Wittenborg Welcomes Marianne Dorder-Servet: Championing Diversity in Tech

Wittenborg Welcomes Marianne Dorder-Servet: Championing Diversity in Tech

Global People Lunch & Talk Dives into Diversity

On 13 June, Wittenborg's Amsterdam study location hosted Marianne Dorder-Servet for a special Global People Lunch & Talk. Originally from Suriname and relocating to the Netherlands in 1999, Dorder-Servet is an experienced IT professional, mother and founder of Zwarte Vrouwen voor Technologie (ZVVT) — the Black Women for Technology Foundation.

She currently also works as an Information Manager at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre.

During the session, Dorder-Servet explained her motivation for starting the organisation in April 2021: "I mainly started it after questioning where the black women are in the IT sector and to activate a conversation about digitisation and IT opportunities within the black community." 

Fast-forward to the present day, the organisation champions diversity and inclusion in the IT sector, functioning independently as a national organisation headquartered in Amsterdam South-East. 

Their services include comprehensive IT career programmes catering to beginners and experienced professionals alike. Participants engage in various assignments in programming, research, design, cybersecurity, and undergo personality and intelligence tests to identify development areas. Additionally, the organisation hosts both online and in-person events such as workshops, courses, IT events, training sessions, and informational sessions tailored for IT professionals and entrepreneurs.

Reflecting on her journey, Dorder-Servet shared, "I'm someone who loves to read a lot. Nearly 25 years ago, I saw an advertisement for computer courses in the national newspaper, sparking my curiosity despite never having used a computer before."

This marked her entry into the tech world, where she later pursued studies in information services, business IT and management, leading to roles such as programmer, researcher, information specialist, data analyst and project manager. 

As for addressing misconceptions and challenges in IT, Dorder-Servet stated, "In most cases, I’m underestimated. Because people underestimate me, I can surprise them in both positive and negative ways." 

She emphasised the importance of refusing to be boxed into categories like diversity and free services: "We are an IT knowledge-oriented organisation with black women as our primary target group. If you want diversity then you have to invest in diversity." 

Advice for Aspiring Professionals 

Students were particularly interested in her advice on popular study fields. Dorder-Servet offered some valuable guidance: "You can't do anything nowadays without digitisation or technology. So, combine this with your existing skills. You don't necessarily need to be a programmer; integrate technology with something like marketing, if that is your background, and find out how it can all work together."

WUP 21/06/2024
by Erene Roux
©WUAS Press

Wittenborg Welcomes Marianne Dorder-Servet: Championing Diversity in Tech
Wittenborg Welcomes Marianne Dorder-Servet: Championing Diversity in Tech
Wittenborg Welcomes Marianne Dorder-Servet: Championing Diversity in Tech