Entrepreneurial lady in the tech world

Jacinta Hall came from Suriname to the Netherlands in 1997, within a year she was already working in IT. During her career, she experienced that women in IT miss a safe place in the workplace. For that reason, she has set up her own coaching company.

At Jacinta’s first appointment as ambassador of the Right Brains organization, an organization dedicated to women in the technology world, a colleague wore the Isobel Tote bag. At another appointment, another colleague wore the Lena Flapbag. The more often Jacinta came across Minois bags, the more she wanted to buy one too. The Lena turned out to be the perfect model for her; she proudly wears this bag every day. She also lengthens the handle of the bag to carry the Lena Flapbag crossbody.

IT in Suriname: Jacinta’s fascination with IT arose during her studies at the University of Suriname. Here she worked a lot with computers and discovered all that is possible in IT. A few months after she arrived in the Netherlands, Jacinta got an administrative job at a bank. She noticed that customers did not always say what they wanted. For example, the technology determined a lot and customers often got a product that they were not happy with. This is where Jacinta’s interest in customer and staff satisfaction arose.

Customer satisfaction is key. Jacinta continued to exercise this fascination during her job at the tax authorities. She came up with innovative concepts that involved a lot of testing. Test persons and colleagues tested the concept she devised as the customer would use it. As a result, realistic customer questions emerged and customer and employee satisfaction increased.

Women adapt in the workplace: Jacinta noticed from her first job in IT, many women cannot be themselves in the workplace. Jacinta rejected this and was called ‘the doll of the department’. She likes to dress nicely and feminine and does not conform to the stereotype of woman in the workplace in terms of behavior.

“Yes I am a woman, hello! Dresses, heels, skirts! ”

The road to Betty Jo: In a role-play during a workout, Jacinta closed. Her trainer gave her hard and clear feedback: “Clean up your shit! I see the fear in your eyes. ” Jacinta took this feedback to heart and took big steps through NLP and Social Panorama. She discovered that if women in IT pay more attention to communication, for example, better approach the tone and appearance of business conversations, you get things done better.

Jacinta likes to share her experiences in this field with women in IT, she does this with her company Betty Jo. Jacinta coaches IT women with Betty Jo. It provides a safe space for women in IT, Jacinta offers a bit of discretion with Betty Jo. This can be at the smallest level by reframing a situation in a conversation, or more intensively by means of a coaching trajectory. In any case, in these different ways, Jacinta gives new insights to women in IT.

Taboo on helping women in IT: According to Jacinta, there is a taboo on having a coach and helping women in IT. When you haven’t a comfortable feeling at work, you are feeling vulnerable and not able to share your opinion. This limited women in their growth. Betty Jo’s goal is to provide a safe place and a listening ear. Jacinta always acknowledges that women in the workplace are also important. They provide diversity. When a team is a reflection of society, this team delivers a product that is more in line with the different perspectives present. The most important skills that women bring to the workplace are planning and keeping an overview. “Women, especially with children, are good at organizing and planning.” In this, women may support each other even more, according to Jacinta.

"Women, especially with kids, are good at organizing and planning."

Are there role models for women in IT?

Women in the business world lack a role model to support. Jacinta has two role models: Michelle Obama and Nelie Kroes. “Nelie Kroes worked hard for IT in the European Parliament. She practices a job in a man’s world and continues to pack a woman with heels between the men. Many companies have a mission to get more women into IT. Unfortunately, these companies make the mission personal, lose their common drive for more women in IT and the companies remain disconnected from each other.

What advice would you give men in IT?

“You can open up more to your female colleague! It’s not that men know everything and don’t underestimate us. Who knows, maybe your female colleague will give you a completely new idea and this will lead to a collaboration that you as men do not yet have among each other! ”

What advice would you like to give other entrepreneurs?

“My tip is: Read Michelle Obama’s biography. Michelle took a step back and supported her husband. Barack then became president! Michelle dared to take steps forward and backward. As soon as you take the first step, the rest will follow. ”

April 16, 2021 – Written by Zoë Groetelaars

Photography by Yoran Louhenapessy