Women in IT – Jane Samain


Power Women, Power Talks.

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we decided to collect some powerful stories by inspiring women within Tobania. No endless scripts on what should or shouldn’t be done, just some honest, casual and pleasant chats about their aspirations, happy moments and role models in life. Fancy diving into Jane’s story? Let’s go!

What’s your current role within Tobania? 

I am an experienced Change Manager within the Tobania.Business unit. My current assignment is much wider than change management though: I am a strategic coordinator for the CEO of the company delivering IT services for the Brussels Region, the BRIC (CIBG in Dutch). Interestingly, the BRIC employs 25% of women, which is higher than the average women in IT in Belgium.


What’s your favourite part of the job?  

Since I worked in operational risk management, I like jobs that work on a transversal level. That is why I have specialised in themes such as NWOW (New Way of Working). NWOW projects really touch on all aspects of a company: IT and much more. Moreover, after having worked mainly in the financial sector, the switch to a sector with more visible, hands-on results and impact gives me great satisfaction. The BRIC offers civic tools like Fix My Street: go check them out! In a similar theme, my first assignment with Tobania, back in 2019, was for the largest urban development project currently in Europe, taking place in the city of Antwerp. The project touches not only the Antwerp ring road, but also bicycle routes, green zones and moving frogs (!) for example. Definitely also very impactful. 

“I have been on the fringe of IT for a long time. It’s interesting to translate requirements between business & IT.”

What first sparked your interest in pursuing this IT career? 

Having worked at a leading clearing bank for 14 years, I have been on the fringe of IT for a long time, so it was a natural progression. It’s interesting to “translate” requirements between business and IT. 


How can we encourage more women to dive into a similar professional growth path? 

IT is an important layer of society and of business. I would say to women: do not shut out this huge market. Some jobs don’t even require technical IT knowledge. Skills such as change management, coaching, and project and programme management, combined with sound business logic, go a long way. 


What has been your most career-defining moment that you are proud of? 

I have not had an “aha” moment as such but I like the way I have grown: I bring added value to my clients, fast. At the start of the global pandemic, I took a second assignment with my client at the time, on the technical side of our project. Working from home on a double assignment -one of them being much more IT-related than I ever did before- was tough, but it made me even prouder when we managed to deliver on time and to satisfaction in the middle of the Covid era. Well: what we hoped would be the middle… It was in the summer of 2020. 


Who is your role model or mentor? And why? 

Any woman who feels she has the right to speak out and do her job is a role model for me. There are still double standards when the same behaviour is translated into a man being “decisive”, but a woman “bossy”, or a man who is “assertive”, but a woman “difficult”. I have a daughter and I really hope that we will succeed in changing this prejudice soon. 

“There are still double standards when the same behaviour is translated into a man being “decisive”, but a woman “bossy”, or a man who is “assertive”, but a woman “difficult”.”

What is your wildest dream on a professional level? 

My goal has always been very simple: grow, learn and contribute. On a post-professional level, I hope to keep busy. I would love to help out on archaeological excavation sites in e.g. Egypt or Pompeii. And while I sincerely hope that by then, Boyan Slat’s mission to put The Ocean Clean-up out of business will have been reached, I would be happy to contribute to his next goal in whatever capacity I can. 


What is your biggest stress reliever? 

Being with my family, friends, laughing, singing, dancing, reading, art, a blue sky … A lot of -sometimes small- things bring me joy, which is something I am grateful for. 


What mantra do you live by?  

“Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore 

Aka: it’s all about mindset! 


What advice would you offer to young potentials who aspire a career in the IT industry? 

Go for it! IT is a very varied world that can bring you a lot of job satisfaction.