Before coming to Hisco, Inc. in 2020, Ana Bennett spent two decades at Weatherford, starting as a software technical support
, and working her way up to be a global support and quality assurance manager. When she reflects on those twenty years, she says one of the most valuable lessons she learned was how to be “a bridge between the technical and the business.”
It was a lesson she and her colleagues sometimes learned the hard way.
“Many times, I worked on projects or led them where we were far along and showed our business colleagues the first version of it, but it wasn’t what they wanted,” Bennett shares. “In the end, it was often because we didn’t ask enough questions and didn’t understand the needs of the business. Sometimes, the business might ask for something, and if you don’t ask enough questions, you might not see a better way to get to the bottom of their needs.”
Those kinds of learning experiences inspired Bennett to work closer with her business colleagues and with other end users to refine what she and her teams developed, parsing through what worked and what didn’t. The sum of those efforts made Bennett into a leader that can “speak the language of the business and of IT,” she says.
“Whenever you’re working on support, testing, or any other area of software development, you’re really on the technical side,” Bennett says. “You speak the language of programmers, testers, and developers. But in order to lead a team, you need to engage with the business side. How do I explain the technical to the business, and how do I bring the needs of the business back to the technical? That’s a skill I had to develop to be effective.”
That skill is what makes her the perfect fit for her role as vice president of information technology (IT) at Hisco, where she oversees IT strategy, the company’s cybersecurity structure, procuring network, and more. When first joined the company, she helped to build a testing team and to build a test automation platform from scratch. She went on to expand the testing team’s coverage, to take over the development side of the company’s in-house software development unit, and to eventually lead the entire IT organization.
In her current role, her ability to be well-versed in both business and IT needs has been more critical than ever as she helps Hisco and its parent company navigate through the recent acquisition. She’s been working with both entities to bring together applications, find synergies, and to do it so efficiently. Like many leaders in her field and beyond, also focused on ways to automate the business and impact its bottom line.
“We’ve been looking for ways to solve our problems using the right tech and sometimes AI is the right tech to use,”she says. Her team’s goals are to streamline processes and, deliver efficiencies to the business, thus saving the company money and time while improving the customer experience.
She and her team have made strides by automating proof of delivery and tax certificates on ecommerce site. It went from a manual process that started with a paper proof of delivery to a digital one that allows customers to self-serve online.
Those kinds of successes can only trickle down to a servant leader like Bennett, who believes in being a true partner to her teammates.
“You’re only as strong as your team. If you partner with them, you can produce a lot more and be all the more effective,” she says. “I like to get to know my team, work closely with them, communicate often with them, be there to support them, and to challenge them. I also think it’s important that we have fun, are inclusive, and give everyone a safe space to explore ideas. I work hard to make sure it’s that kind of culture and one that allows for experimentation.”
Bennett works just as hard to promote diversity in IT and STEM leadership, both inside and outside of work. At work she gives visibility to underrepresented members of her team and provides opportunities to grow. Outside of work, she volunteers at events and organizations that promote STEM careers for minorities.
“There is an opportunity to increase diversity in the field, especially in gender. We have a lot of talented women that might not lean towards STEM or IT because it’s male dominated,” Bennett says. “But those fields lend themselves to anyone who pursues them. It’s important that we find opportunities to attract a variety of people because diverse teams are so much stronger.”
Early Career Lessons
“Right out of college, I was hired because of my computer science background and quickly learned how software plays into every single industry. When you’re in college, you learn about methodologies and theories, so it was interesting to see how those things worked application-wise. You also get to engage with people across disciplines and you get to deal with different departments and end users. My twenty years at the company never ceased to provide opportunities to learn and interact with different people.”
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