Novotek AB – Veronika Grozdanovska, Chief Innovation Officer

We interviewed Veronika Grozdanovska, Chief Innovation Officer at Novotek AB on her experience and thoughts on women in tech.

1. What does your job role involve?

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


2. What made you choose a career in technology?

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.


3. Did you study an IT or technology related subject at GCSE, A-Level or University?

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.


4. Did you get any work experience in IT or technology before this role?

I have been working 30 years in the global corporate B2B Industrial IT-world with experience in Industrial Automation&Digitalization.


5. Do you think there is a lack of females in the IT and tech sector?

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.


6. Do you find there is a stereotype that a career in IT or technology is just for men?

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.


7. What would entice women to study technology related courses?

More interaction with women who work with technology, career days & mentorship programs at schools much earlier, already early teenage period.


8. Are there barriers when it comes to women getting into tech?

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.


9. How could we encourage more women to start a career in tech?

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


10. What advice would you give to young women at the start of their career?

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.