A few words from inspirational women navigating the ecosystem

International Women's Day

A few words from inspirational women navigating the ecosystem

This Friday is International Women’s Day, and what better way to mark the occasion than by inviting contributions from a handful of inspirational women from within our community. The theme this year is inclusion, and as a diverse group of professionals from across the globe, which includes many talented women, we believe we are uniquely placed to address this topic.

Meet our inspirational women who are navigating the ecosystem:  

Heather Meltvedt, Director of Ecosystems, EMEA and LATAM at Palo Alto

As the Director of Ecosystems Marketing, Heather leads the ecosystem marketing team for the EMEA and LATAM regions. She fosters relationships with key stakeholders related to ecosystem Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies and is responsible for strategic planning, budgeting, partner development, relationship management, collaboration, alignment, partner enablement, and performance tracking.

Heather’s wealth of experience is invaluable to our community. As a thought leader within the ecosystem space, she advocates for peers both within her own organisation and for professionals within our community.

Pooja Golecha, Account Based Partner Marketing, Pegasystems

Pooja is an ABM (Account-Based Marketing) specialist at Pegasystems, operating across the EMEA regions. In her role, she is tasked with deepening engagement with large enterprise clients through ABM activities. As a highly engaged community member, Pooja recently collaborated with Simon Stokes to explore the ways in which they both leverage the synergy between marketing and sales. You can read more about their discussion here.

Helen Curtis, Coterie and Coterie Community Founder

Helen is the founder of Coterie and the Coterie Community. Together with Jo Dunkley, she is driven to enable, empower, and equip ecosystem professionals. In her diverse role, Helen works closely with clients, assisting them in navigating complex partner ecosystems. Through the Coterie Community, she facilitates knowledge sharing and champions thought leadership alongside professionals from some of the world’s leading organisations. Additionally, through the Coterie Academy and her collaboration with the University of Huddersfield, she inspires and educates future ecosystem talent.

Inclusion starts with every one of us

In the latest survey published by womenintech.co.uk, only 26% of all technology roles are held by women, up from 19% in 2019. They also found that 22% of people think that the main reason women are being put off from a career in tech is early misconceptions from a lack of education in young girls. As women in tech ecosystem roles, we asked our community members what inclusion means to them:

Heather – Inclusion starts with every one of us. It’s our job as leaders to ensure that everybody feels the same comfort and can do their best work because that’s what we create for them. I prioritise inclusion to maximise team effectiveness by establishing clear inclusion goals & milestones, fostering open two-way communication and collaboration, and leading by example – demonstrating in my interactions with others to ensure every team member feels valued, respected, and heard.”

Pooja – “In this fast-changing technology landscape, inclusion means taking into account the ideas and perspectives of diverse talent more than ever before. Diversity encompasses age/generational differences, seeking ideas from Millennials and Gen Z in the organisation, diverse fields of specialisation, and perspectives from diverse regions, etc.”

Helen – “Equality, to me, is about recognition based solely on merit – not influenced by gender, appearance, speech, ethnicity, or parental status. It’s about valuing individuals for their contributions without losing sight of their humanity.”

The women we look up to

There are so many inspirational women working in tech and business. And before us, others paved the way. Madam C J Walker, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Arden, Ada Lovelace, Antia Borg… We asked our women, who inspired them:

Pooja – “Beatrice Butsana-Sita, CEO British Red Cross. Beatrice was my internal stakeholder at BT where she was heading the telco business unit. I was always inspired by her leadership style which had clarity, compassion, and vision. To see her career journey from BT to Greenhouse Sports and now CEO of British Red Cross is an inspiration.”

Helen – “I’m fortunate to have been surrounded by inspirational women as I’ve grown up. My Mum stands out as one of the strongest, facing immense challenges with resilience and a compassionate heart. She hails from a lineage of independent women; her Nan raised 10 daughters single-handedly after her husband’s passing. In the workplace, figures like Julie Woods-Moss, Ex CMO BT Global Services, Ruth Rowan, CMO at Avanade, and Nicola Smedley, Director Marketing at Cancer Research UK have broken barriers. My closest friends are my daily inspiration along with my business partner Jo who is the bravest person I know!”

Heather – “Michelle Obama, Mala Yousafzai, the Williams sisters (tennis) and my mother (now passed)”

What advice would you give to other women wanting to work in tech or ecosystem positions?

Finally, we asked Heather and Pooja what advice they would give to women seeking a role as an ecosystem professional:


Believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities. Know you have the skills to succeed

Stay curious and committed to always learning

Build a strong network

Seek mentors both male and female who can offer advice, share experiences and provide valuable insights

Embrace challenges and push yourself outside your comfort zone

Change is the only constant – get used to it and see it as an opportunity to grow

Advocate yourself, your ideas, contributions and don’t hesitate to speak up, ask for opportunities to further grow your career

Balance work and life by creating your personal boundaries

Stay resilient

Stay authentic at all times

Pooja – “Every individual is unique in terms of the unique combination of passion, strengths and aspirations, and that is what makes you special. 

My advice will be to try and be aware of what you love doing and what you are good at/want to build on, and then work towards that through continuous learning, seeking mentorship, finding opportunities to work on related projects. 

"There is huge opportunity within the ecosystem business, and you need to find the best fit for yourself.”

Thank you to Heather, Pooja and Helen for their invaluable contributions. To all the inspirational women within our community, ‘Happy International Women’s Day’.

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