Career Choices

Actually, the technology industry chose me. I was studying physics at University of Colorado, Boulder in the 1980s; I was doing administrative work at my job while I was attending school. My employer needed some help with organizing customer data, and I volunteered to assist. I had taught myself and very much enjoyed computer programming and databases. I built what would eventually be known as a CRM database. I specifically remember thinking that I was amazed that I could earn a great salary doing something I was good at and thoroughly enjoyed.

Soon after, I joined an international engineering firm and went to work in Switzerland. In addition to working for large enterprise consulting/technology companies, I’ve worked for small-to-medium, as well as enterprise businesses architecting and deploying technology projects for Tumi, Home Depot, Audiovix, and American Honda Motors.

Professional Interests & Drive

I strongly feel that the key to solving business issues and improving business processes lies in the understanding and analysis of the organization’s data. Data analysis yields the answers to the who, what, when, where, and why of any business issue. I also very much believe that the key to success in technology is also having a deep understanding of how technology gets deployed. I believe that understanding and employing strong project management processes and procedures is key to success in IT.

Mentors & Influencers

I have had the good fortune of working for some large IT organizations through my career. I have learned many different skills from dozens of business and technology thought leaders and subject matter experts.

Mentorship Value

Throughout my career as a woman in technology I’ve known that IT is primarily a male-dominated field. I especially enjoy working for my current employer (Aristocrat Technologies, Inc.) because they are fully invested in putting the most qualified people in leadership roles regardless of gender.

I speak at conferences and university technology events and focus on what a rewarding field of study and career information technology can be for women. I am an active voice in educational programs and encourage and extol girls and young women that choose to study technology.

I am in the process of joining a group of people that will be working with human trafficking and abused women in the Dominican Republic to teach them technology skills in order to help them get out of, and leave behind, their painful pasts and develop business and technical skills that can lead to good paying jobs in IT.

Admired Leaders & Trailblazers

As I previously mentioned, I studied physics at UC Boulder. I recently headed a volunteer project to digitize tens of thousands handwritten notes and data from NASA’s moon missions from the 1960s. I recently read a story about Diana Trujillo. Since her childhood in Cali, Colombia, she dreamed of working for NASA. That was her dream and she set a goal. She now works with the group that designed and examined the robotic arm and two instruments for the Mars 2020 mission, which seeks to demonstrate whether there was life on Mars. She has been a member of the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I can only imagine her struggles, desires and focus that she put behind her quest to join NASA. I applaud her for her resilience and drive!

Advancing Gender Parity

I believe that solving the gender wage gap in in the IT field is a major hurdle that needs continuous improvement. Salaries in technical fields vary greatly according to technical skills, knowledge and experience. There is no reason why women should get paid less than a male counterpart just because of gender. When more women are in leadership positions, salary discrimination based on gender alone will balance.

Leading the Next Generation

I try to keep my advice simple – it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, or what types of toys you play with or what kind of books you enjoy reading. Technology is all around us. Technology is in everything we do each and every day. Whether it is creating, converting, or maintaining technology, you need to study STEM fields to get access to this giant field that will continue to shape the future of the world. Girls and women need to participate in classes, committees, and projects throughout their school years and in their jobs that give them exposure to the field of technology.

About Joan Torres-Saez

Joan’s career in IT has spanned over 30 years. She started in IT (before it was called IT) as a self-taught programmer. She’s held leadership positions at major IT companies including HP, Oracle, and IBM. Joan is a Big Data expert and has additional expertise in the areas of project management and software application development. She has delivered IT projects in the United States and in multiple international countries. In her current role, Joan directs a team of more than 20 business and data analysts, along with helping her multi-national organization with global enterprise data initiatives.

Achievements & Recognition

  • I have multiple technical and professional certifications and am a participant in Aristocrat’s global Diversity & Inclusion program chartered with creating a more inclusive, diverse and welcoming organization.
  • I am an activist in helping get more women and people of color get exposure, training and employment in the technology industry.

Share this Profile: