She rides a bicycle to work. She is tender-spoken, wears no makeup, and does no longer placed on any airs as head of certainly one of the biggest tech organizations in the global. To present the important thing note deal with to an target audience of around 200 human beings from 80 specific nationalities, she walks up to the degree in informal attire – a black T-shirt and trousers.
Her simplicity isn’t deceptive. It’s each inspiring and heart-warming. Gillian Tans, President and CEO of on line travel platform Booking.Com, is most of the world’s maximum paid CEOs, with a internet-well worth of $forty million. (Her revenue in 2016 become $17 million.)
When HerStory catches up with Gillian at Booking.Com’s swanky workplace in Amsterdam, she is happy to speak about not just the 23-year-old agency in which she has spent the last sixteen years, however additionally approximately women making a mark at the tech scene, which has long been a male-ruled one.
Gillian is an exception to this norm. After graduating from Hotel School Middleburg, The Hague, and serving as Director of Sales at Golden Tulip Hotels, she joined Booking.Com in 2002. In the last 16 years, she has served in various positions at Booking.Com in global income, operations, IT, content, and consumer care. In 2011, Gillian become appointed as Booking.Com’s Chief Operating Officer, and promoted as the Chief Executive Officer in 2016.
The 48-year-old mother of 3 has additionally been instrumental in bringing extra women into technical roles, and has been leading pretty some initiatives at Booking.Com on this regard.
Attracting more girls to tech
In an attempt to enhance opportunities for girls in tech, Booking.Com gives offers of 500,000 euros in scholarships to undergraduate and postgraduate women studying computer science, engineering, generation, and arithmetic. This is finished in partnership with institutions which includes Cornell University, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, Oxford University, and Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.
“This is a actual issue and we ought to all worry approximately the future. This is why it is excessive on the time table for Booking.Com, where we’ve 20 percentage girls in tech roles, which I assume is probably higher than numerous different agencies. We control to increase it every yr, but it takes a whole lot of effort,” she says.
In a recent survey, Booking.Com discovered that women nonetheless perceive their gender to be negative to pursuing a career in tech, with greater than 1/2 (fifty two percent) attributing this to the tech enterprise’s in large part male-ruled body of workers.
Gillian concerns that there aren’t many function models amongst women, who are both setting up their own enterprise or becoming CEOs. “This may additionally lead more girls to think that this avenue is not feasible. That’s why I hold pushing media also to exhibit more such girls (in tech),” she adds.
However, Gillian is of the same opinion that it is more complicated for women in board rooms to talk up. “I also every so often want to push myself; my voice is low or I don’t need to interrupt.”
Leading the organization’s increase
It changed into beneath Gillian’s management that Booking.Com grew from a small Dutch startup to being the worldwide leader in travel and tourism, and superior its operations in greater than 224 countries and territories.
Gillian remembers with a smile that the founders wanted to build the corporation from an Excel sheet. This became a time whilst few motels were the usage of generation. Gillian realised that they had to expand to more countries, have people on ground, and help their companions to be successful by going on line. She says: