Kerstin Rizzo: If I made it, it means that change is indeed possible

KERSTIN RIZZO joined eCabs’ technology team as Head of Programmes a year and a half ago. She speaks to BusinessToday about how fundamental technology has been in the growth achieved by eCabs in the past years and her role as a professional woman in a tech company


Being interested and fascinated by astronomy, Kerstin Rizzo’s first inspiration as a young girl was Katherine Johnson, the famed mathematician who was instrumental in Nasa’s first manned space flights. The recent Hollywood movie Hidden Figures helped Katherine Johnson carve her place in the history books.

“As I grew up, I wanted to become a chemist and had focused most of my studies on research. However, I was always interested in tech and I recall myself patiently typing code from various games’ magazines onto our ZX Spectrum a few moons ago”, Rizzo said.

“Eventually I read chemistry and computer studies at University only to realise there were many tech opportunities available. By then, my choice was an obvious one, and one that I never regretted.”

After 15 years as a systems’ analyst and a software developer, Rizzo spent another 10 years in management, leading several high-profile projects.  She then joined eCabs to realise she had just walked into an immensely disruptive and innovative culture.

“I must admit that I had my reservations and wondered what my interactions would be like in a company which I thought would have a relatively heavier male presence, only to find out that the workplace is also highly populated by fellow ladies,” Rizzo said.

“I had joined a company whose priorities are focused on innovation and a relentless pursuit for excellence. The vision is an ambitious one and it’s what makes the environment so inspiring to work in.”

Technology remains fundamental in eCabs’ growth journey and as the organisation keeps investing heavily in this area, it bids to consistently improve its efficiencies in operations, ensuring a seamless service delivery to its clients, whilst bringing about the ability to quickly adapt to unpredictable scenarios such COVID-19.

“Our technology also takes into consideration our growing driver base. Coordination of all the trips, tracking and timely pick-ups all depend on a robust technology infrastructure, also enabling us to lay out our long-term vision for the organisation. eCabs’ primary strategic goal is to internationalise its product portfolio and is in the process of transforming its current technology to a cloud-based solution,” Rizzo said.

“One of the aspects that makes working at eCabs a unique proposition is the fact that we are a company intent on bringing a drastic shift in the country’s mobility patterns. Mobility remains a big challenge for Malta with a very particular and complex infrastructure, so I am thrilled to be working on such challenges at a company with a vision of bringing a positive change in this aspect.

“Being the only mobility company in Malta adopting an all-inclusive multi-booking channel model through the app, phone, web, social media and email, eCabs has made its service accessible to all to ensure mobility for everyone.”

In a world driven by data, new exciting challenges emerge to harness that power and make good use of it.

Rizzo said that eCabs’ service grows, its models are increasingly helping the company predict traffic patterns and trends.

“This allows us to keep offering a reliable service within the shortest time possible and at competitive prices,” she said.

“With aspirations of product development into the ‘Last Mile’ delivery segment my role becomes more fun and challenging as I help to translate these innovative business requirements into IT deliverables, which will essentially see customers and their parcels reaching their destinations in a quicker, smoother and more efficient manner.”

Agility in adapting is also an essential attribute as external factors can very quickly change the priorities.

And COVID-19 is a perfect case in point, Rizzo pointed out. “The surreal scenario that hit us in March 2020 had instantly shifted the priorities. But we are an amazing team and we managed to pull this through together, matching the speed and change in direction.”

As to the topic of women and IT, Rizzo said she is proud to be a successful woman not only in an IT environment but also at a tech mobility company.

“If I made it, it means that change is indeed possible, but STEM subjects remain male dominated and this needs to change from the very bottom, tackled from as early as kindergarten. School children should be introduced to more innovative educational programs and science challenges so that the future will see more women choosing subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” she said.

“Women in these fields should also be promoted to serve as role models and encourage a larger cohort of young women to take up tech-related jobs.”

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