Happy International Women’s Day! This is part 2 of the conversation some of the women of AVAST had together this week. We talked about women in technology, careers, daily challenges, and who inspires us.
DEBORAH We’ve been talking about the challenges of working in the male-dominated tech industry (see part 1). Do you have any role models in tech?
ANNA Oh, yes. Marissa Mayer. It is cliché, but she is simply awesome! I like her time management skills: She leads Yahoo!, has photo shoots at Vogue, and changes clothes in the car between meetings.
JULIA If I had to name some, it would be an unusual mixture of politicians, successful businessmen and creatives. All of them however had one thing in common: Thinking out-of-the-box. Audrey Hepburn, Angela Ahrendts, Coco Chanel, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs, Woody Allen, Rembrandt, Albert Einstein, or Martin Luther King.
CAROLINE I admire people who give back. Bill Gates took a while to do it, but he is now and with a vengeance through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I think tech masters like Bill can set a good precedent for contemporaries today. I’ve read Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and his wife are generous benefactors to various causes and charities.
DEBORAH Besides these role models, what or who inspires you on a daily basis?
MAGDA People who were able to make a living from their hobby. I really admire people who are passionate and determined. It’s fantastic for example to become popular blogger and describe the world around you and inspire others to follow their dreams.
ANNA Young entrepreneurs, talented and creative people. The way their brains work and ideas they bring to life just simply amaze me.
STEFANIE My mom inspires me, she is my hero. She is strong, hardworking, loving, and has always taught me to do my best, respect others and to have fun. She has always and continues to support and encourage me to chase my dreams.
JULIA People give me new inspiration! Social media are perfect tools to connect with people and get inspired. Within minutes I can learn, connect, discover new things - breaking cultural, geographical and time zone border - people in real life and on social media share things that influence and inspire me greatly.
PAVLA It would be probably a long list. It starts with my family and continues with my schoolmates and friends. As I can see what their successes are, it inspires me to reach my own goals and work even harder.
PETRA I really like book The Four Agreements (A Toltec Wisdom Book) written by Miguel Ángel Ruiz. Any time I feel unsatisfied with myself in personal or professional life, I try to perceive in my mind all these four rules:
- Be Impeccable With Your Word.
- Don't Take Anything Personally.
- Don't Make Assumptions.
- Always Do Your Best.
DEBORAH What project or initiatives are you most excited about in 2014?
JULIA We have initiated a huge project with Fnatic. eSports and professional video gaming is an exciting new field.
CAROLINE We have the spotlight on the U.S at AVAST and it’s exciting to be able to champion our offering in a marketplace where many people still don’t know about us. There are boundless opportunities to explore to help them discover AVAST and why they should use us.
JULIA Also, our success on the Social Media (4 million fans / followers of avast! on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels) brought us several opportunities to share our experience and knowledge at various of conferences and Universities. My partner, Deborah Salmi ,and I are very proud of it and pleased to share our knowledge with students and other professionals. [High fives]
DOMINIKA I am excited about organizing press conferences for new releases of AVAST solutions, and also about communicating all news we are going to introduce to the public. Our Social Media Team is constantly coming up with fun contests and other activities, and I am very happy I can communicate it “to the world,” especially to the Czech fans!
DEBORAH Many women believe they can “have it all,” but it’s hard to achieve work-life-balance in real life. Is there anything that wakes you up at night?
PAVLA Sometimes dreams about approving applications and sending licenses. I wouldn’t say nightmares, but if we are launching some part of project or some contest, I have my head full of thoughts about work.
ANNA Twitter and email notification. Seriously, I’m online and reachable almost 24 hours per day if there is internet connection or WiFi.
MAGDA Most of the time my cat when he decides to jump on me or bite my toe!
ANTJE My cat has stolen my blanket and it gets quite cold. He’s a bit like the cartoon on YouTube, Simon’s cat.
MAGDA Besides my cat, I sometimes have great ideas for work or for my private life. However, most of the time I just forget it in the morning. I keep promising myself that I will put pen and paper next to my bed, maybe I really should do it…
DEBORAH What is your advice for women who want to get into the tech space?
MARINA Never be intimidated by the fact that technology is a field that is so far still ruled by men. MAGDA The truth is that it is not very easy to work in environment dominated by men and you need to be ready to prove that you are good, and that a woman’s work can be fantastic, if not better, than men’s.
DOMINIKA I think it really doesn´t matter if you are a woman or a man – both genders can be good in the tech space. As the world develops, differences between men and women vanish. What’s important is to be enthusiastic about your expertise and just follow your dream.
JULIA Be confident, be yourself and don’t try to be a man. Our asset is our feminine character. Woman have intuition, empathy and social intelligence, all the soft skills that some men lack. Those in combination with knowledge, education, and self-esteem can be powerful career tools.
JANA Keep in a touch with the tech community, and read articles and blogs about technologies and information security.
MARINA If you're passionate about technology you will be able to achieve outstanding results in your job - this is the same in technology as anywhere else.
STEFANIE Follow your dream, don’t let anyone else get in your way, you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind and heart into it.
DEBORAH Thanks for having this conversation to celebrate International Women’s Day. Now, one last question before we get back to work - What’s your superpower?
DOMINIKA Positive Mood-setting
WHO ARE WE? Our group is international – Czech, Polish, German, Australian, American, and Turkish. Deborah Salmi, U.S. Marketing and Social Media manager leads the conversation. My colleagues are Anna Shirakova our Russian Social MEdia Community Manager; Jana Medkova, who started as a junior malware analyst and is now working on a new project in the R&D department as a data analyst; Marcela Římalová, AVAST’s first recruiter responsible for matching the right job with the right employee; Pavla Kholová who works for the Free for Education project which provides free business-grade antivirus for educational institutions in the U.S.; Petra Němečková, a Marketing Project Manager who recently prepared for AVAST’s participation at Mobile World Congress; Magdalena Kuberacka, originally from Poland now responsible for channel partners communication, training and certification process; Julia Szymanska, also from Poland working as the European Social Media community manager; Dominika Kalašová, Public Relations specialist and Czech Social Media community manager; and Selma McArtain who works as Sales and Support Specialist for both Turkish and English language customers. Talking to us long-distance from Munich, Germany is Antje Wolf, assistant to the management of AVAST Software Deutschland; and members of the Communications team, Marina Ziegler, Sr. Global Communications manager, along with her colleagues Stefanie Smith, an American living in Munich specializing in public relations; and from the west coast of the United States, Caroline James, an Australian living her dream in Redwood City, CA as the U.S. PR manager.
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