Change usually takes time, but it certainly goes faster when the driving forces start from multiple directions. Initiatives and frameworks start by the company are helpful, as is the power of a community. MINTchangers at A1 talk about their motivation and commitment.
A1 has set itself the goal of increasing the share of women to 40% by 2025, with the focus on the area of technology. On the one hand, achieving these goals requires corporate initiatives, such as the A1 Mentor Program or the Female Empowerment Program, and on the other hand, a committed community, such as the MINTchangers at A1. Uschi Jobst, part of the Employee Experience Team, an active MINT role model herself, and a passionate data analyst coordinates the initiative, which was founded in 2022. “We create an environment where women feel comfortable and can discover and develop their full potential. Through our stories, we want to encourage other women and girls to enter an exciting and promising field.” She finds the communal safe space, in which ideas can emerge, as particularly valuable.
MI(N)Tchangers and their projects
The success of such measures also depends on their visibility. That’s why the community invited Sonja Wallner, Chief Financial Officer A1 Austria, Alex Stock, Chief Technology Officer A1 Austria, and Natascha Kantauer-Gantsch, Senior Director Business Unit Consumer A1 Austria, to present three ideas at the end of February 2023. The aim was to win over a “business angel” as a sparring partner for the further steps of the projects.
Welcome on stage, the projects and the minds behind them:
MiniMINT & A1 Family Day
The idea: children have a natural interest in STEM topics, they have been experimenting since birth. Over the course of their school education, however, something happens to girls and they lose interest. Teachers, parents, relatives and friends have an enormous influence on promoting interest in STEM subjects. That’s why A1 can start right here: a day for A1 parents, where they experience STEM topics together with their children in an exciting and varied way with a digital puzzle rally, experiments, child-friendly key notes and first programming courses on AI. Around 2,000 parents work at A1 Austria, and we have almost 3,000 A1 kids under the age of 14 – a target group that should not be underestimated and where we can make a direct impact.
Oisin Pircher, Natalie Wöss, Katharina Gartner, Magdalena Dolna, Natascha Stojkov, Natascha Kantauer-Gantsch, Waltraud Lengyel
As a mother of a daughter, it is especially important to me to maintain and encourage her interest in STEM subjects.
MINTBusters & MINT Myths
The idea: there are so many myths around STEM that are a big barrier for women to take on a technical job. Just one example: for a STEM job, you absolutely need an education that is pretty time-intensive. However, in the age of microlearning on social media platforms, boot camps, community learning, and meet ups, access to STEM knowledge has become “barrier-free” and open to everyone. A lateral entry into a STEM career field is currently possible with comparatively little effort. This myth and a few more are persistent and it is important to take away the fear they cause and give courage with small humorous videos within A1 for the time being.
Alex Stock, Viktoria Schmutzer-Sommerer, Karin Mairhofer, Alisa Reichert, Minja Ruvic
I want to reveal the exciting world of STEM to all girls and women, and motivate them to take the step in this direction, because these are the best professions in the world.
MINTSisters & MINT Mentoring
The idea: a buddy system of STEM women for women entering a STEM profession at A1, whether as a newcomer or career changer. Often there is only one woman in technology teams. Many women soon leave their STEM jobs because it quickly becomes lonely in a male-dominated field. With a STEM sister by their side, experiences can be shared and encouragement given.
Sandra Walder, Renate Bartl, Sonja Wallner, Diana Süß (not on the photo), Verena Binder-Krieglstein
As a woman in a STEM field, I look forward to change: from exception to normality.
We are happy that all teams were able to win over a business angel and are excited about the next steps of these and all other projects that help to promote gender-diverse teams, especially in the technology sector. Save the date: MINTchanger:in event on May 11 at A1 Headquarters in Vienna, to marvel, network, inspire, increase visibility, appreciate. See you there!