increasing. On a day-to-day basis, I’m responsible for defining the digital trust strategy within Orange Business and its implementation in our solutions and services from connectivity to cloud, data AI, and cybersecurity thanks to Orange Cyberdefense…. Enabling data collection and sharing based on European values of transparency, openness, privacy, and ensuring security is fully in line with our mission. Orange is therefore one of the founding members of GAIA-X, and I am delighted to be the company representative on the GAIA-X board.

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?

As far as I can remember I’ve always loved science, especially mathematics and physics. Evolving as a woman in the scientific field, was never in question for me. At least I’ve never thought of it as such. Maybe because as a child my father, who was an engineer, always shared his passion for science with me in a playful way. If I take trigonometry as an example, for me it was just a game. I choose science back in high school before enrolling in engineering school with a specialization in signal processing and electronics in embedded systems. My engineering school (ENSTA Bretagne) trains military engineers. This is why I joined the French defence procurement agency (called Direction Générale de l’Armement) to work on military satellite communications and then electronic warfare. After that, I went on to the French Budget Department, to get a feel for the world of finance then I was Advisor on Innovation, Digital, and Cybersecurity for the French Ministry of Defence before joining Orange Business in 2022.

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

Even if I look hard enough, the answer remains the same: none! And I think it’s important to get the message across that tech is no more difficult for a woman than it is for a man.

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 would definitely quote Hedy Lamarr! Most people know her as a top actress from Hollywood’s Golden Age. She is less well known for being a great inventor. At the beginning of World War II, along with avant-garde composer George Antheil, she co-invented a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat the threat of radio jamming. I think role models in the industry are essential to open the field of possibilities and encourage vocations.

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

Diversity and inclusion are crucial in the tech and science sectors for several reasons. First, because diverse teams bring together different perspectives, experiences, and ideas, driving innovation and breakthroughs. Including individuals from various backgrounds and their ways of approaching problems, opens the door to a wider range of knowledge and creativity and allows for the development of more inclusive solutions. I can testify to this when I moved from the public to the private domain. I’m convinced that when individuals feel acknowledged and included, their satisfaction generates greater productivity.

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?

Never let stereotypes or social pressure stand in the way of your passion! Always trust your capabilities to succeed in Tech. Remember that pursuing a career in science is an exciting and rewarding journey. Always stay curious, keep learning, and never stop pursuing your dreams.

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 would love to be able to read books in a few minutes, along with mastering the new technologies they describe as fast as they emerge, or not sleep at night to do all the things I’d like to do, but it’s a long shot!