Celebrating Our Women in HPC

Posted on 16 July, 2021

Boston officially launched operations in South Africa back in 2019 during a series of High-Performance Computing (HPC) events hosted by the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC). Based in Cape Town, Savitri is our Sales Manager and being the only woman in the Boston South Africa team we wanted to find out her thoughts about the HPC industry and what fascinated her to work within this sector.

Savitri's journey started over 10 years ago in the male-dominated IT industry. She joined a start-up company in the distribution sector and was thrown into the deep end to learn all areas of the business.

"All of the role models I was working with were men, and although I am grateful for the way they challenged me and helped me grow, they wouldn’t understand how insecure I felt being the only woman in the room. Of course, I now know women can achieve anything, especially when they are supporting each other. My goal is to be that role model for women who may have the same doubts I had when I started my career & to build a support structure to enable them to achieve their greatest potential."

What was your path to working within HPC?

I started my career at a small IT Distribution company, which required me to play an active role in all facets of the business. From there I moved to a major distributor in consumer-grade products, my fascination for Enterprise solutions and more complex computer environments pushed me to explore the uncharted territory. When I was approached by Boston, I jumped at the opportunity to join a team of global industry experts and a company that is at the forefront of technology.

What are some of the challenges you have faced in following this path? If you faced any, how did you overcome these?

Being a woman in the industry you do need to work harder & be persistent to be taken seriously, being knowledgeable has been key in earning the trust of clients. I have always reminded myself if you are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone exposed me to opportunities to learn and grow.

If you could go back and change something in your career path you think would have elevated you further in this industry what would that be?

When I was choosing my career path after school, IT was not something I considered. Had I known how fascinating this industry would be, my tertiary education would be focused on upskilling myself in IT. There are many layers to IT and I think it is invaluable to have a good foundation to understand the fundamentals of both Hardware & Software. This industry will continue to grow & evolve which in turn will open up new learning & development.

What do you like about working within HPC?

I find it most fascinating that I am still amazed every day at what possibilities these technologies unlock. Just when I think we are reaching a peak, the industry pushes the envelope beyond my wildest imagination.

For women who think HPC is mainly a male-dominated industry, what advice would you give those who would like a career in HPC, about women empowerment and confidence?

Sometimes choosing the path of least resistance seems the easier or even logical choice, however, I have found my passion is my biggest driver. If you are passionate about HPC, and a world of learning opportunities, don't choose the path of least resistance, choose the path which makes every day a challenge to help change perceptions by proving that you deserve to be there. Although I am the only woman in Boston South Africa, there are plenty of other women across the Boston group who are sucessfully contributing to the industry, supporting one another, and being championed by our colleagues.

Savitri is based remotely in Cape Town and would love to hear from you should you have any queries, you can reach her at [email protected].

Tags: hpc, women in hpc, diversity

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