Breaking Down Barriers in Diversity and Technology

By March 29, 2019 Blog

Diversity is a powerful term. When on its own, the term may symbolize differences; when paired with inclusion – as it is often presented today – it symbolizes equality, togetherness and strength. Women’s History Month, held in March each year, is a time to celebrate diversity and the accomplishments of strong women across all demographics and industries.

Like many fields, diversity is not highly recognizable in the technology sector. Today, women represent 10 to 20 percent of professionals in the technology field. While low, it is encouraging to see the women that are leading the charge.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the smartest women in business and technology – women that are not afraid to voice their opinions and that have the courage to stand among their peers. While more women are needed in technology, it has been inspiring to be in the company of among the best to bring innovative projects to life.

I chose the field of industrial engineering as it offered the best combination of engineering fundamentals and business strategy. This helped me adapt and deliver innovative solutions in established organizations like Nortel, Motorola and TELUS, bringing first-of-their-kind products to market, including Blackberry’s first set of mobile devices, mobile email, virtual networks and international text messaging. These service rollouts required a wide range of skills to deliver, including product and go-to-market strategy, program management and technical proficiency.

All of these solutions brought forward new and innovative developments that addressed gaps in the digital marketplace. Today, in the height of the digital age, technology has never been more important to the way organizations do business and how consumers interact with services online. Identity as it currently stands was not made for the digital age – it is a broken system, but one that can be fixed through the use of new technology and approaches.

SecureKey is dedicated to addressing this gap, working tirelessly over the last three years on its soon-to-launch platform, Verified.Me. The forthcoming blockchain-based digital identity network, using IBM Blockchain’s service and built on top of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, brings together the brightest minds in technology – including financial institutions, telecommunications companies, government and others – to put control and privacy of personal identity information back in the hands of consumers. Through the platform, users are able to consent to the secure sharing of digital identity attributes with network participants to gain access to desired online services.

Bringing the network to life has been a complex undertaking.

As the operating committee lead, understanding how to implement intricate processes was essential in getting Verified.Me up and running. The role has been two pronged:

  • On the program management side, it’s been critical to manage the governance process, while navigating the different interests and goals of all working groups, including seven of Canada’s major financial institutions, IBM and additional network participants like Sun Life Financial and Equifax.
  • On the technical front, not only is digital identity a new concept in the marketplace, but the technology that it’s based upon is also new. This fact, combined with each participants’ own set of technical challenges and restrictions, made for a very challenging initiative. Consider the technical components at play: IBM’s Blockchain platform, on-premise network components, mobile and web applications, back-end integrations and new operational tools. Not only do they all have to work together, but they must also comply to strict security requirements and privacy policies. While I did not design or implement these, I had to keep all the parts moving to reach the end goal.

Seeing this come to fruition has provided all network participants with a common sense of fulfillment and a rewarding reminder of how far Verified.Me has come. Three years, countless meetings and over 160 active participants later, what first started as a concept has evolved into a real service that will change digital identity for the better.

Verified.Me would not be a reality were it not for the strong, remarkably intelligent women and allies working tirelessly at SecureKey and with our network participants. Our solution, built in collaboration to better empower consumers and their digital identities, is one that perfectly encapsulates the ideals of equality, togetherness and strength. While female representation may only be 10 to 20 percent, working alongside my colleagues and partners has shown me that the women in technology are powerhouses of skill and innovation. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this team, this solution and this industry.

About June Macabitas

June Macabitas earned a Bachelor’s of Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines and holds a PMP certification from the Project Management Institute.

As SecureKey’s Senior Director of Program Management, June is responsible for the delivery of programs and initiatives that are critical to SecureKey’s success. She has extensive experience managing large, cross-functional project teams to deliver complex business, operational and technical requirements. Prior to joining SecureKey, June was responsible for delivering innovative solutions in established organizations like Nortel, Motorola and TELUS, bringing first-of-their-kind products to market.