Champions in Conversation：Inspiring Business Leader and Passionate Advocate for Women's Empowerment
NTT DATA has been sponsoring The Open since 2013 while also delivering state-of-the-art technology to enhance fan engagement. In 2022, NTT DATA began co-sponsoring the AIG Women's Open to support female professional golfers. We partner with The R&A to transform golf for women as part of NTT DATA’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
“Champions in Conversation” is a video series that features professional athletes in golf and leaders in IT services who compete at the top global level in their respective fields. Leading up to the AIG Women’s Open 2023, we are happy to share the background story of Episode 2, Conversation Between Mona Charif and Brittany Lang.
“This is my natural habitat,” says Mona Charif, NTT DATA Services Chief Marketing Officer, as she settles into a chair at the Client Experience Center at the company’s Plano, Texas, headquarters. She was joined by Brittany Lang, 2016 U.S. Women’s Open champion, for a wide-ranging, revealing and often humorous conversation. Their dialogue marks the second episode of our “Conversations with Champions” series, which brings together golfing legends and some of NTT DATA’s most talented women.
In addition to winning the U.S. Women’s Open, Lang has 57 top-10 finishes in her golfing career. In the video, she shares the challenges and high points of being a mother on a professional sports circuit.
Charif is new to playing golf but is deeply involved in NTT DATA’s effort to support female golfers by sponsoring the AIG Women’s Open, the game’s most prestigious international tournament. While Charif said she focused on her own performance and growth earlier in her career, she told Lang she now feels a responsibility to help other women rise through the ranks.
In college, Charif studied journalism and intended to pursue a career in broadcast news. However, a chance encounter with Ross Perot caused her to change course. Perot, who founded the IT Services industry when he established Electronic Data System (EDS) in 1962 and later ran for U.S. president, got Charif to promise she would work for his company one day. “You don’t live in Texas and break a promise to Ross Perot,” she says. So, she did join the communications department at EDS early in her career. There were few women working in the sector then. “I didn’t realize that it was male-dominated at the time,” she says, “but I was surprised by how much I loved working in IT services.” She’s worked in this industry ever since.
Several years later, Charif decided to go back to school for an MBA, which helped her shift from a purely communications role into formal marketing responsibilities. After EDS was acquired by HP, she quickly rose to become Vice President of Marketing for HP Enterprise Services. In 2012, she moved to Dell Services as Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Along the way, she made time to raise two children. When her second child was born, Charif negotiated an extended period of remote work instead of taking maternity leave. “At the time, we didn’t have remote work like we have now,” she says. “It was unheard of 20 years ago in the company where I was.” Ever the trailblazer, Charif persuaded the company to allow her to work remotely. “I delivered (the baby) on a Friday,” she says, “and was at my laptop on Monday morning.” Looking back, she would do things differently, but at that time, “I didn’t want to miss a beat (at work),” she says.
Charif is glad that times have changed, though she is reluctant to take credit for being part of a generation of women who worked around the clock to gain acceptance and improve today’s workplace for all women and especially mothers. Charif is now the executive sponsor of the Women Inspire NTT DATA Employee Resource Group (WIN) in North America. She says the group’s mission to support women and develop their leadership capabilities is part of NTT DATA’s wider commitment to the principle that “We enhance our creativity by respecting diversity.”
Charif arrived at NTT DATA in 2016 through the acquisition of Dell Services. When asked about business mentors, she mentions “Bob Pryor,” NTT DATA Services CEO, among other executives encountered during her career. Charif has become a highly respected and recognized leader in her own right, often representing the global company with her trademark combination of energy, wit and a deep understanding of the IT industry’s complex and ever-changing landscape.
She is a key contributor to NTT DATA’s actions to increase diversity, equity and inclusion, and she is proud of the company’s commitment to creating a more open and inclusive workplace.
It is telling that one of her proudest achievements is having “graduated” nearly a dozen former employees who have gone on to become CMOs at other companies. She is relentlessly focused on helping others climb the ladder to career success. “I tell the young generation -- always be resilient and adaptable, and grow,” she says. “You can learn from every experience, even the hard ones, even the bad ones. That’s when you learn the most.”
Charif says that when she started working at EDS, she didn’t expect to work in the industry very long. But she’s glad she stayed because, “I love what I’m doing, and I love the people I’m doing it with.” She smiles and says, “I finally feel like, it’s so much fun, it doesn’t feel like work.”
Episode two of “Champions in Conversation” is available to stream now. NTT DATA is proud to support female talent, both through our sponsorships and our employees and programs. This support and sponsorship empower women to continue taking on challenges, furthering their careers and contributing to a stronger society.
You can learn more about the AIG Women's Open initiative and watch Episode two of 'Champions in Conversation' on the following page.
NTT DATA Services Chief Marketing Officer
2016 U.S. Women’s Open champion