Disruption and differentiation with Isabelle Paradis
With a background in engineering, Isabelle Paradis wanted to use her knowledge to help telecoms businesses deliver a better service to their customers. Over the course of her career, she’s taken her consultancy, HOT TELECOMs global, with offices in Montreal, London and a presence in the US, Middle East and Asia.
She took time out of her busy schedule to share her experience as a woman in telecoms in our #BalanceforBetter series for International Women’s Day.
What is HOT TELECOM? What made you start the business?
HOT TELECOM is one of the most dynamic and creative telecom consulting firms specialising in international and wholesale. We provide consulting, market knowledge and marketing support to telecom operators around the world.
I started my business 16 years ago when the international telecom market was booming. I identified a need for real-life knowledge to help telecom operators expand internationally.
“Getting more women involved in telecoms is crucial as our industry is at the core of building the society of tomorrow.”
I had always wanted to start my own business and wanted to be a consultant, so I decided to use the knowledge I had built working with international companies around the world to help others thrive and succeed.
I loved travelling and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, so that was a natural evolution for me.
Over the course of your career, how have you seen the industry change?
The industry has changed tremendously. It is true that telecom operators are more than ever before at the core of our day to day life. A lot has changed, not only in terms of the speed of innovation and technological evolution, but also when it comes to new players entering the industry. This seems almost on a daily basis with and new disruptive business models being proposed.
The telecom ecosystem is becoming unrecognisable and this trend will speed-up in the coming years.
In your experience, is there a gender imbalance in the telecoms sector? Does it even matter? If so, what can we do about it?
There is definitely a gender imbalance in telecoms and in some sectors more than other, such as sub-sea cables for example.
Some progress has been made in the last decade, with more women in managerial and C-Level positions, but there is still a long way to go for a more balanced man-woman ratio to be achieved.
“You can often use the fact that you’re a woman in a man’s world as a way to differentiate yourself-as long as you’re able to prove you can deliver the goods.”
Getting more women involved in telecoms is crucial as our industry is at the core of building the society of tomorrow. Everyone and everything is connected, at all time, everywhere and on every device.
So we should want the people building the future to represent it. Consequently, diversity is key, not only in terms of gender, but also of age, culture, education and background.
Have you ever been treated differently because of your gender? If so, how did you react?
Of course. This happens almost on a daily basis. But I never really take much notice. I keep focused on what I am trying to achieve and rarely take no for an answer.
In some way, you often can use the fact that you’re a woman in a man’s world as a way to differentiate yourself-as long as you’re able to prove that you can deliver the goods.
I think if people (both men and women) see you as a strong, confident and positive person they respect you much more and will want to work with you.
I truly believe in the power of positivity. I think emanating positive energy attracts positive and successful people.
What advice would you give to young women and girls looking to get into the telecoms sector?
First of all, if you like technology, embrace it. It is definitely not just a man’s world, women have a key role to play in it. I am an engineer by trade and loved every minute of my engineering studies.
Secondly, you will need to find a way to build your confidence as early as possible as this is the key to success. Many women lack self-confidence, which is a significant downfall.
Believe in yourself, push your boundaries, take risk and get use to failing. It is all part of your journey to success not only in telecoms, but in life in general.
Isabelle’s success is a testament to her self-assured positive attitude, making her a great role model for anyone wanting to climb to the top of the telecoms ladder. Her comments about the telecoms industry being responsible for building the society of tomorrow highlights just how important it is to welcome more women into the sector.
As the founder and President of HOT TELECOM, Isabelle’s expertise sees her travel the world, keynoting at conferences and meeting leading figures in the telecoms industry. You can see some of those interviews on her HOT TELECOM TV video HotShots.
Learn more about International Women’s Day.