E100 - Jean Critcher at Orange Business Services

Joe James
Jean Critcher

By Joe James & Jean Critcher

You have reached our 100th episode of The Route to Networking! A special thank you to all the guests that have joined us on this insightful journey.

For our 100th episode, our Head of Contract Division, Joe James, was joined by Jean Critcher, the Head of Practises, Consulting and Digital System Integration Europe at Orange Business Services. Jean has been at Orange Business Services for 22 years now, where she started as the Senior Product Manager. Since then, she has worked her way up the ranks through multiple positions and has been in her current role for the past 5 years. Jean discusses some of the changes she’s seen in the Telco space since the start of her career in Networking. She also delves a little deeper into women in the tech space and the problems that are surrounding that.

It all started back in her university days. Jean did a degree in both Computer Science and Music. She comes from a musical background and has kept music as a side hobby even to this day. Her father was a database programmer, which is where she got the idea to take Computer Science as a degree.

Her very first job coming out of university was with UPS (United Parcel Service) as a Software Engineer. She was part of the team that created their first digital signature on their brown boxes. This role was one of her first exposures to customer experience. After a while, she got the entrepreneurial bug in her and came across someone who came in and delivered tech training, had their own business and was looking to partner with someone. The idea behind it was to help businesses get on the internet due to there being a huge internet boom at that time. They developed the company to focus on the business internet which is what they called the company and built the IPV6 wave. She eventually got a contract with Global One which eventually became Orange Business Services.

Through her time there she has moved to France, back to the USA, Belgium and now Germany. She’s done a wide breadth of roles from a Product Manager right up to the Head of Practices, Consulting and Digital System Integration for the Europe team.

Biggest challenges in the Telco space?

The traditional Telco world was lengths and speeds whereas now the challenge is changing that model to be more flexible and integrated into their customers’ existing platforms so they can respond faster to their business changes. Granted this is a massive transformation across the Telco world but it’s the new world. If they don’t do this, Telco won’t survive, it’ll just be lengths and speeds again.

Women in tech…

Women don’t get the same exposure because they just aren’t aware of it. There has been a huge push for gender diversity for the last 5-10 years but even more so in the last few years. Jean says what’s missing is women Engineers in general. Women with the Engineer mindset and with Engineer skills. If you don’t have family in the industry then you’re more than likely not going to do it. Influence needs to start from a young age.

For her, the motivating part is she has a split life of performance, personal/family life and money! Money won’t make you happy but it’s an incentive. Some of the women she’s known in the industry have been on 6 figure salaries which could be a deciding factor for many women to enter the space.

Jean gives not only some great advice for anyone looking to get into the industry but also some changes she sees happening in the future. Tune in now to hear it!