At Dejero, we are known for our friendly, welcoming culture and inclusive workplace. For the past two years, 2020 and 2021, we have been recognized as a Great Place to Work for Women. This award was made possible by the example set by the strong female leaders who help create a place where all our employees feel supported.
Bobbi Holte, Chief Financial Officer at Dejero, has an extensive background in the tech industry and is a role model for other women in the organization. Yvonne Monterroso, Director of Product Management, explains, “Bobbi is not only an incredible leader for her team but an inspiration and true supporter for myself and other women at Dejero. I am very grateful for the time she spends with me sharing challenges and ideas as we navigate life and work.”
We sat down with Bobbi to learn more about her career, passions, and why she loves being a Dejerino.
So Bobbi, what’s it like being a leader at Dejero?
It’s extremely rewarding. I think the great part about this company is that you can affect change and make an impact. We’re on the smaller side, so there’s not a lot of bureaucracy and red tape or politics. I’m given the tools and support I need to do my role effectively. The opportunities we’re dealing with, expanding into new markets and growing our business require us to think on our feet, be agile, be responsive to rapidly changing circumstances, so we can’t be rigid. We have strategic objectives and are focused on achieving them, but we can also course-correct as necessary without undue delay.
I’m proud to be a leader at Dejero because it is a company that actually cares about its employees. I’ve worked for other companies, but this organization feels the most like we walk the talk.
Tell us about your career journey - how did you get to where you are today?
In the 90s, I obtained my CA designation while working in a large accounting firm. There were very few female managers at that time. People would leave the profession because the work/life balance was not great for families. But I was fortunate to have some male mentors who took me under their wing and gave me great opportunities.
When tech companies were still a new industry in Waterloo Region, I worked with a tech client with a really smart and dynamic CFO. He taught me a lot while we worked together. I thought it was an industry that was well-suited to my personality, and I left my firm to work for a software company in 1999. The ability to work for a dynamic, fast-paced company with creative thinkers spoke to me.
Since then, I’ve worked in software, semiconductors, digital media, telecom, and was the first COO at the Accelerator Centre, helping sow the initial seeds that has allowed it to become what it is today.
I consider myself pretty entrepreneurial, which is why tech speaks to me. Improving my community is also extremely important to me. Outside of my achievements in the tech world, I also co-founded the Waterloo Region Family Network with four other mothers of children with special needs. This non-profit organization supports families with members who have special needs and is one of my proudest accomplishments to-date.
What advice do you have for women looking to start a career in tech?
My first boss in tech was a woman I greatly admired. She had to make her way in a company that she had just taken public when there weren’t many women doing things like that. Seeing that happen was a revelation to me and helped me believe I could succeed in this industry.
There are a lot of initiatives now when it comes to bringing more women into STEM and tech roles in general. There are still gains to be made, but it’s very different now than when I started for women to break into the industry. People are much more aware of the issues women face and are actively discussing issues related to diversity. More than one woman at Dejero has come to me and said they appreciate seeing a woman in a senior role. We are continually mentoring and learning from each other.
How do you maintain work/life balance?
I will be honest with you; it’s not easy. It truly does take a village. There are times that my life is at the front of my mind, and work gives me the space to deal with those things. Other times, when work is busy, then the family can go on the back burner. It was important to me when I took the role at Dejero that I could still be here for my family and have a job that allows me to be home for dinner most nights. It’s the biggest challenge, and it’s constantly evolving. I have to have a good support system.
I’m fortunate we have a CEO who truly believes in work/life balance. He walks the talk, and my unconnected time is respected. We’ve established more healthy boundaries, and it’s been very beneficial to manage everything.
What are your passions?
I am an extremely passionate foodie. I love cooking and feeding people. Nothing brings me more pleasure than bringing together a group of people I care about and serving them something I’ve made with love. It’s how I express myself creatively.
I also love to travel and am excited to be able to go on trips again and explore new cultures. My trips are always food-centric. I can talk for days about foods and new ingredients.
Recently, I’ve taken up tap dancing. It was something I did as a child and rediscovered as an adult. It brings me a lot of joy and is quickly becoming another major passion of mine.