Marketing In Asia Asked.. Nazlina Quadir, Founder Of Women Techmakers KL

Who is Nazlina Quadir? Well, she is no ordinary woman. From our point of view, she is the perfect combination of an experienced integrated marketing communications strategist, an engaging speaker and community builder. With more than 15 years of experience in strategic marketing communications and public relations across diversified industries and stakeholders, she is specialised in designing and leading innovative initiatives that positively impact on the organisation’s visibility, strategic direction and branding.

Nazlina started out as a multimedia designer and then later expanded her career in integrated marketing communications. Over the years, she has successfully lead and set up communications departments, provides consultation for top management and efficiently executes communications plan that delivers a high return on investment.

Nazlina is an exceptional content producer and has been growing extensively in the areas of digital business transformation, social media marketing and data analytics. With her strong technical abilities, she has a long track record of producing effective creative solutions and building dynamic technology savvy teams.

With the mission to empower more Malaysian women to stand out and participate more actively within the local science and technology community in Malaysia, Nazlina took on the role to lead the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Women Techmakers, a global program by Google to advocate women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She has been actively organising tech community events since 2015.

Last year, Nazlina was invited to speak at several conferences including Webcamp Penang, DroidCon Bangkok, Techsauce Global Summit Bangkok, and Google Developers Group (GDG) Summit in San Francisco. She was also invited to mentor the Startup Weekend Women’s Edition and Startup Weekend USM organised by Techstars.

Tell us about Women Techmakers and your role in the organisation.

Women Techmakers is Google’s global program and brand for women in technology. Kicked off in 2012 by then VP of Google[x] Megan Smith, Women Techmakers is now led by Women in Technology Advocate Natalie Villalobos and a global team of Googlers who are passionate about empowering women in technology through increased visibility, community, and resources. The mission is to cultivate a wholly inclusive workplace around the globe by empowering women to pursue their dreams and build tools that change the world.

Women Techmakers events are designed to promote an environment of inclusivity for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as celebrate women leading the industry. We want to advance, grow, and celebrate women developers, designers, and technology entrepreneurs.

Women Techmakers Leads collaborate within Google Developer Group (GDG – a much bigger global developer community program) to ensure a diverse and inclusive ecosystem around the globe throughout their yearly community events. All events under the Women Techmakers (WTM), including the main global event celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) in March and April each year, are led by the local Women Techmakers. This is where my role as the founder and lead organiser of Women Techmakers Kuala Lumpur comes in.

After being involved in the local tech community, I saw the huge gap of gender diversity in the industry. I knew there is a huge potential for women to succeed in this industry however there is a need for a platform that provides the inclusivity in bringing them together. My aim is to empower women in an industry dominated by men, by providing a community for them to share resources, welcome their contributions to the field, expand the ecosystem and in general, help women to help themselves by working together as a team.

How do you see the evolvement of women’s involvement in the local tech scene for the past decade?

When I started being part of the community there was only a handful of woman. I was lucky to be invited to the Women Techmakers dinner hosted by Megan Smith back in 2013 when I was on a trip to San Francisco, US. That dinner was an eye opener where I get to learn about the issues and challenges that are faced by women in tech industry. I always thought that some of the issues are due to the fact that Asian women are more reserved because of our culture but it was then that I realised that these were really more of a global issue. I also saw the huge opportunity for women to really be out there and successful being in tech. That dinner totally changed my perspective on how it is important that women to work together, share and empower each other and I was overwhelmed with the openness and support that was shared amongst the participants.

When the Women Techmakers global program was introduced in 2014, I immediately took on the role to set up Women Techmakers Kuala Lumpur as I wanted to share what I have gained and bring that same experience back here in KL. I organised the first Women Techmakers event in March 2015 with only 50 people and the number keep on increasing every year. We hope to continue growing awareness of the ecosystem and resources for local women in tech.

Can you share the influence Women Techmakers KL is making towards the women agenda in the tech industry since its existence?

In community building, we are focused on growing organically. Last year, we managed to feature women speakers who were first discovered from 2016’s WTM event, where they came as participants. These ladies are experts in their own fields and we are glad to identify them and their capabilities, as they are now able not only to expand their own knowledge but to be able to inspire and empower other women within the same industry. The community has also grown and we get men that are also interested to know more about WTM and to participate in our event. We also connect our members with new opportunities and we constantly support our community members with the latest job opportunities and even application for global scholarships to encourage more women in tech.

Where do you see this movement is heading to in the next 5 years?

The ecosystem is already set into place and we are now focused on growing more, collaborating with other women tech communities at both local and international levels. I hope to see that we manage to achieve our goals of having at least 30 or more percent of women in the tech industry.

As you can see, the industry is still being dominated mostly by the male and women is seen to be making a good progress to equal the numbers. From your point of view, what does it take to speed up the process?

More women coming in together, working together, empowering and sharing towards one another. We are only stronger if we do this together and we need to support each other.

It’s not easy to capture the online community’s attention anymore. There’s a war out there. How do you plan to rise above the noise in 2018?

The answer is to focus on our objective and keep on doing what we do best – organising impactful sessions for our community members and constantly delivering the needs of our audiences. The sharing of knowledge, insights of real experiences and also latest trends in the industry is some of the content that we provide to constantly engage with our community members. We also run meetups for networking purposes, providing a safe platform for our members to expand their network.

Do you think Marketing can help Women Techmakers KL to be more out there?

Yes. We constantly need to educate and create awareness on our programs so that we can grow our community locally and globally. WTM is already identifying successful ladies in tech and groom them to become mentors for others in order to help more women to be part and grow within the tech industry. Last year we also run soft skills session including personal branding and learning how to speak to encourage more women to stand out and be recognised for their talents.

Which part of marketing element that can contribute towards a better awareness for the movement, is it better content, more creative social media play, email marketing, networking event, corporate partnerships or other specific channels?

Integrated marketing is the solution. In this era, you can’t afford to be limiting yourself. You will need to use every platform and channels that are available and we constantly engage with your community members through all of them.

Can you share Google’s involvement in the Women Techmakers KL activities?

From Ada Lovelace to Grace Hopper to thousands of Googlers, they are proud of the contributions women in technology have made across the industry and across the company. They are excited by the contributions women continue to make today. Google supports and celebrates women in technology through numerous initiatives including Small Business Supplier Diversity and Accelerate with Google programs, the Google Cultural Institute, Women@ employee resource group and more. Google Malaysia has been very supportive in terms of providing us with space, connecting us with Googlers that comes in as speakers and mentors.

How do you see traditional marketing role in contributing to your marketing goals this year?

As mentioned earlier, we believe in integrated marketing solutions to drive our marketing goals hence we will use every platform and channels that are available and we constantly engage with your community members through all of them.

How about PR?

In order to create awareness, we need to constantly run some pr exercise to promote and expand the program. This involves short media interviews, collaboration with tech companies for speaking engagements and also participation in tech events.

The best way to contact you?

Connect with me on LinkedIn or drop me a message at naz.quadir@gmail.com

Anything you wish to share with the readers?

Be a part of Women Techmakers Kuala Lumpur and keep up to date with the latest news and events on our Facebook Page. We will be organising the International Women’s Day (IWD) event in March/April 2018.