In charge of a multidisciplinary team around the world, Joanne Juan Pupo has been growing professionally in the 11 years he has been in the AXA Group, after going through other technologies such as Oracle. Working very hard, being very curious and wanting to learn are his foundations to achieve the IT leadership that he runs in the insurance company. The secret of success: having the best team and believing in people.
[MCPRO] After 11 years at AXA, how did you get to this position? How has the evolution process been within the company?
[Joanne Juan Pupo] I have always worked very hard and I have been very curious about what has helped me to work in technology and as a team.
At AXA I was leading programs and projects in the digital part. With the change in structure, I was given the opportunity to take on a new responsibility in this area, a change that helped me grow.
The road, however, has not been easy and we have worked a lot as a team, but I have been lucky to be trusted and surrounded by great professionals.
[MCPRO] What kind of projects have you carried out as a digital leader at AXA?
[Joanne Juan Pupo] There are several important projects that we have carried out. For example, the worldwide development of the flagship for the MyAXA mobile app. This was a digital revolution within the company and opened the digital transformation of AXA.
At the end of 2018, the global CEO of AXA announced an alliance with ING in which AXA was going to sell its insurance products through the bank’s app. Everything that connects the ING APP with AXA was being done by my team with support from Italy and Germany.
Today we are creating an Insurance as a Service (Open Insurance) platform in which we include third parties with the integration challenges they pose. We have also created many of the Group’s client websites.
[MCPRO] You studied systems engineering. Do you think technology training is key to achieving IT management positions or, on the contrary, is experience worth more?
[Joanne Juan Pupo] Training helps, but I don’t know how many remember the algebra formulas they have studied. A base is necessary, but also continuous work and there experience is very important and continuous training.
In addition, soft skills and all emotional intelligence are very important. We focus a lot on hard skills, when resilience, empathy for business or the ability to find consensus is often vital. Because your way of doing things is not always the only one. These tools are important for growth.
«We need references. Girls have to believe that they can get to the address »
[MCPRO] Management positions associated with technology are mostly held by men. What do you think this gender gap is due to?
[Joanne Juan Pupo] I would go to childhood. When we choose the career it seems that there are already certain roles associated with men and that directly influences our decision.
That is why women need references. Girls have to believe that they can get to you. Nobody prevents it, but it is necessary to promote it. For this reason, the directives must go out and speak in forums such as the MIT Women Forum where I had the opportunity to participate.
In addition, it is important to take advantage of every development opportunity they offer you. I have had many at AXA and I have taken advantage of all of them.
[MCPRO] What recommendations would you give to any woman with aspirations for IT leadership positions?
[Joanne Juan Pupo] The first that they believe in themselves. It is important to be faithful to the values of each one and it has helped me. When you are not you it is difficult because a lot of energy is wasted trying to be something that you are not.
Furthermore, we must allow ourselves to be wrong. We women demand a lot of ourselves and it seems that we cannot go wrong. Nothing happens for failing. The manager also learns from his mistakes and must accept that they can happen.
Resilience is also important. It is not easy but you need to have harmony between your work and your life. Like the team. Nobody knows everything and to get to certain positions it seems that we have to be experts in everything, but nobody is and it is necessary to surround ourselves with other good, multidisciplinary professionals and know how to listen to grow with them.
This interview is included in the ebook «Get to know them: Women who lead technology in Spain«, A special ebook with 9 interviews with great technology managers in the country who tell us about their trajectory, the projects they carry out and the pitfalls they have encountered along the way.
You can download it for free here: