Women at Leadzai: find out what it's like to work in Tech today

Rita Pereira
October 18, 2023
 min read

Statistics don’t lie: women only count for 25% of the tech industry workforce, decreasing to less than half (11%) if we talk about executive roles.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’ve given six female team members voice to shed light on this issue. How did they start working in this field? Who were the mentors that inspired their careers? What skills do they believe are essential to developing? Get ready to be inspired!

Tell us about your journey in tech companies. How did you become interested in tech, and what do you enjoy most about working in this field?

Claudia Strauss, VP of Partnerships

My entrance door to the world of technology was one of pure luck. An acquaintance had recommended I apply for sales jobs in tech, which I immediately rejected, given I had never worked in sales before. However, his suggestion made an impression on me, and the next day I applied for a job I saw on a job board for a “Language tester — LATAM Spanish”. I was puzzled, in need of a job and applied immediately. Little did I know that job was the doorway to a position managing a Partner Ecosystem in LATAM for a publicly traded company in the United States.

What I enjoy most about this industry is the variety, the people you come into contact with, and the opportunities to leave a mark. I believe it’s a field where many things are possible. Curiosity is the most important trait, and the sky’s the limit.

Which are the three crucial skills anyone needs to perform their job role in the Tech field? Why did you choose these?

Rita Amaral, Sprint Manager

I would recommend three very human skills: being curious, being open to change and having the ability to learn. Be curious about new roles, people, tools, and products in your industry. This will also broaden your skill set and help you grow professionally. Being comfortable with change will help to navigate the changes in the industry. There are always new players, products, and technology coming. Most companies fail because they don’t adapt, so you will need to adapt to new processes and different teams during your career.

Be open to learning new skills and stepping out of your comfort zone. In the tech industry, a developer doesn’t do code only; she needs to understand the business side and how to work with the Product Team, the Sales Team, the Marketing Team, etc. Learning to work with others is a major plus. In summary, be curious, resilient and coachable.

What personality traits and skills do you value the most about your work colleagues?

Eduarda Larangeira, Head of Customer Success

I love working with people. I believe that the best part of working for a company is working with different kinds of people. We are all different and come from other countries, so I believe the first trait I would consider is respecting differences, especially cultural differences. I believe that supporting people in their job is an excellent trait. We are all humans and make mistakes sometimes, so be patient with people and teach them how to execute procedures. Let people know that they are doing a great job. It’s motivating to know that your hard work has been noticed. Co-workers who are ready to help no matter what — I would also consider a good trait. Ultimately, we are a team if we can help — why not? In sum, I would say that I value qualities and skills such as being a team player, kindness, respect, proactiveness, support, and of course, not forgetting the most important of all: being human 🙂

How do you see organisations’ role in fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in tech?

Daisy Sherwood-King, Product Manager

I am so passionate about this topic! I wholeheartedly believe that organisations play a crucial role in fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in any workplace.

It starts with cultivating a welcoming and diverse culture. That can range from hiring women from different backgrounds and ensuring they are supported in their roles to having a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination.

Companies could also offer their female employees ample training opportunities and set up mentorship programs whilst putting them in positions where they’re involved in decision-making. This is the perfect combination for supporting women to succeed in their Tech careers!

Another way organisations can help is by providing flexible working arrangements. Unexpected disruptions happen to everyone, but often women are primary caregivers, and without a supportive workplace, it’s easy to see why some feel like they’re falling behind. Working for a company that recognises this and provides flexible working arrangements for all employees helps create an inclusive environment where everyone is trusted to deliver their work in a way that fits their personal life.

Ultimately, the most important way a company can help is by committing to listening to their female employees and working towards change. Lots of great stuff has been done, but there’s still more to do!

Have you had any mentors or inspiring leaders who have significantly impacted your career? If so, how did they support you?

Mariana Machado, Chief of Staff

Absolutely. I come from a family with many strong women, so they have been my main inspiration. Both my grandmothers had to be family leaders due to different circumstances and showed me what being strong looks like. My mother taught me to be more confident, and my sister showed me when to compromise.

My close friends are also a big inspiration for how I handle my career. For example, one of my best friends, Filipa — with whom I worked before joining Leadzai — showed me that it’s ok to set boundaries and say no when needed. She’s funny and kind while being direct and determined at the same time, which is a balance I’ve struggled with in the past.

I can also mention personalities such as Jacinta Ardern, who has shown the world how to lead a country with sympathy and composure, or Sally Rooney, who at my age has already written three best-selling books where she depicts vulnerability as a strength. Finally, I was lucky to have amazing colleagues who helped me grow with them, showed me different perspectives, and stood by my side when I made mistakes.

What advice would you give someone seeking to enter your job role in this industry?

Catarina Fernandes, Marketing Manager

My first advice to those seeking to become marketing managers in tech is never to stop learning and developing technical skills. In Marketing, creativity is not enough. It is crucial to easily manoeuvre between many different tools and platforms to put your ideas into practice and measure results. Technical know-how also helps you communicate your needs with IT teams (who will save you many times!), so why not learn a bit of coding, design, or other skills that make you more agile? Most importantly: become best friends with Google, and you will always find ways to know what you need to reach your goals.

Last but not least (and this one is mainly for women): don’t be too humble, trust yourself and don’t be afraid to step up. If you develop a solution-oriented mindset, you have what it takes, so believe in your strengths and never settle for less than you deserve.

Mariana, Rita, Diana, Eduarda & Catarina on a lunch break, in Lisbon.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights, girls!

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