By Charndré Emma Kippie
Loubna Imenchal is the VP / Head of Logitech for Enterprise business AMECA at Logitech Africa, Middle East, Turkey, and Central Asia. She is an accomplished and results-driven senior management professional with more than 20 years’ extensive experience, handling all aspects of sales and operational management, business development and B2B/B2C expansion across the ME Turkey and Africa region.
Loubna has achieved exceptional growth results with large global companies such as Honeywell, FedEx, Alcatel and Canal+, Johnson controls. She possesses an ability to develop effective commercial strategies that enhance sales capability targeted to increase market share and positioning. In addition, she is skilled in creating effective route-to-market distribution models through strategic negotiation whilst cultivating rewarding relationships with key decision-makers.
What got you into the field you’re currently in?
I love working at the cutting edge of Innovation. It is inspiring work that fulfils a real need. Technology drives the way the world functions and the way people live. It is a must in the present and it creates the future. Technology is a broad, diverse sector with countless opportunities to develop and grow. This makes it the ultimate ‘portable’ career, meaning you can find a suitable, interesting role almost anywhere. From app development to computer forensics, cyber security to web design, the range of job roles and industries that fall under the technology umbrella is huge. I’ve always believed that it is important to feel like you are making a positive difference to society through your career. Many technology roles help make the world a better place, either by improving people’s lives, helping businesses to operate smarter, or boosting efficiency and saving energy.
What excites you the most about your role?
I’m so motivated by seeing tangible results from my efforts. It is hugely satisfying to see a large, complex project reach completion, and see the difference it makes to the customer. I particularly enjoy contributing across different sectors, especially the education sector, and providing this generation with the option of mobility and flexibility to work and study from everywhere.
More specifically, in my current role as Head of Video Collaboration for AMECA region (Africa, Middle East Turkey, and central Asia) at Logitech, I believe that connecting people through technology is a valuable mission. Along with my team I am helping to enhance peoples’ relationships and give them the freedom to choose their way of working and studying.
In what ways, do you think Logitech Africa is enhancing the South African economy?
Currently our main focus, at Logitech, is on driving collaboration using our video conferencing tools – there is no doubt that organisations across all verticals have accelerated their digital transformation journey since COVID-19 hit. Hybrid models of operating have become the norm, and teams have been forced to work and collaborate in more innovative ways. As part of their broader transformation plans, and given the current scenario, organisations increasingly understand the value of video collaboration tools to keep teams connected and collaborate effectively — with each other, and with partners and clients.
In the current situation, with restrictions on people’s movement having an impact on the ability of organisations to collaborate, video collaboration tools have an important role to play in helping organisations execute their plans effectively, and they can overcome these obstacles by investing in the right video conferencing tools for their needs.
In the past 18 months, video conferencing went from being an optional solution to a ‘must have’ solution. As the trend continues to gather momentum, it becomes even more imperative for organisations not to be left behind. Before the pandemic, executives travelled to physical meetings and used video conferencing only occasionally — usually for calls with colleagues or clients in another city or overseas. But now the situation has transformed, and video conferencing has become the primary means of holding meetings. While organisations will no doubt return to having some face-to-face meetings and limited business trips, video conferencing will remain a pillar of communications and hybrid work.
Organisations will also scrutinise the value of face-to-face meetings and business travel more closely than before, and management will be acutely aware that executives can take part in more video conferencing meetings than face-to-face meetings on a given day. The potential productivity gains and cost savings are enormous.
In the environmental space Logitech has taken an innovative approach to environmental sustainability in being one of the first consumer electronics companies to provide detailed carbon impact labelling on product packaging across the entire portfolio. As a member of RE100, Logitech commits to source 100% of the Company’s global electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030. The Company is working to hit the target early – Logitech has already achieved 88% renewable electricity consumption due to its early efforts at its Lausanne, Switzerland and Cork, Ireland offices which now run on 100% renewable electricity.
- We have created measurement tools so that designers and engineers can quickly and easily compare the carbon, toxicity impacts of their designs, even when they are just at the beginning of designing a new product.
- We use extensive technical design guidelines around sustainable material selection, product recyclability, PCB and component selection, and packaging design that will guide decisions.
- We have built internal expertise in life cycle assessment (LCA) which uses internationally standardised datasets to analyse the impact of our products and portfolios
- We collaborate in working groups in cross industry bodies like RBA to collaboratively develop the standards, tools and technologies for a sustainable future.
We believe that life is more fun when you play. That said, we’re working hard to ensure when you play with our devices that they leave no impact on the world and that we’re all using technology for good.
Do you think your field is diverse in terms of gender equality?
The technology industry has always been male-dominated, and while the gender balance is slowly improving, there remains a lot of work to be done. For many young women interested in a career in technology, this imbalance can be intimidating. At Logitech our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging enables us to bring together people with different perspectives, skills and ideas to drive innovation. We value and celebrate a multitude of cultures, backgrounds, and of course, that great ideas come from us all. As a whole, Logitech has teamed up with Girls Who Code to provide girls with the necessary tools from Logitech’s Master Series as well as educational opportunities to pursue 21st century opportunities in STEM (STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
What are your top 3 tips for ensuring the success of women in your field?
The advice I would like to give to young women is: follow your interests, have confidence in your abilities, and be persistent, because you have as much right to develop a career in technology as anybody else. Also, the sector needs you! Diversity is good for business and good for society, so you will be helping develop the sector and paving the way for more women to follow in your footsteps. There are also plenty of mentors who can help you on your journey and advise you on how to tackle any perceived barriers you encounter. The rewards of pushing outside your comfort zone are always worth it.
What have been some major obstacles in your career, as a woman, and how did you overcome them?
The major obstacle in my career has been striving to be a female in a leadership role, within every sector I have delved into, I took a stance to challenge the system and not choose the easy way into any role – which is why I specifically chose industries that were thought to be male dominated and demonstrate that the future is female. I started my career with Alcatel North Africa while pursuing my MBA at Ecole des Ponts Business School – as many know studying and working at the same time had its own set of challenges. Companies in the engineering sector (such as my roles as Business Unit Director, Honeywell and Vice President EMEA of Johnson Controls) were the most challenging as having to accept females in leadership roles, with no background in engineering, went against the entire nature of the business. Having said this, I have always made sure that with every career move I make, I take a market-driven approach and not a product approach – putting the customer at the centre.
With being a strong female business woman in Africa, comes the need to have a strong support system. You need backing from the organisation you are working for – as I did with my current and previous employer who backed my decisions which in turn changed the industry to believe in my decision and secondly a solid home ground is of utmost importance to achieve your goals. My first support in my life I owe to my mother who influenced me greatly from a very young age by telling me to be the change, not complain but be the person to make changes where there is a problem there is always a solution. Seeing her raise three children while gaining a college degree and running a family business taught me a lot about motivation and multitasking. She was an inspirational role model who always told me that I can achieve anything in life through persistence, ethics, and responsibility – giving me the right attitude and spirit to be the business woman I am today.
Therefore, my decision and advice to women is: throughout all the challenges you may face, believe in yourself, because nobody will ever believe in yourself as much as you do.
What are your goals for the future?
My main goal is to complete my research for a book I intend to publish on the last three generations – Generation X, Millennials and Gen Z, their relationship with technology, and our journey to become a data-oriented society. I am fascinated by this topic and how technology is transforming our lives, society, and the way we perceive ourselves.
What important/life-changing books have you read?
- Business as Unusual by Anita Roddick
- Girl On Fire: How to Choose Yourself, Burn the Rule Book, and Blaze Your Own Trail in Life and Business by Cara Alwill Leyba
- The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman
What advice do you have for young women entrepreneurs who aspire to work in your field?
The tech field is not just for men. You cannot let the male-dominated classrooms and job positions discourage you from entering the field. The fact that top executives at global companies are primarily men clearly didn’t stop Marissa Mayer from becoming CEO of Yahoo! or Cheryl Sandburg from becoming COO of Facebook. Whether you’re a woman or man, your success in the tech industry is going to come down to the same factors: Are you really good at what you do? Can you get the job done? And, perhaps most importantly, who are you and can you understand the people you work with? Coding geniuses will always have a place in the tech industry, but it is people with hard and soft skills that lead teams and take on great responsibilities. The culture of today’s tech companies is collaborative and flexible. The power of influence will take you much further than the power of authority.
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