We interviewed Veronika Grozdanovska, Chief Innovation Officer at Novotek AB on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.
There are many different parts in my CIO role, such as:
-Set direction and strategy to improve the market position of our products and solutions
-Implement clear objectives to grow brand awareness and to increase our overall profile
-Develop future market vision and “go to market” strategies
-Employer Branding to build a united corporate identity across all our countries
-Offer Thought leadership around chosen market themes eg Digital Transformation, Circular Economy, Sustainability etc
-Interface with our vendors to assure the development of innovative solutions
-Engage with different forums&organisations to grow our eco-system
-Interact with Universities and be part of Career days, mentorship programs etc
I have always been curious about “the power of information” and how information flows between peope. I was also very interested in the way how information can be presented in a good and bad way and this will then have a huge impact on the outcome & results. Even before we used computer systems in our daily life, we were surrounded by different interfaces which were more or less user-friendly. When I was supposed to apply for University approx. 35 years ago, computer science was the only program I found that would cover these topics so I made the choice to apply even if we at that time didn’t have PC’s at home.
In Sweden we study 3 years high-school before University, so at high-school studied Natural Science degree and then I continued with Computer Science at University.
I have been working 30 years in the global corporate B2B Industrial IT-world with experience in Industrial Automation&Digitalization.
Coming from Sweden, lived in 4 other countries during 2004-2020 and always worked in international environment, I have been on meetings in many countries around the world and my conclusion is that there is for sure a lack of females in the tech sector. Recently I would say the IT-level is getting more diverse, but the industrial sector is still far behind.
I think we need to do a better job promoting what kind of roles you can have when you pursue a career in IT or tech. I have done several high-school presentations and also been mentor of young students, where I used to describe what type of roles you find in a factory that produces let’s say chocolate. You need marketing, sales, supply chain, quality, production, legal, finance, project leaders, programmers, operators etc. And in all these roles you do interact and touch IT and technology in one way or the other, so being a female in a factory is no different than being female in another working place.
More interaction with women who work with technology, career days & mentorship programs at schools much earlier, already early teenage period.
I don’t see any barriers at all. We have many women role models out there in the market, there are plenty of great possibilities to study tech and the amount of job opportunities have never been larger than now. So, I would say there has never been better timing than now to start a career in tech.
One thing that I would mention though is that people who are putting together the job descriptions need to get more educated HOW to write to attract females.
There are many studies showing that females&males are putting different meaning and value behind the words in a job description and during the conversation in an interview, so moving away from standard templates and put an effort in the specification&requirements is important to get female applicants.
My answer on Q 6&7 is covering part of this topic.
In summary I would conclude:
-It’s up to us/women who already have a career in tech to be more visible
-it’s up to High-schools&Universities to initiate mentorship programs & career days
-it’s up to recruiters to find right ways to attract female applicants
Be brave and believe in yourself from day one … everybody around you has been a beginner once … I have seen sooo many impressive ladies giving up too easy&too quick.
Stay curious and open-minded to learn new things.
Surround yourself with people who are positive&energetic, stay away from “complainers”.
Get a mentor as early as possible.