Women in IT: Lilian Stenholt Thomsen

14 March 2023

"I love technology and technical challenges."

Lilian Stenholt Thomsen is a Principal Consultant at Delegate. She has worked for 10+ years in the telecommunications industry before becoming an IT consultant specializing in Microsoft technology.

While many of Lilian's colleagues might consider her a specialist, she sees herself as a generalist with specialist knowledge: 

"For many years, I have seen myself as a generalist. I have a broad understanding of both software, processes, and the technical platform in general. At Delegate, I have many colleagues who are much more deeply specialized than I ever have an interest in becoming. But after many years in the industry, I have to admit that I am probably a generalist with specialist knowledge in selected areas. It's not so much the individual component that interests me - it's the whole solution." 

Her interest in the Power Platform was particularly piqued when Power Apps began to emerge: 

"I'm very curious, and at the same time, I'm lazy - I hate doing the same tasks over and over again. I think it's downright terrible. That's probably also one of the reasons why I've always had many ideas for optimizing work processes and the like. So the fact that I could suddenly transform some of these ideas into something that could actually be tested and used with this platform, it really excited me a lot. Previously, I either had to get started with Excel and VBA myself, or I had to get a developer involved and convince him or her to help test my idea. That I could suddenly transform my own thoughts and ideas into something tangible was huge!" 

Lilian has always had a great love for technology and has spent many vacations learning new skills and trying out the same skills on systems like Excel. Today, user experience is one of the most important things for her: 

"I love technology and technical challenges, and I've always found software exciting. Making software user-friendly and intuitive is one of the most important things for me. You can spend a lot of money as a company to develop a large complex solution. But if no one can figure out how to use it, it usually ends up as a waste of money."

"I love technology and technical challenges, and I've always found software exciting. Making software user-friendly and intuitive is one of the most important things for me. You can spend a lot of money as a company to develop a large complex solution. But if no one can figure out how to use it, it usually ends up as a waste of money."

It's all about communication

While Lilian has always worked closely with developers and found it interesting, she never intended to become a developer herself. What drives her is the conversation with customers: 

"Talking to the customer, hearing what their challenge is and turning it into a real solution that adds value to them - that's what drives me. Often a customer explains their needs or desires based on an existing system. Then it's our job as consultants to ask questions and dig deeper until we find the real needs and define a solution based on that. In the end, it requires a great understanding of communication to navigate those kinds of situations. In addition, it naturally also requires a basic understanding of the technical platform, but to a large extent, the task is to be able to understand a need and put together the right team to solve the task." 

As Principal Consultant at Delegate, Lilian is a solution architect on projects, where she is responsible for the solutions being built: 

"My main task is to ensure that the solutions we build with the customer actually meet their needs and create value in their organization. It is a changing world we live in, and software development is by no means less changeable. Therefore, my role in the projects often ends up testing hypotheses and through workshops or the like finding the right way forward - both in the project itself but often also in the platform's further path in the company."  

In addition to project work, she spends a lot of her day on tasks that fundamentally consist of creating awareness: 

"The majority of my job naturally involves participating in projects with our customers. But in addition to that, I also spend a lot of time talking about the Power Platform at both internal and external events. I thrive on the versatility of my job, and by going out to various events and workshops, I keep my finger on the pulse in terms of staying up-to-date on the platform 'out in the field'. The big topic of conversation for the last year at the workshops and events I attend has often been governance." 

Woman in a man's world

Throughout her adult working life, Lilian has worked in the software industry, and there have been times when it has been very apparent that men have outnumbered women. A situation that previously made her feel insecure: 

"When you sit as the only woman in an important meeting, you often hear that as a woman, you have to be extra tough and fight harder to show your worth or to be heard. This could previously make me spend extra time on professional and mental preparation. It was important to me that my professionalism was seen and heard. But thankfully, over the years, I came to realize that I deserved to be there. I know that I am professionally very skilled, and I am just as good - or better - than the others in the room. And then it doesn't matter if it's men or women. I'm just me." 

What would you say to a woman considering entering the IT industry? 

"Listen to yourself and find the industry you're passionate about. Over the years, I've spoken to several younger women who have planned a clear career path early on. In cases where they haven't listened to themselves and chosen the industry because of expectations of high pay or recognition, I think it can be difficult to be in the IT industry. It's an industry that delivers if you're passionate about it. I couldn't imagine a more challenging and rewarding job - and I wouldn't trade it for anything else." 

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