International Women’s Day: Q&A with Rebecca Law, Country Manager, Singapore, Check Point Software Technologies
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role at Check Point
I am Rebecca Law, Country Manager for Singapore at Check Point Software Technologies. I am responsible for leading the overall business strategy and sales operations in Singapore. I started out in the tech industry doing IT security sales and over the past 20 years, I have worn many hats, progressing from Sales Account Manager in a system integrator, Channel Management and leadership roles in principal vendor positions.
What is it like working in a traditionally male-dominated industry?
I think there has always been a social stigma for a female working in a male-dominated setting, like the IT industry. It seems like men will likely continue to hold a higher ratio in this industry as fewer females like to take on technical positions. Whilst this is changing in recent years, I still feel this unbalanced ratio will be maintained.
When I first started out, which was some 20 years ago, there were plenty of challenges. They were different in range and scale from what female employees are facing now. I felt that I was standing out a lot, and overlooked just because I was a lady in a male-dominated industry. It was also demoralising when I was not recognised for my capabilities.
The good thing is, I am rarely daunted, and will fight stronger with each challenge. I am glad to say that things have improved since then, and many companies are now pioneering for equality for women in workplace environments across all sectors, not just in the IT sector.
In fact, one of the compelling reasons I joined Check Point was knowing that the organisation choose leaders based on the qualities and capabilities of the person, rather than their gender. In fact, the company thrives with female leadership. I was excited to know that females are taking on the key roles at Check Point.
For example, we have Rupal Hollenback leading sales and marketing. She is a veteran in the tech and business world. We also have Dr Dorit Dor, a recognised cybersecurity expert and speaker at World Economic Forum (WEF), fronting the product and technology development. Even the Head of Research at Check Point is a lady — Maya Horowitz, leading over 100 analyst and researchers!
Because of that, I know I will be valued here, my work will be recognised, and that I will be judged not based on gender, but my capabilities.
Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome them?
I think I have met my fair share of roadblocks, from unkind superiors, to mean assumptions, and sometimes even my own insecurities and self-doubt gets in the way. However, I remind myself that I have came a long way, and when my doubts arise, I tell myself that I am enough.
One of the most common challenge is being judged for who I am. I feel that there is always a stereotype that men are natural leaders and women are second in consideration when there is an important task to be completed. Similarly, there were experiences where it was assumed that my male colleague or subordinate will be taking the lead in a meeting when we step in together, simply based on gender. It helps that I am vocal about things, and I believe my perseverance and determination, coupled with my capabilities, industry knowledge and experience will pay off and continue to reap results at the end of the day.
On a personal front, I am a mum to my 6 year-old and I’m immensely proud of her. However, it was a challenge juggling my career, caring for her and still live up to the expectations of the society. Having her altered my leadership ethos — I recognise that work is important, but family will always be my first priority. I make it a point to be there for her important moments, and it really makes a difference when you have a strong support system at home. I tell the same to my team — Work is secondary, be there for your family’s milestones!
What is your leadership ethos?
I believe in teamwork and collaboration (much like one of the 3 Check Point’s philosophy — comprehensive coverage, consolidated solutions and collaboration throughout the company!). I like to think that I lead with compassion and empathy. I am an advocate for open communication — Don’t be afraid to approach me when they meet a roadblock, and I am passionate about providing women equal opportunities at work.
I always tell my team to work hard, have fun and enjoy the process. Sometimes, it’s the journey that matters. Learn from leaders that you meet along this journey, be it male or female — it’s the traits and abilities of these leaders that you should be looking out for!
What is the best takeaway you have gained, that you would like to impart to other like-minded women in tech?
Ladies, you are ENOUGH! Believe that, and don’t let people tell you otherwise, even when that person is yourself. Enjoy what you do, give it your best shot every time, believe in your own abilities, gain the experience you need and the right people will appreciate you, just the way you are. Be kind, speak up and be fearless!