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The future of work is inclusive. Cognizant is committed to the training and professional development of its employees. Amongst other we put great emphasis on improving career opportunities for women and have launched the Women Empowerment (WE) program to this end. 

Our Commitments

Together with, AXA, Novartis und Siemens, we work to promote and raise awareness for women in tech- industry. We walk the talk with measurable initiatives: Mentorship and Sponsorship Programs, Bias Trainings and our Role Model Campaign.

Our Mentorship Program

We want women to succeed at our company. As part of our Female Empowerment Program, our female employees can choose mentors to help them maximize their potential, deepen their knowledge and plan their career steps.

Our Bias-Trainings

At Cognizant, we work daily to create an inclusive work culture where everyone can thrive. Our bias trainings for our leadership team help to understand and counteract unconscious biases and to make Cognizant an even greater place to work.

Our Role Models

We are proud of our female employees - that's why we would like to introduce some of them: Who are they? What is important to them? What do they believe in?

Our Role Models

I had great role models

Nicolette du Toit

Cloud - Amazon Business Group Market Lead, Central Europe

"Cognizant takes my needs seriously, which enables me to manage the balancing act between being a mother and being a leader."


nicolette du toit portait


At Cognizant, we are technology solutions providers. As such, we have a deep understanding of a wide variety of industries, products and services. We have a lot of customers who use cloud applications and we work with different cloud hyperscalers, like Microsoft, Google and AWS. I used to work for two of those hyperscalers myself. In my current role as Market Lead for AWS in Central Europe, I'm leveraging my experiences about the possibilities of what cloud can do and how it can add value. All deals, offers and opportunities in Central Europe that are cloud relevant also belong to my responsibilities. Working closely with AWS and our Cognizant Account Teams and Solution Architects, we develop the best strategies and roadmaps for our customers. It's a multi-faceted job, a combination of alignment, sales and resource management, and I always pursue the goal of ensuring that the business solutions are clearly defined and recognized by our partners and our teams.

It's a wonderful challenge that still allows me to spend a lot of time with my daughter. That's also the reason I came back to Cognizant. When I first started working for Cognizant in 2018, I came from a Global Lead Role that required a lot of travel, which has been difficult for me having a very young daughter. Cognizant really supported me at that time and took my needs seriously, so the balancing act between motherhood and being in a leadership role was achievable again. You don't forget something like that.

My career originally started at a bank in Pittsburgh, USA, where I grew up. At the time, the bank wanted to get on the Internet, launch a website. They were looking for volunteers to do it and no one wanted to do it. But I was curious. I signed up and was amazed, even though I had worked on different platforms at that time, used computers as a tool, the website and everything that came with it was a whole new world, a world that opened up new areas of business. I was totally fascinated by that. I then started working for a technology provider that was acquired by IBM, and IBM gave me the chance to work in Switzerland. My dream came true: living in Europe. I had studied Italian and French and came to German-speaking Switzerland. So there war another challenge: learning the next language. That was pure adventure, an exciting time. I later moved to Microsoft and worked for 14 years in various roles up to a Global Lead Role before joining Cognizant. 

It was surprisingly easy for me to take this path in an industry dominated by men. Looking back, I'm a bit surprised myself. What made this path possible for me? I had great role models. My grandmother was a confident woman who even back then took the right to go to work because she wanted to. My grandfather just accepted it. My mother studied chemistry while raising four small children. My father supported her and looked after us children. These two strong women and their husbands, who supported them and accepted their desire for economic independence, modeled for me women's self-empowerment and our right to earn your own money. We came from a working class background and from my generation on, we all went to college. 

Another important point for a successful, self-empowered career, in my opinion, is mentoring. This means having people I trust who can look at situations from the outside and share their perspectives with me. 

I've met great women who perform fantastically. Bit by bit, these women are making it easier to take women in leadership positions for granted. However, there is still work to be done, including for us women. We could appreciate the performance of other women more, really name them, especially in front of others, in meetings, negotiations and conversations. We do that far too rarely. That's where we should develop a culture of supporting each other. I have the impression that women are changing. Especially the younger ones can learn that we can be friendly and advance at the same time. We can stand up for ourselves and value our own achievements without feeling like an unpleasant person. Many women want to please everyone as harmony is important to them, even if it is at their expense. I've done this myself far too often out of misconceived politeness. I think that's what young people need to realize: You have to have backbone. Stand up for yourself. You can do it exactly the way it's right for you. That's part of your responsibility to make sure you're doing well.

Difficulties let you grow

Brigitte Roy

Associate Director Strategic Partnerships Development, Central Europe

"Build relationships before you need them."


Brigitte Roy Portrait


What is your daily work about?

I am driving Central Europe business development through the technological partnerships’ lens with a wonderful team. That means keeping up with partners development, industry, & technologies trends, anthropology, a bit of geopolitics, key company news, working closely with marketing and a broad team of tech experts and other members of the commercial team. The schedule is variable, depending on the time zone of collaboration needed, which has happily made us have a hybrid way of working before COVID made it a thing.

In short: your career path and what made you work in the tech industry?

I always wanted to work in a global business environment since I was 16. Creation on multi factors ecosystems in a global context attracted me. However, frankly, I used to hate programming. I studied sciences in college and at university economics and international relationships combined with a master diploma in corporate finance. 

During my studies, I learned business and a bit of coding and kept learning about technologies (more their applications to business than coding), also by internal training and reading books. Since I am really passionate about these topics i.e. trends applied to progress business, I also invest time outside work…. I learned about cultural differences and have been collaborating with global teams for 15 years. The best book I can recommend to anyone who want to get into a global work environment or learning about a new culture is “The culture Map” by Erin Meyer. 

Why Tech? What truly drives me is to solve problems and to create something new. Tech allows exactly that, by providing the fundamental to a modern world -just like ingredient for a recipe, pigments for painting, etc. 

Do you have role models? If yes – who are they and what makes them a role model? 

Yes. Reflecting on them, they clearly have evolved through my life.

They used to be my grandfather, my dad… some (male) teachers, a COO, a CEO I worked with. Only men. 

In recent years, many women influenced (and still do) me. A CIO, a COO, a President, my aunts, a client partner, women who are in the public eye and women who fought for years with private matters.

That’s maybe what makes it more insightful and beautiful. There are more women whose strengths I am aware of and from whom we can learn.

I recently heard that someone who succeed surpassing specific life struggle is precisely the best to coach others. We often tend to forget that success is mostly the result of persevering in difficult situations.

What kind of impact do you think has networking? 


I don't like the superficial networking where you hardly know the person and have just a goal in mind. I enjoy networking when the initial contacts in a relationship deepen, and familiarity sets in, and you can share similar interests, goals and challenges.

Networking allows you to get to know yourself better, grow, open yourself up to new interests and access knowledge (for me it's recently been gardening, kombucha, fermented foods, swimming).

It like the saying who says: “Build relationships before you need them”.

Where from do you take all the strength and power to perform all day long?

Honestly, I take breaks: physical and mental ones. This can be a walk, a conversation with someone, reading an article, watching funny videos on social networks, exercise like running and cycling, but also cooking and gardening. I like to follow my inner rhythm and be physically active outside of meetings before I get creative at my desk.

Do you think women support each other?

In personal life -a lot. On relationships, kids, home stuff, body topics. In business environment -probably not enough but already more than before. 

Interestingly, successful women in the Western world used to be guided by male role models.... and our generation is the first in which successful women are now guiding the next generation of successful women. So, we are finally passing on what we have learned from one woman to another, not only in our personal lives, but also in our business lives. I believe this will be a big shift in moving towards more women in leadership positions and that will improve businesses because we have complementary views that will be reflected in more sustainable businesses.

The presence of women also has a positive impact on the way men work in companies. For example, I used to work in Hong Kong and Singapore, where there are much more women in leadership positions. (thanks to the supporting childcare system). At first, I was surprised to notice men leaving to take care of family duties. 

What would you like to tell your younger self, after all the experiences you made? Would you do anything different?

I would not consider every "difficulty" as a personal failure. They are life experiences. A life with difficulties is the life that makes you grow and teaches you valuable lessons that you can then share with others.

Curiosity is what drives me

Nadia Vickers

Artificial Intelligence & Analytics Consulting Lead, Central Europe

"'Being human' is an essential leadership quality for me."



I have been with Cognizant since September 2021 now and work as the Artificial Intelligence & Analytics Lead in the Consulting division. My team and I help customers across all industries to help customers innovate their business. 

We work with various stakeholders to solve their challenges through data management and data strategy design.

We also specifically determine parameters such as data quality, data governance and review the data-relevant executions as well as the entire infrastructure. We are a European team with around 100 colleagues.

I moved to Zurich eight years ago. Living in Zurich is a new phase in my life - it's safer and quieter here, and since I'm now a mother of two, Zurich currently suits my circumstances better than Paris, where I’ve lived before.  

Before I decided to work in the IT industry, I worked for insurance companies. Although there were many women working in all fields, the management level was mainly male. Basically, it doesn't matter which industry you look at: moving up the career ladder to senior management, you’ll find fewer and fewer women. Compared to the time when I started my working life, things have already changed - we are on the right track. 

What drives me is my curiosity, I always want to learn and understand new things.   
I wanted to get into tech industry because I always wanted to know what the future looks like. I always wanted to be one step ahead, at the top of innovation, and I am fascinated by how technology can make our lives and businesses better. 

Cognizant is a good employer for me as a woman. It is a place that embraces flexibility and respect for gender equality.  My superiors have trust in what I need to deliver with a high acceptance of my mother’s role.  They are empathetic - a quality that is particularly important to me. Empathy is a quality I also look for in others. “Being human" is an essential leadership quality for me. 

Combining work and motherhood can work. But it requires you to be well organized! My experience with Cognizant is exactly what I need as a working mum in leadership.  I can organize my schedule considering my family needs to make everything going. It is just a question of prioritization and balance and within Cognizant this is clearly possible. 

I would like to convey to other female colleagues that being a woman, being a mother and having a career are compatible. Follow what you want to do, be bold, consider your priorities, focus on the positive, use your energy to stand up for the things you really want and be assertive. For me this also includes bringing more balance into the working world and supporting each other, regardless of our gender.

Mental strength is essential

Beatrice Stäheli

Client Partner

"I follow my intuition when making decisions and I am almost always right."

Beatrice Stäheli

I am Beatrice and have been working at Cognizant as a Client Partner in the Banking & Financial Services sector in Zurich since the beginning of 2022. My job is to understand the requirements and needs of our financial customers in relation to digitalization, to advise them on solution scenarios and to assist them during the implementation of the optimal tools.

I enjoy this job and, although the technology and financial sectors are more male-dominated, I can play to my strengths and be successful here.

I grew up in a small town near Lake Constance in Switzerland. My father was a boatbuilder, my mother a housewife.

I started my professional career with an apprenticeship at a bank. I quickly realized that I wanted more. There was a key moment when I knew I was going to study business administration: I was visiting a school friend and his older sister came home. When I saw her in her business outfit, high-heel shoes and with a smart bag, I knew that I wanted to be like that too – a businesswoman, well-traveled and successful.

Studying business administration opened up the possibility for me to leave the narrow confines of my small, idyllic hometown, to work internationally, to see the "big, wide world" and to make a career. I financed my studies myself by working part-time jobs at banks or as an event hostess.

My first post-graduate job was selling technology solutions for banks. I had experience in the banking industry, but I didn't understand much about technology solutions. I am a quick learner and like to familiarize myself with topics. I follow my intuition when making decisions and am almost always right.

I have stayed true to the technology industry. Here I can make full use of my business- and solution-oriented thinking. To me, the stereotype that women are bad at tech jobs seems obsolete as I see more and more young, intelligent women making careers in this industry. It is an outdated idea that needs to be done away with. Even in the tech fields that require an excellent understanding of mathematics, we see more and more women with a scientific background in important positions nowadays.

Of all of the experience I have gained during the course of my professional career, I would like to share with women that they should:

Pursue your professional goals and find the balance between career and family that is right for you. You don't have to justify your choices, nor do you have to constantly prove to yourself and others that you're good. And: Invest in your personal development to the same extent as your professional development – mental strength is essential to progress. But quite honestly – I sometimes wish that I had had these insights myself sooner.

Connecting people and ideas

Poonam Mishra

Senior Project Manager

"We need more diverse  inputs to create even  greater solutions."

Poonam Mishra

I work as a senior manager in Cognizant. I am the program coordinator for one of Switzerland's leading banks, working as the interface between the business and IT. I find my role inspiring: by translating the desired business outcomes into clear instructions and challenges for our team, I help to build a bridge. We work with our customers as a team and grow together. I gain domain knowledge, and I can help people. It is a great job- it requires creativity, empathy, understanding of IT and business processes. I studied computer science and started working for a relatively small company, around 400 people, where I learned a lot. In 2007, I joined Cognizant. I love the way we collaborate, the guidance we receive, and the great mentorship. I have always received strong appreciation of my work and can work on exciting projects to use my skills and talent. Working with good teams is very motivating. Furthermore, working for an international company on many different projects and with a variety of customers provides flexible working times, making it easier to combine job and family.

I would like to see more women working in IT in Europe. We need more diverse input to create even greater solutions.

Driven by data

Ruheena Sonawane

Manager Projects

"Dream. Believe. Achieve."

Ruheena Akhare

I enjoy working with Data. It’s a job close to my heart. I work in data governance for one of the top-tier Swiss banks. I am driven by understanding clients’ needs and ensuring that we put our creativity and know-how to work most efficiently.

I grew up in Nashik, a small town in India, blessed with parents who believed in gender equality when it was not even a known term. I was inspired to dream.

I studied Computer Science, and in 2006 I moved to Pune, where I joined Cognizant to work as a Programmer Analyst. I took a break to welcome our daughter Aarohee. Aarohee means 'Progressing or Ascending.' I want her to be aware that, if you trust your capabilities you can grow and reach your goals .

After my maternity break, I considered no other employer than Cognizant. The work culture aligned with my requirements as a mother. Working in Operations for Cognizant allowed me to have a career and a family without having to compromise.

I kept learning- taking various trainings in the Cognizant academy. In 2016, I told my management that I was ready to take up client-facing roles again. One year later, I was on a plane to Zürich, where I am working and living my dream. 

To communicate better with the clients and integrate locally, I have now taken keen interest in learning Deutsch und ich muss zugeben, dass es Spaß macht.   

Smooth operator

Shannon Meier

Associate Director Finance, European Payroll

"If you don’t know what to do next, just ask!"

Shannon Meier

Twelve years ago, I started with Cognizant as a senior executive. Now I am Associate Director, responsible for managing the European Payroll teams across eight countries, including Switzerland.

I grew up in Canada, where I graduated from business high school. My first job was at a car dealership. After that, I worked for a university in payrolls processing. When PeopleSoft entered the market, the software was introduced in the university, meaning we had to transport 30 000 people into the new system. I figured out how it worked and was so fast operating the system that I needed to pause to let the software catch up with me. The PeopleSoft team immediately hired me to train other people on their software, which opened up new opportunities for my future career.

My talent is keeping a cool head. I am able to stay focused amid all the complex rules, processes, obligations, and timelines and connect the right people to get things done. I streamline the process and make sure everything runs smoothly.

Working for a large, complex company can be overwhelming. I set my goals and priorities every day and make sure I reach them. For example, where are we with any internal or external audits and closure? Have I communicated clearly with my manager, done my team justice, and moved our projects forward within the timeline (especially M & M&A)? I am very transparent if something is not meeting its goals and am open if I have made any errors along the way. I am always looking for solutions! Giving your best is what makes companies - and individuals- successful.

My advice to women pursuing their careers is the same that I gave my son: Be authentic about who you are, and realize that asking for help is not a weakness. It makes you stronger and provides clarity, giving you the ability to move forward more confidently.

Takes bad days as learning opportunity

Kamalika Chakraborty 

Engagement Delivery Lead

"Take guidance from your mentors but make your own choices."

Kamalika Chakraborty

I have been working for more than 20 years in technology product and services companies like Honeywell and Infosys, of which the last 12 years I have worked for Cognizant. My current role is that of Engagement Delivery Lead in Banking and Financial Services in Switzerland and UK. I am responsible for Quality Engineering & Assurance portfolio delivery for multiple customers. In my role I lead large multi-cultural and distributed delivery teams in an onsite-offshore delivery model.  My primary activities include demand forecasting, pipeline maintenance, budgeting, resource allocation & utilization, and on-schedule and quality delivery to achieve high client satisfaction. I love to motivate and lead teams to deliver to commitments in a complex setup and against challenging goals, this is what drives me. 

I grew up in India, where the academic system is quite different compared to what I got to know about the one in Switzerland. My parents wanted me to be independent, professionally successful, and financially secure. In pre-liberalization India the two safest education disciplines guaranteeing a secure career were engineering and medicine, and my parents prodded me to go for one of these two. While I always loved to dance, was quite good at it and wanted to be a professional ‘Bharatanatyam’ dancer my father said that dancing was good as a hobby, to be pursued in addition to a professional career. Hence, I studied and successfully competed for a Bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering which led me to my career in technology. My parents fully supported my career choices that took me to different cities in India, US and finally in Switzerland. Though they would be happier if I were located closer to them, they are incredibly happy that I am independent and have a good career. 

Mentorship played an important part in getting me to where I am today in my career. My mentors, especially those in my early career in India shaped me into what I am today, not only professionally but also personally stressing on the values of empathy, fairness, continuous learning and hard work. From my own experience I strongly believe in the benefits of guiding young people in their early career to utilize their potential and achieve and exceed their professional ambitions. To me mentoring doesn’t mean provoking huge career changes or life changing decisions – sometimes it is the small decisions to be taken or dilemmas to be resolved in course of regular work that someone needs help with. If I can help my mentee just with that and they have a sense of achievement at the end of the day I have succeeded as a mentor.

Achievements keep me going. However as everyone else, I have good days and bad days. The most important thing I have learnt over the years is to persist, and not quit because of a couple of bad days or weeks. I try to reflect on the bad days and take them as learning opportunities, and as opportunities to improve. I believe this will help me progress and succeed. 

I have applied this philosophy outside my career to my fledgling running journey as well. Though not very fond of running initially I ventured into it in 2018, as an activity which I do for my health and fitness, and which helps me disconnect, unwind and relax. I have days of good runs and those of bad ones where I struggle or am not able to complete my intended distance. However overall, I have progressed as a runner over the years and plan to run my second half marathon later this year. 

One thing that I always tell young women is to choose for themselves. Take guidance from your mentors but make your own choices finally and take responsibility for them. Very importantly make sure your voice is heard. As a woman you need to be extremely clear in your vision and thought, be able to articulate it well and be extra assertive to get heard and make an impact. Be very thorough in your work and don’t be afraid to get assertive, and then no one can hold you back. 

I am very happy that we are seeing an increasing trend of women supporting each other. But I think it needs to be more visible and I am grateful that we are introducing mentor programs and support groups, that make the support accessible to everyone.

Ask mentors for support

Indumathi Chitharanjan

Client Relationship Manager

"There is a support system in place, but  you must reach out."

Indumathi Chitharanjan

I work as an account manager. The days when an account manager would just have sales focus have long passed. In today’s deeper client partnerships, the client expects me to take care of everything related to their account. 

This includes sales, business development and delivery. More importantly it means taking ownership of issues and overcoming obstacles, this can involve third parties, often requiring influence and leadership. I am closely attached to the account, so I’m the person our customers can reach out to look to and invite counsel on concerns, plans and requirements they have. 

An important part of my role is providing confidence to the customer and making sure their voice is heard. My goal is to achieve best results for both the customer as well as cognizant. This can be a delicate balance between Cognizant and client interests, an open and respectfully direct style and a trusted honest relationship is key. 

I am a big advocate for people to find role models and mentors in their careers. I believe that everyone has their own strengths, and there is not only one person who can help you. 

A sponsor of mine is Dr. Rolf Werner. When he introduced himself as the DACH Country Head, I approached him and asked whether he wanted to be my mentor. This is something that I’d recommend to anyone: do not hesitate to reach out to people and ask them to help you. In this case Rolf was happy to be my mentor, and he helps me to make important connects within Cognizant. Rolf understands that these investments also pay off at a pragmatic level, as well as enriching the working environment. 

Our delivery head, Sanjiv is one of the people I admire a lot. I can always reach out to him, and he genuinely cares for people. He is one of the leaders who will get their hands dirty, meaning he does not only give instructions, but he is really hands on himself. It is a delicate art to be able to both lead but also effectively juggle many execution challenges simultaneously; and to take the time on top of that to invest in your colleagues. Despite the pressured busy hands-on environment, Sanjiv always offers help. 

Thinking about my long-term goals I would like to step into Anuj’s shoes. He is our Commercial Head and I really like his ideas. He is someone who also dives in deep when necessary, but also has the horsepower to think and act strategically and think about long term improvements as well as short term problem-solving.

Gordon is my official mentor. He is working as a client partner. Our focus is on technical skills – he did an amazing job preparing me for my new role. Gordon’s mentoring has necessarily been heavily skill based. I’ve also shadowed some meetings to see how he leads them to help me to focus on my next step. 

Cognizant’s culture re-enforces through actions the fact that we should keep learning our whole life. Doing that additional piece focused on continuous learning helps me to look into a wealth of possibilities in my future. I also think it is important to pass on your knowledge and experience to others. This is a give and take.

Women especially need to support each other more. In senior management you’ll still find fewer women than men, so we are still that one person that is different. We need to make sure we are visible and stand up for ourselves and our ideas. Apart from the official tools, like for example Propel, our Cognizant women leadership program and mentoring, I also think it is part of our corporate culture to support each other. This can be rather informal like sharing your network, helping someone out or inviting someone to a meeting that helps them to be visible. It is important to maintain a social context to all of this. By getting to know each other personally we also build stronger teams, and an esprit de corps when the going gets tough!

A tip I can give everyone starting a career: there is a support system in place, but you must reach out. Do not be hesitant – if you need help, you need to ask for it. Another thing is attitude: do not think “I do my work, I go home” and that is it. Be ready to promote yourself and make sure you are appropriately recognized for your work. I notice that in general, women do this less than men. I do enjoy my work and relish a challenge, I take my work seriously, and I like to be held accountable and have to stand up for myself to keep myself at the heart of my client’s satisfaction with everything that Cognizant has to offer.

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Preet has been setting polar records since January 2022, when she became the first woman of colour to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole – reaching her goal after a gruelling 700-mile trek in temperatures as low as -45°C. Find out more about Preet and her record-breaking achievments.

Breaking the bias

On International Women’s Day, and every day, we celebrate the achievements of women across the globe. Our efforts to cultivate an inclusive work environment contributes to, and enhances, our collective success.

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