Women-in-tech: building and growing tech products, together

Women-in-tech: building and growing tech products, together

3 MIN READ, JULY 19, 2021
3 MIN READ, JULY 19, 2021
EMERGE has a wonderful tradition to host each year a session tailor-made for women-in-tech (but not only), who could share their professional and personal stories, inspire and give guidance for the ladies who just stepped into the tech path. This year hasn’t become an exception. Women-in-tech session has been dedicated to 2 important topics in tech - building and growing tech products. But, wait, both of these terms wouldn’t mean a thing without those who work their asses on them. Especially women who still have to prove their ambitions in the tech industry. And EMERGE knows it well, as our team consists of mostly young women.

For this session, we welcomed 5 inspiring experts and wonderful women-in-tech to share their insights on the current trends in developing smart services as well as their stories of paving their ways into tech.
Katya Skorobogatova, Yulia Smotrova and Priyanka Banerjee at WIT session
Katya Skorobogatova, Operating Partner at TheVentureCity, has more than 20 years of tech experience. In 2010, she joined Facebook as a growth manager for the CIS countries. The job was super exciting as, at that time, Facebook was a kind of young, pre IPO company, and there were many things that it was coming up with. Besides growth opportunities, some minor technical details like localization challenged the team. Moreover, there was one strong competitor on the market that meant the focus was to get the market share, show the value for people and adjust itself for the specifics of the mindset. Katya also worked on different projects like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. After that time, she moved to Silicon Valley.

Katya has been working at an early-stage venture fund and accelerator these days, where they’re investing in early-stage companies. She believes now, when the marketplace is changing every day, the startups need to be tagged out to some existing trends on the market. For example, it’s an excellent time for all communication projects to connect and grow when many people work from home. It’s one of the more exciting trends because people want to collaborate more easily. The advice she gives on growing the business is to talk to the customer as much as possible to build connections via video calls and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Yulia Smotrova, Account Manager Startups at Amazon Web Services, has 14 years of experience working in the tech industry as a support desk specialist and after IT consultant in New York. After some years, she moved back to Russia and became an innovation program manager at Philip Morris International. Nowadays, she is helping German startups grow by leveraging cloud computing technology. She used to be integrated into the startup ecosystem as a mentor, coach, and consultant. From her point of view, the early stage is the best time as you need to run, test, and learn so fast.

Moreover, Yulia is a Lean Startup Ambassador and runs a Lean Startup community. Lean methodology is a kind of science into the art of innovation. It helps startups test their business models cheaply to kill the ugly ideas that will not work and move forward in the way you do it. You build the product - the minimum valuable product and give it to the customer to test and learn from the feedback. The three things we can know from such methodology are prioritizing - to calculate and find risk assumptions in the growth strategy, experimenting with ideas - to prevent or change your idea initially, and data insights - to keep on measuring from the very beginning.

Elena Polubochko, Laura Manescu and Priyanka Banerjee at WIT session
Elena Polubochko, CTO at Godel Technologies, joined the company 15 years ago when there were only 20 people. Now the company has grown to 1400 people, which has been a journey. Elene has a technical background; that’s why she started her career as an engineer and then moved to project management. She shared that she had always had a passion for getting stuff done, resolving client needs, and connecting developers and teams to achieve the best results possible. Becoming CTO happened because she enjoyed making sense of things and bringing them into the system.

Sometimes we may hear that it’s tough to build a career for women, but Elena didn’t have such issues. She believes that it’s the professionalism and passion that shape the journey matters rather than anything else. The atmosphere itself of recognizing the strengths and the weaknesses of the individuals despite the gender shapes the culture and environment in the company. Moreover, diversity is a great asset because it helps to tackle problems and create great experiences for everyone. It unlocks people’s potential. It’s also important to remember that we are women; the difference isn’t bad. Having a high degree of empathy is a strength, and home routine stuff is a weakness that we can battle.

Laura Manescu, Chief Development Officer at Modex, has over 15 years of experience in creating and producing software for various industries. Now she is working on blockchain technology. Laura found herself in technology by case - she was looking for a new challenge to reach the next level of knowledge in software. At that time, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology were buzzwords from all the events. So, she asked for a challenge - she received one and started to work with the technology that reshapes the world.

Laura shared that she never felt discriminated against during education or in the working environment. It all depends on the company you're in, as it's the company that inspires you and empowers you to go further despite anything. A gender-inclusive environment brings diversity in decisions and balance. Laura's recipe was a success is just hard work.

Priyanka Banerjee, CEO & Co-founder at Businesswizz and moderator of the session, believes it's attractive to bring diversity. It makes people feel comfortable when exchanging ideas. Moreover, it signals to investors that the company has competent management and a recipe for success.

We hope you found some inspiration for your future development reading this article. More blog posts are coming soon. Stay tuned!