Rimini Haraya Makama

Be curious, stay flexible and keep learning. Its ok to make mistakes and learn from them, its ok to ask questions if you don’t understand.

Country of origin

Nigeria

Which company do you work for?

Microsoft Corporation (Xbox Cloud Gaming)

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Technology Policy, Public Affairs, Market Entry, Market Expansion (Director, International Market Expansion – Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft)

What inspired you to join this industry?

Years ago, I managed technology accounts/clients as a consultant and one of them was BlackBerry where I led the work on government affairs, corporate communications, enterprise, and consumer PR for about four/five years. I enjoyed it immensely and learnt a lot and became very interested in the industry. I knew then I wanted to focus on technology policy and had the opportunity to join the Corporate, External and Legal Affairs team of Microsoft as a Government Affairs lead – which I did for four years before switching discipline to Engineering and joined the Xbox Cloud Gaming team (Project xCloud) focusing on international market expansion.

What changes, if any, have you seen with regards to women in your field?

More women in leadership, it’s still not enough but it’s on the rise. However, there are very few Black/African women I would love to see more African women in technology leadership positions occupying these spaces.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

Demystifying technology and STEM early on in girl’s life/education – it’s not magic, and you don’t have to be a genius. We should encourage curiosity and not assume that because one doesn’t have an interest in STEM courses when they are younger automatically means they won’t change their minds as they grow and learn more.

There is the general misconception that to work in technology you need a STEM degree or need to be technical. To an extent this is true for certain roles engineering roles but so many other career pathways exist. You can be a researcher or program manager work in communications, sales, be an attorney or CFO etc – whatever your skill set there is a tech role waiting for you to fill. There are also a few programs that upskill women which you can take advantage of e.g., the Microsoft LEAP program and you can also join tech mentorship programs, or simply reach out to someone with a career in tech you admire for some guidance.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

Be curious, stay flexible and keep learning. Its ok to make mistakes and learn from them, its ok to ask questions if you don’t understand.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I enjoy boxing, interior design and film making

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