5 mins with Maria Cuevas, winner of Woman in Telecoms 2017

Maria (002)

How long have you been at BT and can you tell us a bit about your career history?

I have been in BT for almost 18 years now, I joined as an MSC student, from Swansea university, and was offered a permanent position in BT at the end of my student placement. I have played many different roles within BT, mainly technical, ranging from design, architecture, technology strategy and research. My main background is in mobile technologies and services, over the years I have worked on a wide range of services including Voice and Multimedia Services, Unified Communications, Identity Management, Quality of Service Control, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile technologies etc.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

At a professional level, I was honored to be part of the architecture team that defined the target architecture for BT’s 21C project, which set the path for the entire transformation of BT’s networks and the way we deliver services across the UK. At present, I am also very proud to be working on 5G technologies, which will enable a huge range of services that will improve, not only efficiency for a number of industries, but also society as a whole.

Would you say you have ever faced any challenges as a woman in telecoms?

Personally, I don’t consider being a woman in a male dominated industry is necessarily a major challenge. If anything, it has pushed me to demonstrate to myself and to others that I can bring value and contribute to the success of the team, just as anyone else.

Do you think the industry should be doing to encourage more women into telecoms?

Yes I think there should be more encouragement to have more women in our industry. I strongly believe that a diverse environment at work , in any type of industry, is incredibly beneficial, and particularly in telecoms I believe that women can definitely bring different perspectives, soft-skills and ways of working that can enrich and improve the way we contribute to society.

I think that society should work much harder in improving openness in the education of young kids, making sure there is diversity in all aspects of their lives including toys, books, games, TV programs or any kind of content that they consume. I firmly believe there is an increasing degree of gender-based polarization in many aspects of children’s lives today, encouraging very different attitudes and, in the end, career choices of young people, which is preventing society from achieving that goal. There should be more efforts to talk to kids in schools about the different options that they have, and in particular encouraging young girls to try out technology-related subjects at school and choices in their education.

How important is mentoring to you?

It is incredibly important to have support in all aspects of life and in particular at work, having a mentor that can coach  and help you in important aspects of your professional life can be very powerful.

What advice would you offer women considering a career in telecoms?

I would personally say that it is a fascinating environment to work in, I am particularly passionate about the fact that our industry, especially in the recent decades, has made a significant difference to society, and I am very proud to work in an area that can bring so many benefits to people’s lives.

What does winning the WIT Award mean to you?

It has been a tremendous honor to receive this award, on behalf of all women who feel passionate about technology and the contribution it makes to the world we live in.

Find out more about the ITP Awards 2018.


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