How are things going for women in tech?
While statistics point to higher than average growth for women in STEM jobs, the story for female tech entrepreneurs remains challenging. They’re often faced with funding roadblocks, cultural and gender bias, and not surprisingly, nagging self-doubt.
Lea Columna is an entrepreneur who perseveres.
Using her own funding, Lea founded Ceana Technology, a successful Philippine-based development firm that specializes in NetSuite implementation and customization. She seized an opportunity, cast aside doubts and built a great team.
Her efforts flowered and resulted in Ceana Technology becoming part of the ServiceRocket family. The acquisition took place earlier this year, in support of ServiceRocket joining the NetSuite Solution Provider Program and the company’s expanding NetSuite license and services practice.
“It is our passion to develop and work with purpose-driven leaders at ServiceRocket,” says Peter Marquez, Chief Customer Officer at ServiceRocket. “Lea’s persistence, grit and compassion are great examples of what we all aspire to. Her experience immediately enriches our community of leaders and managers.”
We asked Lea about her entrepreneurial journey and her decision to join ServiceRocket.
LC: I gained a great deal of knowledge and experience as an alumni of Oracle NetSuite Philippines. (Thank you ON Philippines!)
When I started there, we were trained in different product specializations; mine happened to be around customization and integration. In short, I applied what I knew.
LC: People tend to believe that starting a company is something you plan in detail. But sometimes it happens by accident. You learn as you go and gradually develop a purpose.
In my case, I happened to be in the right place at the right time and decided to take a chance. Through my company, I was able to create jobs and provide opportunities to those in need. That became my purpose. I aim to continue that advocacy at ServiceRocket.
LC: I enjoyed the freedom of calling my own shots, be they big or small. It was up to me to decide how to price our services, who to hire, which clients to work with and how to spend the budget. There was the joy of choosing between a pizza or ice cream party for our annual company celebration.
The first year of building the business is the hardest for sure. Overcoming my self-doubt was sometimes a challenge. When problems came up I would experience impostor syndrome. I thought about giving up. Thankfully I was able to shift my focus and make it work.
LC: Unfortunately, it’s still rare. PwC’s 2020 Philippine Startup Survey found only 22% female founders in their sample group of 111 respondents. Clearly, we must do more to empower women to pursue tech entrepreneurship.
Conversely the Philippines is doing great in terms of gender parity when compared globally. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 we are 16th in the world and first in Asia when it comes to closing the gender gap.
LC: One of our first projects for ServiceRocket was Pay Cycle integration. The program saves the team one-two days of work per pay run. The finance team can generate their payroll data with just a few clicks.
Rob (Castaneda) is intent on providing Rocketeers with easy access to data, easy to use systems and automation of manual work that drive efficiencies.
Now that Ceana is part of the ServiceRocket family, we aim to do the same for other companies.
LC: The thought of joining an established global company led by the original founder was incredibly exciting and attractive to me. Being surrounded by people who practice a culture of having each other’s back, who are encouraged to learn and rewarded for their work, was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.
LC: As more businesses move toward digital transformation, NetSuite will play a key role in their tech stack and system integration. For companies who already use it, they can better respond to rapidly changing times with customized solutions.
LC: I would say the proudest moment so far is building a company from the ground up with 18 full-time staff using personal funding, which then got acquired by a Silicon Valley-based company who saw our potential. It’s been a fantastic journey.
As a member of the NetSuite Solution Provider Program, ServiceRocket takes a “whole product” approach to NetSuite sales and implementation, as well as automation, customization and integration services. Scale your business with ServiceRocket and NetSuite.
Lead with your courage.
The XST Blog