She rides a bicycle to work. She is gentle-spoken, wears no makeup, and does not put on any airs as head of one of the biggest tech companies in the world. To present the keynote address to an audience of around 200 humans from eighty distinctive nationalities, she walks as much as the level in casual attire – a black T-shirt and trousers.


Her simplicity isn’t always misleading. It’s each inspiring and heart-warming. Gillian Tans, President, and CEO of online journey platform Booking.Com, are some of the international’s highest-paid CEOs, with an internet-really worth of $forty million. (Her salary in 2016 turned into $17 million.)

When HerStory catches up with Gillian at Booking.Com’s swanky workplace in Amsterdam, she is excited to talk approximately not simply about the 23-year-antique agency in which she has spent the remaining 16 years, but additionally about girls creating a mark at the tech scene, which has long been a male-dominated one.

“The hole for ladies in leadership roles is truly widening, no longer narrowing. It demands several attention. Overall, you spot extra guys than ladies in technical roles. There’s no longer even enough women who can be studying these topics, so it’s not something that businesses alone can fix.”

Gillian is an exception to this norm. After graduating from Hotel School Middleburg, The Hague, and serving as Director of Sales at Golden Tulip Hotels, she joined Booking.Com in 2002. In the last 16 years, she has served in diverse positions at Booking.Com in worldwide sales, operations, IT, content, and client care. In 2011, Gillian was appointed as Booking.Com’s Chief Operating Officer and promoted because of the Chief Executive Officer in 2016.

The 48-yr-antique mom of 3 has also been instrumental in bringing more women into technical roles and leading pretty some initiatives at Booking.Com in this regard.

Attracting more girls to tech

In an attempt to boost opportunities for ladies in tech, Booking.Com gives grants of 500,000 euros in scholarships to undergraduate and postgraduate ladies analyzing pc technology, engineering, technology, and mathematics. This is carried out in partnership with Cornell University, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, Oxford University, and the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.

Gillian strongly believes social and financial trade is driven via era. If women remain below-represented in technical roles, it could create a larger social divide and supply rise to gender stereotypes.

“This is a real problem, and we should all worry about destiny. This is why it’s far excessive on the timetable for Booking.Com, wherein we’ve 20 percentage ladies in tech roles, which I think is probably higher than a whole lot of different organizations. We control to grow it each 12 months. However, it takes quite a few attempts,” she says.

In a recent survey, Booking.Com determined that women nonetheless perceive their gender to be negative to pursuing a career in tech, with extra than half (fifty-two percent) attributing this to the tech enterprise’s largely male-ruled body of workers.

Gillian worries that there aren’t many role fashions amongst ladies who are setting up their personal enterprise or becoming CEOs. “This might also lead more ladies to assume that this road is not viable. That’s why I maintain pushing media additionally to show off more such women (in tech),” she provides.

However, Gillian consents that it is extra complicated for ladies in board rooms to speak up. “I additionally once in a while want to push myself; my voice is low, or I don’t need to break.”

Leading the company’s boom

It changed into below Gillian’s leadership that Booking.Com grew from a small Dutch startup to being the worldwide chief in tour and tourism and superior its operations in more than 224 international locations and territories.

Gillian remembers with a smile that the founders wanted to build the agency from an Excel sheet. This becomes a time when few hotels had been using era. Gillian realized that they needed to extend to more nations, have people on the floor, and help their companions to be successful by way of going online. She says: