Stibo Systems honors women in master data management (MDM) and the great work by so many to achieve gender balance and equity. This series brings you interviews with remarkable women in our industry, and we hope their stories will inspire you to chase your passion for MDM and related fields.
Anna Schéle is head of Catalogue Creation (MDM) at Ahlsell AB, the leading Nordic distributor of installation products, tools and supplies addressing installers, contractors, facility managers, industry, energy companies and the public sector. Anna has a background in economics and purchase, but later moved to marketing, where she started managing catalogues and product sheets. Today, she is responsible for the MDM team including driving development of both the system and the way of working internally, as well as externally, with suppliers. In her role she also works hands on with product data and with Stibo Systems MDM platform.
Why did you pick a career in master data?
I started working with product data back in 1994, where I created lots of catalogues and product sheets for our web shop and customers. I have a background in purchase, which early on made me understand the importance of product data and how much time and money can be saved by working more efficiently.
What do you like most about your job?
There are always new opportunities, new ways of thinking and new customer demands to take care of. So many ways to solve problems and it's very interesting to see what multidomain and a “single source of truth” can bring us.
What do you see as the biggest barriers for more women in the master data field?
There are fewer women in management in general, and in master data specifically there are more women in admin roles than in management.
I think management culture will change over time and that women will be seen as more valuable partners in the effort to manage master data and use master data in various systems. In general, I think management teams across organizations have understood the importance of different angles and that women bring unique value to the table.
What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in master data?
Go for it! There are already too many stubborn men in master data who really can use the perspective of women. Women who can contribute and create results.
Does your organization work to promote gender equity? If so, how?
Yes, of course! In our Swedish management, 30% are women and in Ahlsell group management, 20% are women, and I’m sure those numbers will increase even more over time.
Of course, knowledge, education and professional qualities outweigh gender when we hire in Ahlsell. I would say that our business, as a wholesaler, is still mostly male-dominated, but the number of women in management has increased over the last couple of years, not only in top management but also in our sales, central warehouse teams and in our stores.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
It sounds strange, but I love to work. While most other people can’t wait to go on holiday, I struggle to let go of my work. It usually takes me a few days before I start enjoying my holiday. I´m also into healthcare, and many of my colleagues actually come to me to consult, before they call their doctor.