She transforms leadership norms and ignite inspirational change

You have had a super exciting journey that has been anything but conventional. What have been your guiding principles in making career choices?

My professional journey has been far from a predetermined path, and I consider that unpredictability to be a source of strength. There’s a touch of Pippi Longstocking in my approach – a determination to carve out my own trajectory and embrace the unforeseen. Throughout my career, I’ve maintained a fundamental trust in my abilities and instincts, not strictly sticking to a meticulous career plan.

My guiding principle has been to aim towards tasks that resonate with inspiration and purpose, where I can genuinely make a difference. Despite not always opting for the conventional route, my mindset is characterized by a receptiveness to the unexpected and a commitment to pursuing what genuinely ignites my passion.

You lead one of the most gender-balanced teams at DevPort. How do you perceive gender equality in the engineering industry, and how do you actively contribute to steering the development journey in your role at DevPort?

Creating and sustaining a gender-balanced work environment and actively monitoring the well-being of my female colleagues are fundamental. Gender equality not only transcends a numerical balance within the team; it creates an environment where everyone has equal opportunities for contribution and development, epitomizing for true equality.

In my role at DevPort, I am deeply committed to evolve gender equality by championing and supporting female colleagues in the industry. This involves proactively recruiting and fostering the growth of female talent, ensuring that all voices are not only heard but also respected. Through heightened awareness and the promotion of a culture characterized by respect and openness, I am confident in our ability to cultivate more gender-balanced teams at DevPort, thereby playing a pivotal role in shaping a more inclusive engineering industry for the future.

Throughout much of my professional career, I have been actively engaged in the technology industry, providing me with a robust toolkit to offer valuable support, coaching, and the sharing of my experiences. Being able to provide help from a female perspective is a considerable asset for me. Furthermore, my enthusiasm for promoting this dynamic industry, brimming with endless possibilities and avenues for personal and professional development, remains a driving force in my missions.

What challenges have you faced as a female leader in a male-dominated industry, and how have you handled them?

I’ve faced preconceived notions and stereotypes surrounding women’s leadership and technical prowess. Many holds predefined ideas about the “expected” characteristics of a leader in the technical sector, leading to occasions where I had to exert extra effort to demonstrate my competence and knowledge.

In a predominantly male industry, the absence of female role models has posed challenges. Navigating without clear examples has been demanding, but I sought inspiration from the exceptional few female leaders I encountered and aimed to be the role model I lacked. Additionally, several supportive male leaders have been instrumental in my journey.

There were instances where being heard or respected in meetings dominated by male participants presented difficulties. To overcome this, I dedicated significant effort to enhance my communication skills, ensuring clarity and assertiveness to amplify my impact.

To tackle these challenges, I invested time in education and skill development, boosting my knowledge and leadership capabilities for increased confidence in my role. Actively seeking mentorship and networking with both women and men within and beyond my industry provided valuable support, advice, and guidance. I’ve remained committed to authenticity, staying true to my values in my leadership role, and refusing to let biases or stereotypes dictate my behavior or decisions.

What do you think are the most important skills and qualities for success as a leader, regardless of gender?

To excel as a leader, it is important to possess not only conventional leadership skills like effective communication, decision-making, and problem-solving, but also to exhibit warmth, active listening, self-critique, self-esteem and integrity. Demonstrating warmth and empathy while sharing aspects of oneself creates a work environment where employees feel acknowledged and esteemed, leading to heightened motivation and engagement.

Engaging in active listening, understanding employees’ thoughts and opinions, and familiarizing myself with their needs fosters an atmosphere conducive to open and honest conversations, laying the foundation for effective collaboration. A leader’s self-awareness is a pivotal attribute, offering opportunities for continuous improvement and personal development. Reflecting on my actions and shortcomings enables me to learn from mistakes, contributing to my evolution as a more proficient leader.

Likewise, possessing strong self-esteem is indispensable for making challenging decisions and navigating setbacks. Believing in my abilities and values instills the confidence to make tough choices and inspires others to follow suit. Last but not least – kindness is key!

How do you think diversity plays a role in working with innovation?

I am confident that diversity plays a crucial role in innovation. By taking in different perspectives and experiences it contributes to generating new ideas and solving problems in new ways, ultimately increasing creativity. The need for a multitude of viewpoints allows for comprehensive analysis from different angles, thereby unveiling unique solutions and innovations that might remain undiscovered in a more homogeneous environment.

What methods or tools do you use to identify new opportunities and stand out as an attractive employer?

Regular attendance at events and conferences is a part of my commitment to continuous learning and idea generation. My emphasis is on fostering an inclusive and supportive environment where everyone feels welcome. I use various methods to identify and attract new talent. I am also attentive to our reputation, striving to be a positive ambassador for our company.

Listening attentively to the feedback from both current and former employees is crucial for refining our work practices and offerings. I am dedicated to making our company a thriving and collaborative space where everyone can grow together.

Can you share some successful collaborations or partnerships that have stimulated innovation within your organization?

I am passionate about collaboration. With numerous connections established with our key clients, I actively engage in collaboration with both longstanding colleagues and new acquaintances. These collaborations range from business-related tasks to mutual coaching opportunities. This principle has been a lifelong lesson for me, underscoring the importance of continuous self-promotion. Recognizing that every day is an opportunity for self-marketing. Meeting extraordinary individuals who are willing and capable of offering assistance becomes more likely when one handles their marketing effectively.

For me, the joy lies not only in receiving help but also in giving it. By sharing ideas, resources, and providing mutual support, we collectively experience growth and development. This philosophy highlights the significance of fostering a collaborative environment where individuals can thrive through shared knowledge and support.

Can you share some lessons or mistakes from your career that have shaped your leadership style?

Absolutely! Throughout my professional journey, I’ve gained invaluable insights from both triumphs and missteps, profoundly shaping my leadership philosophy. A most important lesson is the significance of embracing feedback and confronting failures without hesitation. Recognizing the importance of seeking guidance, when necessary, I’ve know how to learn from my mistakes, providing fertile ground for my continual growth and development as a leader. This realization has propelled me to proactively trust my instincts and grow myself confidence.

What advice for young women aspiring to build a career in the tech industry and reach leadership positions:

Believe in yourself: Have confidence in your abilities and don’t let doubt hold you back. You have the right to be where you are and aim for leadership positions if that’s your goal.

Dare to say “yes”; it’s known that women often strive to meet all the criteria in a job description while men apply even if they may lack a few, so apply for that job even if you lack “two” criteria!

Seek mentorship and support: Seek guidance from experienced women or men in the industry who can share their experiences and provide guidance and valuable advice.

Build your network: Networking is crucial for gaining insights, support, and opportunities. Participate in industry events, seminars, and networking groups to meet like-minded individuals and create valuable connections.

Be persistent and resilient: You shouldn’t have to have “a thick skin” but you will encounter obstacles and resistance along the way. So, be persistent, have patience, believe in yourself, and continue to fight for your goals.