Telecom Lady Commanders

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women who dance to their own beat


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digital vs human a balancing act As key actors in the telecom industry, we are central in creating a new world order that reaches well beyond the connectivity needs of the GIGA society. We are building a world where everything is about digital technology, networks, devices, content and social interaction. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence, we are even pushing our own evolution to its limits, with the creation of digital humans, or robots. The primary objective of this new world is honorable and necessary - economic growth and the betterment of human kind in its entirety. But what is important to realize is that ‘digital’ is much more a new way of doing things rather than an actual thing. It is changing every facet of our lives, from the way we are educated, to the way we socialize, work, conduct our businesses and soon even the way we travel - with selfdriving cars. In reality, we have barely begun to understand the full implications of this new digitized lifestyle and economy. But the key to remember here is that it is a ‘HUMAN’ revolution. Therefore humans should be kept at the center of the equation. This will require a true balancing act between pushing technology to its limits, while making sure the digital experience is not there just because it can, but that it actually has a positive impact on each of our lives. It is therefore imperative that this revolution be fully inclusive and tailored to all who are part of today’s society - the young, the old, men, women, formally educated and those with life experience alone. From my point of view, this can only be achieved by ensuring that the



following three key values are made an integral part of this journey: Self-control of the digital experience We must ensure that the experience we deliver is made-to-measure to customers’ specific requirements, and at all times - at work, at home or when travelling. This can only be achieved by giving control to the end-user so they can build their own digital experience in real-time. Democratization of innovation The public needs to have a say in the business models, products and services offered to them, as in the digital era, it is the people who create the value. So businesses need to begin democratizing decision making to include their customers in the design process. Inclusion and diversity in the workforce Finally, last but not least, it is imperative that all level of the workforce (from C-Level to the support staff) involved in creating the digital world be representative of our society. This means encouraging diversity and giving women key roles in its foundation. I conducted interviews with five exceptional telecom lady commanders, who are dancing to a different beat to lead the digital transformation in a balanced manner. Women who are influencing technology, marketing, innovation and education and therefore pivotal to the success of our industry and society. Read on and be inspired! Isabelle Paradis President, HOT TELECOM

CONTENT building the digital worLD TOGETHER MARI-NOËLLE JÉGO-LAVEISSIÈRE EVP Innovation, Marketing & Technologies, Orange

THINK BIG, START SMALL DURDANA ACHAKZAI Chief Digital Officer, Telenor Pakistan



Awaken ideas, awaken the future ELIZABETH GALDO Executive Director – Fundación Telefónica



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Globalization and access to worldwide markets has enabled streams of innovative business ideas, models and practices. At the heart of innovation are startups and SMEs riding the waves of change and facing challenges, especially in early stages. An initiative launched in collaboration with the ESBN Taskforce on Youth and Women Entrepreneurship, YET supercharges business leapfrogging and economic growth through the creation of programs, initiatives and competitions that strengthen the connection between entrepreneurs, global business, capital and services. Connect as an organization/individual. Collaborate & get involved

SUCCESS The collective is all-powerful

building the digital world together Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière EVP Innovation, Marketing & Technologies at Orange


ari-Noëlle is a true inspiration. Executive Vice-President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies at Orange and Member of the Orange Group Executive Committee, she gives the impulse of one of the world’s largest global operators’ technical transformation to ultimately provide its customers with a unique digital experience. As you will see from the views she shared with me in regards to our society and our industry’s path towards full digitization, she is passionate about technology and what it enables. But more importantly, she is passionate about the power of the collective. As she says so well, if we build the digital world together, everything is possible. T HE L A DY C O MM A NDER S


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What is the most exciting evolution currently taking place in the telecom industry? The most exciting and significant revolution we are currently going through is the digitalization of our own industry. The core of our business the network - is facing a deep transformation. Network functions are being virtualized. On top of the physical network, we are currently creating a new layer, a kind of “cloud telco operating system”. This layer plays a similar role to the operating system of our mobile phones, as it coordinates the cloud ecosystem and its data centres. Thanks to this transformation, we will progressively be able to offer new services or applications to our customers. Each of these new applications will either be centralized on the network, which enables capabilities to be deployed globally from day one, or decentralized, which ensures it is closer to the customer. This network transformation is a pre-requisite to the 5G deployment, and will soon empower us to offer ‘ambient connectivity’, as it will become like the air we breathe. It will be present anywhere, at any time and for any device. The networks of the future will therefore have the capabilities to adapt dynamically to variations of demand in real-time. Another interesting upcoming evolution will be the consolidation of the numerous applications that exist today around a limited number of platforms. Just like the example of the Wechat application gathering the functionalities of multiple applications such as online shopping, instant messaging and social networks. So we anticipate a limited number of ecosystems, together with a small number of



key digital identities that will probably be created around entertainment, work and family life. Finally, I cannot talk about exciting evolutions without mentioning the impact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have in our lives. This new technology will change the world as we know it, allowing us to process and analyse more and more data. Thanks to AI, we will not only be able to create new tailored services, but also to optimize the way we operate. AI will bring us a treasure trove of information for agile and optimized solutions and it will be up to us to take advantage of them to bring our businesses to the next level. DIGITAL CUSTOMERS WILL DRIVE THEIR EXPERIENCE

Based on the evolutions you just discussed, what do you see as the main challenges that operators will need to address in the coming years? I see two challenges that operators need to tackle. The first is the need for them to open their mind to a new reality when it comes to their competitors and partners. They will need to partner with new types of players, which is a great opportunity, while at the same time be ready to face competition from players outside of their local markets, large and small, which will also pose some threats. It will therefore be key for them to cooperate with other operators, to seek new partnerships and to constantly question what value they bring to this chain and how they successfully monetize this value. This will represent a profound change compared to the way operators are currently interacting with their competitors, partners and customers.

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The second challenge will be to generate the competencies required for operators to transform themselves into software companies. This will necessitate a massive upskilling of employees at all levels of the organisation. Code is at the foundation of the digital transformation, and is like a new language… It will therefore be crucial for all employees to learn the basis of this new widespread language and to get used to the new software culture and agile processes. This represents a complete shift in the way we work today. Some employees will need to learn to use software as a tool in their day-to-day work, without necessarily being software engineers.

How will these evolutions impact the way operators interact with their customers? The challenge here will be to find ways to give our customers what they are expecting, which is a hyper-personalized, tailored 1-to-1 experience. Two things will help us achieve this. The first will be the digitalization of the customer relationship to acquire a true end-to end view of their activities, habits, needs and pain points. The other will be the capability to empower customers to drive their own experience. Which means providing them with the tools they require to build and personalize their own customer experience, letting them choose the relevant data they accept to share with us. The use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will be key then, to process, analyse and use this relevant data. At Orange, we already use these technologies to improve the quality of our services, as it allows us to optimize network coverage where it counts for our customers.


How does Orange plan to lead the digital transformation? Our digital innovation philosophy, which we call ‘Human inside’, resides around two key prerequisites: ‘My innovation is useful and of value to my customers’ and ‘My innovation is useful to the collective, to as many of my customers as possible, so that it represents a real progress’. In addition, we give ourselves the objective to be as close to our customers as possible, so we can enable their own digital transformation in a very personalized and humane manner.

What are the key success factors in this evolving digital world? Let’s focus on one of them which is key: diversity. I think that ensuring diversity in the work environment is a colossal battle that we must keep fighting. We are currently building the world of tomorrow which will be composed of 50% women and 50% men of all ages and cultures. I believe our organizations must reflect this diversity as much as possible. It is therefore crucial for women to get trained now in the new professions around digital technologies. If we don’t allow them to take their place and play a role in defining what our future looks like, the world of tomorrow will not reflect the rich diversity of human kind. This is also true when it comes to fostering diversity in terms of age and culture. We will only create a successful digital future for our society by working together: together we can achieve anything.



SUCCESS Be lean by design

think big start small

Durdana Achakzai Chief Digital Officer, Telenor Pakistan


urdana is a true trailblazer who’s never afraid of taking on new challenges head-on. She is a Vice President at Telenor and the first Chief Digital Officer at Telenor Pakistan. Having built a successful career in financial services over the past few years in London, she decided to try and address the innovation challenge and the digitalization opportunity that telcos are faced with, through her move to Telenor last year. She recently shared her views on ways to accelerate innovation and how Telenor is leading by example and succeeding in changing people’s lives in developing markets through partnerships and digitization.



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In your opinion, what is the greatest opportunity for growth in our industry? I think what is most exciting at the moment in the telecom industry is the emerging market opportunity. One can argue that telcos didn’t capture the opportunity to remain as relevant to their customers’ experience as much as they could have been. Which is why the Googles and Facebooks of this world succeeded in capturing that space of the value chain. However, in emerging markets in which Telenor has presence, such as Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and others, a handful of telcos are advantageously well positioned. In such markets, telecom operators understand the customer better than the OTTs, and they still own the customer experience. I therefore think there is still a (narrow) window of opportunity for telcos to innovate in emerging markets in such a way that it will enable them to capture the next wave of user growth. In these mobile-first type of markets, telecom operators must look at mobile devices not just as an enabler, but as a platform over which to build experiences that can solve real life problems. For example, operators should innovate to help farmers in Asia or small businesses in Africa and offer them solutions that are outside of the traditional digital application base. Applications that are more voice or icon based, for example, to address a population that does not necessarily read or write – using a different way of engaging than strictly speaking ‘digital’. Another exciting opportunity is the use of data that operators possess to derive a more



meaningful experience for their customers. That is an opportunity that can still be captured and it should be done at speed. Operators should make use of the considerable amount of data they have relating to their customers’ behaviour and collaborate or partner with other stakeholders in the ecosystem, such as banks and governments for example, to create solutions that empower the betterment of society in general. If we succeed in doing that, I think that would be very exciting and this is where the role of companies such as Telenor becomes interesting. HAPPY FARMER = HAPPY OPERATOR

Are there any concrete examples of such endeavours currently taking place in Telenor? Yes, and this is partly why I took this job as Chief Digital Officer. One such example is a service that we have launched called ‘Khushaal Zamindar’, which translates into ‘Happy Farmer’. It is a voicebased mobile agriculture service launched in cooperation with the GSMA and other partners. Khushaal Zamindar offers a three-layered value proposition to farmers: improve yields, save them from disaster and encourage greater social recognition. By dialling 7272, which sounds the same as the Urdu words meaning “support me”, users have access to various content stylised in the form of short conversations between members of a local farming family. Daily messages also include weather forecasts and agricultural and livestock advisory. An automated interactive voice response (IVR) channel is also the gateway to weekly shows, where local experts answer farmers’ questions live on air. The service is free of charge for the

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end user. The service currently boasts close to 4 million monthly active users and we are aiming to double the customer base in the coming months. This initiative was a great success for Telenor, as users displayed an average revenue per user (ARPU) increase of 3.5% on Telenor core services. In addition, SIM churn was 1.8% versus 3.1% for a comparable base of Telenor users. I truly believe in ‘for profit’ solutions for bottom of the pyramid personas as well, as only then these solutions become sustainable START LEAN

Having come from the banking world, how do you think the telecom industry should evolve to meet the digital challenge? Firstly, I see many parallels between the banking and telecom industries. Both are facing some common legacy challenges, not only when it comes to systems, but more importantly in ways of working and culture. Both, by the way, could do with much better gender diversity too! From my point of view, digital transformation starts with culture transformation and that does not happen overnight. Often people who work in banking or telecom have been in these industries all their lives and do not immediately know how to address the new realities we are facing. It takes time to implement the kind of agility required to pro-actively tackle the current digital disruption. The challenge is not only about building new technology stacks; it is much more about the softer element of the innovation equation – people. In addition, the size and age of incumbent

operators does not help. They are competing with nimble start-ups that haven’t necessarily been around for that long. The scale of operators is definitely a critical factor hindering the speed of their evolution. So, one of the things that operators can do better is getting the right mix of digital native and telco experts working together, coupled with the right tools, processes and incentives, so that the required dynamic is created to trigger change. They should try not to solve all problems on their own, but learn to partner with other ecosystems players like digital natives start-ups – not just for their solutions and technologies but also to learn from their innovative culture. Which is why the approach I am trying to take is to be ‘lean by design’, which means using fewer people, simpler processes and even smaller budgets to foster an experimental, iterative and data-driven approach to innovation. It forces us to find ways of addressing customer pain points in a much more nimble and flexible fashion, like start-ups do. I am trying to instil the agile way of work within my team where we continuously learn and improve through iterative development led by the voice of the customer. It is a challenge in such a large organisation, but we are getting there. BE AGILE

Do you think operators have what it takes to offer end-users an hyper-personalized experience? I think they have no choice. To stay or become relevant, every operator should aspire to become the Amazon of telcos, as this is what we all expect as end-users: a tailored, contextual experience,



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based on our history and preferences.

in business and in life?

The days of operators cascading bulk nonunique messages to a large segment of their customer population are long gone.

To organizations embarking on a digital transformation journey, I would say: don’t lose sight of the customer. Too often, large digital transformation programmes are so consumed in trying to overcome internal hurdles and layers of bureaucracy that it is easy to forget why the transformation is happening in the first place – for the customer!

This is the approach we are taking within Telenor. For example, we have developed a lifestyle App called WoWBox, which has become the number one App in the Google Play store in Pakistan with 1 million monthly active users. It also boasts 10 million monthly active users in Bangladesh. WowBox is a free-to-browse application that brings an all-in-one experience through a single channel. The App’s users can enjoy interactive content such as daily trending news, sports results, built-in games, free music, lifestyle articles and much more. The key to its success is that it is contextualized and tailored specifically to the end-users’ persona. This is a good start, but we must continue to innovate like this at a more rapid pace and I believe that to do so, we must be even quicker at understanding and addressing customer pain points and expectations. The world is transforming at a much faster pace than any telco can. We therefore must find ways to speed up our evolution and start living with agility. This means implementing continuous and iterative customer-centric innovation processes. It also means fostering the use of adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, while encouraging rapid and flexible response to change. NEVER STOP LEARNING

What advice would you like to give to succeed



The quicker you can get the organization to work internally, the quicker you will be solving customer problems. I believe there are greater chances of success if organizations figure out a way of starting small and ring-fencing such teams from other operations until at least some traction is achieved. None of this is easy, so its takes real grit and humility to embark on this journey. To any professionals, no matter what level, I would say: never stop learning! Don’t be shy of saying ‘I don’t know’ and then finding it out.

And finally, since gender equality is a topic close to my heart, to women more particularly I would say: take the challenge, jump at the opportunity and believe in yourself. Do not selfdoubt yourself, even as it starts to feel like an uphill climb as you rise through the ranks.

Leading the telecom transformation with Strategy & transformation Marketing & creative thinking Market insights C-Level workshops Thought provoking events


Daring to dance to a different beat

SUCCESS Focus on what is core to your customers

Demand the best Give the best

Be the best Stephanie Lynch-Habib Chief Marketing Officer, Colt


tephanie is one of those forces of nature that awakens excellence and dynamism. Having been Chief Marketing Officer at Colt for one year now, she has already successfully triggered key transformational changes within the company.

With Colt celebrating its 25th year of existence, it is gearing up to become the best in class by investing in what it does best: connecting the digital fabric. Stephanie’s role is vital in making this a reality. To achieve this, she says it so well - the organisation and its people must strive for excellence at every step of the way. This interview will provide a glimpse into her industry viewpoint, its challenges and how to succeed in it as a service provider, a leader of change and a woman.



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In your opinion, what is the most exciting evolution in our industry at the moment? Our industry is going through a number of very exciting and challenging changes - digital transformation of enterprises being the most exciting of them. It has to do with enterprises shifting from the traditional way of managing and transporting data, to increasingly relying on cloud applications and software as a service. This is in turn is altering the way telecoms and data is consumed and integrated into businesses today and will continue to do so in the future. Essentially, it translates into enterprises needing higher bandwidth connectivity, which is core to Colt’s strategy. More importantly, this evolution is not only about innovation and technology. It is also about changes in organisational culture, for ourselves and our customers. This means restructuring both organizations and budgets to create the impetus for agility and scalability. THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION A BALANCING ACT

they have to contend with the rapid pace of innovation that is impacting their businesses and find ways to capitalize on the opportunities which this brings. This includes the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data or Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as creating new solutions and business models. Thus, the key challenge for telcos is about keeping pace with these evolving business needs, which means providing: best in class, agile, scalable, on-demand pricing, solutions and exceptional customer experience. To achieve this successfully, you need to focus on what is core to customer, which is delivering excellence. This is paramount from my viewpoint. At Colt, we see this as a balancing act. We strive to offer best in breed solutions which are secure, reliable, scalable in real-time and deliver the best customer experience for each and every customer. COLT - THE BEST IN BREED

Based on what you have spoken about so far, can you share Colt’s vision to address these opportunities and challenges?

What is the most challenging evolution when it comes to connectivity and how should operators address this?

Colt’s vision is to be the most customer oriented business in this industry. One way we achieve this is to measure our Net Promoter Score (NPS) throughout our organization. This means that each and every one of Colt’s employees has NPS in their objectives.

If we start with our customers, who are predominantly large enterprises and operators,

We don’t just want to be better than the industry, we want to be the best of the best.



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Our ambition is to reach an NPS of 60 by 2020. This has required a complete overhaul of the customer experience within our organization, an ongoing transformation and one of the pillars of Colt’s strategy. In order to succeed, we have and will continue to invest in our network to support high bandwidth requirements. We are planning investments in the range of half a billion Euros over three years to future proof our network. This will further expand Colt’s connectivity reach (currently 25,000 buildings with fibre in the ground in 28 countries) to deepen that reach in existing and new markets. It will enable Colt to offer a suite of on-demand solutions that empower customers to flex bandwidth as they require it. Additionally, we are changing our culture to create what we call the ‘Challenger Culture’ to inspire innovation. Finally, we are also doubling our customer facing resources in the enterprise market. We have added 100 new sales people this year and are planning to add 200 more over the next two years.

My advice is simple and is how I have always operated - to continuously strive for excellence in execution by demonstrating thoughtful impactful, quality work and always aiming to do better. You should also always be committed and conscientious. If we look at women in tech, we still have a long way to go before parity is reached. It is key for women leaders and contributors to look out for the good of other women and encourage them along the way. This means looking out for the ones who have potential and supporting them in their journey. I think we don’t pay enough attention to that. But at the end of the day, surround yourself with the best people that you can, men or women, and demand nothing else than excellence at every step of the way.

We are lucky at Colt in that we are of a size that enables us to be flexible and meet and exceed our customers’ varied expectations – Colt is big enough to deliver and small enough to care. Finally, our main advantage is that we focus on our core business and invest in what we do best. This is fundamental to success. STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE AT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

What is the key to success in business in general and as a woman more particularly?



SUCCESS Learn to speak and act like disruptors

the yin and yanG

of success Katrina (Kat) Luna-Abelarde CEO - PLDT Global Corporation


at Luna Abelarde is one of those leading ladies that embodies strength, intelligence and dynamism. As CEO of PLDT Global Corporation, she truly stands out as a woman who inspires all of us to go beyond the norms and really make a difference.

She has succeeded to make her mark as one of the leading ladies in telecom through sheer determination and hard work. During my recent interview with her, she shared her views on the transformation of our industry, as well as her vision of how operators must reinvent themselves to empower a true digital lifestyle for each of us.



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In your view, what is the most exciting evolution currently taking place in the telecom industry? The role of the telco has always been and still is to connect people. However, technology is becoming like the air we breathe, and is increasingly part of every facet of our lives. People are therefore now not only connecting with people, but with things as well, and viceversa. Going a step further, machines are also now talking with other machines, and one day soon possibly robots will be connecting with robots. Such advancements are paving the way for the building of new ecosystems that did not exist until recently such as, Smart Cities, Smart Meters, Smart Cars, Smart Everything! We are uniquely positioned to empower these new ecosystems through our ownership of the “last mile”, may it be wired or wireless, and of our global networks. Our role of connecting people has therefore evolved to connecting everyone and everything and we have a central function to play in making this happen. However, our success to build these ecosystems does not only rely on our networks, but increasingly hinges on our ability to rapidly overlay platforms on top and integrate enddevices which deliver seamless solutions. TAKING THE LEAP

What are the key challenges faced by telecom operators and how should they address them, globally and in the Philippines?



Our main challenge is to find a way to continuously reinvent ourselves and stay relevant to our customers in a world that is changing at a quickening pace and where innovation is altering the we way we live, conduct business and interact. In addition, all over the world, telcos are being disrupted by data, OTT and ICT players that are unburdened by the upfront capital outlay and operating cost structures that have traditionally kept telcos running 24x7. Competing with these new types of players on an even footing is a mammoth task and we will only succeed if we are able to change the way we think, the way we operate and even the way we speak. We must learn to speak and act like these disruptors. At PLDT, we believe that our role in the building of our nation remains the same – to not only connect but enrich the lives of the Filipinos. However, we will need to re-frame the manner in which we operate in order to keep up with ever-changing consumer behaviours and habits. To achieve this, we have taken a hard look at our business and have drilled-down into our strengths and weaknesses to re-define how we can build on our strong foundation to provide even more value to our customers. We have taken the leap to transform our people, our processes and systems so that we become digital at our core. THE 180˚DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Everything is about customer-centricity and the hyper-personalization of the customer

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experience. at the moment. Do you think telecom operators can realistically address this new reality and if so how? If done right, we are in a good position to deliver this. In my view, there are 4 trends that we will need to embrace and immerse ourselves into to enable a true hyper-personalized experience: Big Data and Analytics, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. Used together and creatively, this could power not only a paradigm shift in customer experience, but more importantly, it could give us the impetus we require to re-invent ourselves as the enabler of the digital information world.

Our whole society is currently going through a 360˚ digital transformation. How do you see the role of operators, and more specifically PLDT, in this evolution? Hopefully, this transformation will only be 180˚, so we don’t end up where we started… But more seriously, we must pave the way in optimizing technology, while always keeping in mind that this technology should be an enhancer of humanity. This does not presuppose that digital is the only way. A finer examination of the customer lifecycle will reveal that owning the total experience requires a fine balance, or a yin and yang, between digital and tactile experiences – this is the balance we much achieve. Therefore, a deep understanding of each and every of our customers, who they are, what they like and what they want, will be the foundation of a truly innovative technology.

How is PLDT evolving to continue leading in the new digital era? On the PLDT Global front, which serves International consumers, we have realized that the engagements have become increasingly digital. Moving forward, our priorities will therefore be the digitization of our solutions, and as mentioned above, this can only be achieved when we are digital at our core. This therefore starts with the transformation of our network, systems and, even more importantly, of our people. MOVING INTO THE FUTURE A BALANCING ACT

What do you find the most challenging/ exciting in your role as an industry leader? What is most challenging for me is being on the front-line and seeing the world evolve with eyes wide open. Each day, I need to make a choice between staying put or moving forward. This is never an easy decision, and more and more, it is one that must be taken immediately, as in our real-time, fast pace world, the timeelement is crucial to succeed. We are still at that “balancing-act” period, which necessitates us to think and drive discussions on various levels. We need to decide how we optimize the here and now, which I call the short-term, how we accelerate into the midterm and ultimately, how we envision and build for the long-term. This is scary, challenging and exhilarating all at the same time!



SUCCESS Knowledge is power

Awaken ideas

awaken the future Elizabeth Galdo Executive Director – Fundación Telefónica


lizabeth Galdo is the Executive Director of Fundación Telefónica in Peru. This inspiring and very successful foundation is a not-for-profit organization that believes in a digital world built on solidarity. Its main mission is to create opportunities through educational, social and cultural projects that address the challenges of the digital world.

A lawyer by profession, Elizabeth is now making her mark, not only as a successful woman, but more importantly as an inspiration to the youth of Peru. She shares her vision of what is required to create a true digital society.



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Do telecom operators have a role to play in helping to connect the unconnected? Yes, it is crucial to continue investing in the deployment of the latest network technology. Despite all the efforts made by telecom operators to make global connectivity possible, there is still a great number of people who do not benefit from a true digital life. However, as operators, we have to keep in mind that there is still a lot to achieve, not only to connect the unconnected, but more importantly, to give them the tools necessary to take advantage of the digital world. For example, a report from the GSMA concluded that a lack of infrastructure wasn’t the main barrier to internet adoption in Latin America, as only 10% of the population lives in areas where the internet isn’t available, while a surprising 57% of the people with coverage don’t use the internet. On the contrary, the GSMA concludes that the lack of local relevant content, digital literacy and digital skills are the most important barriers to achieving a digital lifestyle. So in my opinion, telecom operators must go beyond offering connectivity and facilitate digital education. This is what Fundación Telefónica is trying to accomplish in the region. To achieve this goal, Telefónica created Educación Digital, which is a platform that offers digital solutions with the help of 400 digital professionals in Spain, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile.



Educación Digital offers educational materials to 4 million students and has a Content Factory which produces more than 20,000 hours of content each year. EDUCATION SETS YOU FREE

Could you share some concrete results of Fundación Telefónica projects? In the past 22 years, Fundación Telefónica has invested US$320 million to foster technology education, as we believe it is the cornerstone of a country’s success. We work to minimize Peru’s digital education gap and to improve the quality of education in places where more than 70% of the population lacks internet access. There are over 75,000 students in rural or vulnerable areas in Peru where a significant digital gap exists. With the help of the Foundation, they now have access to technology-based education, using virtual education tools and resources. This empowers them to develop digital skills that will be essential to their future employability. This process starts with headmasters and teachers, offering them the tools and knowledge they require to take advantage of technology in their teaching methodologies, which in turn benefits the children. Today’s students, on the other hand, are digital natives, so the challenge with them is to offer guidance on the use of technology as a tool to enhance their education, rather than just for recreation. The success achieved in Peru convinced Fundación Telefónica to launch another, more

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ambitious and global project: Aula Digital. Our ultimate goal is to prepare 120,000 primary students in vulnerable areas of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia for the digital era. A WOMAN FROM CUSCO WITH A PASSION FOR EDUCATION

What was your motivation to change your focus from business to social action? Over 16 years ago, Telefónica gave me the chance to be part of its great family. I started from the bottom, as an analyst, and made my way up to corporate regulatory affairs in Grupo Telefónica in Peru and Spain. I had attained my career goal. However, a decade ago, an opportunity came along to take all the experience I had gained and use it to become an agent of change. To get involved in social projects that would change people’s lives. I couldn’t turn down that opportunity. Now that I lead Fundación Telefónica, I feel very privileged to work with such an inspiring group of people who are passionate about transforming people’s lives and giving them a chance at success and a fulfilling life, no matter where they started in life.

You must not to listen to people who tell you you can’t do something, and there will be that many of those along your way. It’s up to you to silence these voices and do whatever it takes to overcome the challenges and obstacles you will face throughout your career. This is even more important as a woman in business. Thankfully, Peruvian women are overcoming prejudices in a male-dominated industry. We are gaining confidence in our capabilities, becoming empowered to aim for leadership positions, and succeeding. You need to work closely with your team so that they make the company’s objectives their own. You also need to follow your passion. I was lucky enough to achieve this through my current position, as my job is very fulfilling – being able to transform people’s lives through education and culture. But more importantly, you must study. Knowledge is power, and education will set you free.

What’s the best advice you wish to pass on to our readers to achieve success? First, you must be very persistent in achieving your goals. You have to prepare yourself, make your goals your dream, and work very hard to accomplish them.



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