Sponsor Spotlight: Meet Aurelie Canales from Telia

Have you ever attended a panel discussion where the answers seem over-rehearsed and robotic? Well fortunately for us, we haven’t had to experience this yet. We have actually had the polar opposite experience and it’s because of women like Aurelie Canales from Telia. Aurelie’s straightforward and candid yet sincere approach when speaking about topics around diversity & inclusion was a breath of fresh air and induced lots of laughter and spurts of applause for telling it how it is.

Aurelie Canales, Global Head of Product Management @ Telia

Aurelie Canales, Global Head of Product Management @ Telia

With a wealth of professional experience within Network & Operations, Fiber Strategy, and Product Management, it’s clear that Aurelie is passionate about filling more technical roles with women because, as she’s stated, it’s not a matter of if they’re out there, you just have to proactively look for them.

We were so honored to have her join us and we encourage you to get to know her with the below Q&A and panel clips. Enjoy!

You can watch the full panel here.

What’s something that has helped you tackle the gender divide in our industry and succeed in your career?

I have always worked and studied in environments where men vastly outnumbered women, so I can only imagine what a more balanced environment would look and feel like! I have found that developing a healthy self confidence (definitely not arrogance!) and putting myself forward for new projects and new work was obviously a great starting point. Also daring to apply to roles where I was not 100% a match was really important to progress and get that “next step job”.  

What’s one thing you wish you could teach your younger self upon entering your career?

All experiences are good, even the ones that are really tough at the time. Keep working hard, keep learning, it will be alright!

What does mentorship/allyship mean to you and have you had a positive mentor/ mentee relationship. What worked?

How do you see WTF helping the gender gap in our industry?

When we all met in Atlanta, I was so honoured to see a bunch of such talented women from such diverse backgrounds and countries, all at the top of their game. I think WTF is a fantastic safe place for women to exchange their experiences at work and share tactics on how to deal with challenges. Role models are also important; younger members need to see amazing women in great positions in great companies. Sharing the way that each person and each company is helping bring more diversity in their workplace is also hugely inspiring, and I will certainly be bringing some of my learnings from WTF events to my office. 

What is a WTF (in the original meaning) moment you had to endure as a woman in your career and what did you learn from it?

I recently invited a supplier to talk to us about their product to see if we should integrate it into our offering. The sales person spent the whole meeting addressing the two men on my team (both more junior than me) and making zero eye contact at me, despite introductions being made at the beginning of the meeting. I brushed it off. During the meeting, I made sure my questions were answered and after the meeting, I had a chat with my teams and made sure they recognised the behaviour. I cannot change that sale’s person’s behaviour, but I can make sure I point out to my teams what I expect of them.

What are some of the programs your company has implemented to support diversity and inclusion efforts and what outcomes have come from them?

What did you think of ITW 2019 this year in Atlanta/ any highlights from the conference?

I really miss Chicago as a city but I really enjoyed the venues and the openness of the Atriums. I loved meeting the incredible group of women at the WTF event on Sunday night and in addition to great partnership discussions, I enjoyed the Telia Carrier Purple Party at the Hard Rock Cafe, it’s always so much fun and relaxed, all our customers and partners have a great time and we still talk about it long after the event.

Want to watch the full panel? Check it out here: