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Change Makers: Women in Technology

On Thursday 7th July, the BTN hosted Change Makers: Women in Technology in the Wayfair Office in Berlin. 

This event was aimed to bring together a fascinating panel of women technology leaders for an insightful and interactive discussion, looking at how to accelerate women into senior leadership positions, the role of men and organisations in fostering the next generation of talent from diverse backgrounds, how to overcome imposter syndrome, the role of mentoring, sponsorship and much more.

Click the link to listen to the full podcast of this discussion: Change Makers Podcast

Never before has the technology ecosystem invested so heavily in attracting, retaining and engaging a more diverse workforce. Representation is beginning to take a positive angle, but it is evident that there is still a wide gap when it comes to women in senior technology positions.

The panel was hosted by Oana lordachescu (Head of TA – Technology & Analytics at Wayfair) and included:

Birgit is a people- and user-orientated servant leader with more than 8 years of deep technical experience developing, implementing complex infrastructures, and supporting teams for fast-growing startups in various industries. She is a strong believer in honesty, transparency, a people-first attitude, and psychological safety.

  • Natali Vlatko (Global Lead, Open Source Program Office at Wayfair)

As part of the Development Platforms team, Natali leads the Open Source Program Office, staffed by senior engineers, where our mission is to solve technical problems collaboratively with solutions expressed as open source software. This includes using Auxiliary Engineering to push cultural and technical change, developer relations, and platform architecture improvements via ownership of the open source platform.

Viktoriia is an engineer-minded, highly disciplined, SW project management professional with proven records in building and scaling high-performing software delivery teams. Extensive experience in multicultural and geographically distributed companies.

Anna is a data leader with BI, analytics and international marketing background. Possessing strong analytical, intercultural communication and project management skills, she has been driving success of different companies around the globe, helping to build and live a data-driven mindset across the business.

Click the link to listen to the full podcast of this discussion: Change Makers Podcast

Oana kicked off the conversation by asking the panel about their perceived key milestones with inclusion. 

Natali expressed how her role is to help increase the diversity of genders that aren’t on the binary. She said that including non-binary peers tells a better story in the tech world, but that trans colleagues still feel underrepresented.

Viktoriia then discussed her conversation with her first boss who had said that she can’t get the salary increase that she wanted because she is a woman. He was referring to the fact that as she is a woman, she does not need to provide’ for the family in the same way a man would. Viktoria expressed how sexist conversations like this are still happening today and should not be permitted.

Birgit’s wants to see that all companies are diverse and show in every way that they support diversity. Her experience in the past with a CTO presented to her that this is still not the case as he still questioned why diversity was so important in an interview she conducted.

Anna said that she had faced a few cases of sexism but they never stopped her from achieving what she wanted to achieve. She said however that her new colleagues who are in the next generation have not experienced the same.

  • Does representation in leadership matter?

Viktoriia believes that it is important to see a representation of women, especially for juniors who haven’t yet had the experience or achieved something in the industry. 

Birgit believes that having a role model starts very early on. Imposter syndrome unfortunately still occurs and women are still holding themselves back. She believes that it is very important that we have women in tech leadership to push the boat out for others to follow.

Anna agreed, but also believes that it is about focussing on the quality of the female leadership rather than just the quantity.

  • Is it important to have allies?

Natali believes it is important to have allies within the industry and that you should treat others how you want to be treated. 

Anna agreed that you should treat all people equally independent on perimeters such as gender.

“I’m looking forward to this world.”

Birgit believes that women are fostering collaboration more but men are fostering competitiveness.

“When we speak about allyship, we need someone to open up and realise people are facing the same.”

Viktoriia believes that the root cause of inequality is how many men or women are in the industry.

“It takes more to prove yourself as a woman that you are worthy of your position.”

Birgit said that she had to take everything in her own path – “I had to be my own sponsor. But at Taxfix I have a woman as a boss which makes such a huge difference.”

Natali wants to be able to have a psychologically safe space within the community so that she can benefit from this community.

“Unconscious training can be taught but it is more the ways in which it is taught, but how can we teach self-reflection? Bias is common sense but training works.”

Please make sure to connect with all speakers on Linkedin, and follow us to see upcoming Change Makers Events.

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