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Interview with Female Leaders: Insights on Women and Female Leadership in IT

3 Parkside female leaders sitting on a couch and talking about their experiences
Although IT has been a male-dominated industry for a long time, the number of female tech leaders is slowly increasing. We sat down with three of our female leaders — Nina (Head of HR), Larissa (Head of Quality Assurance) and Lisa (Engineering Team Lead) — to discuss their experiences in the IT sector. They also shared some of the challenges they have faced, the ups and downs of their daily work, their role models, ways to constantly grow and improve, what they find most rewarding about their positions, and their advice to young women starting their careers in IT.
Q1: As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, what challenges are you facing and how do you overcome them?

Nina: As a female leader at Parkside, I have never experienced discrimination or felt “unheard” by my male colleagues. I never felt the need to prove myself because of my gender. Knowing my abilities and being confident in them probably helped me feel respected right off the bat.

Lisa: For me, the biggest challenge was to overcome the stereotypes that exist in the industry and to have my ideas and opinions heard in a male-dominated team or meeting. But I have learned to focus on my own abilities and let my work speak for itself. I also make sure to acknowledge and give credit to other team members’ contributions, so that they feel valued and respected, which is then also reflected in their relationship with me as their team lead.

Q2: Can you describe a typical day in your role, and what are some of the ups and downs you experience?

Nina: As the Head of HR, my day usually involves a lot of communication with my team, colleagues, our CEO & partners. Besides guiding the HR team, I am also responsible for supporting the growth of new sites, setting up and continuously improving processes, introducing new work models, and a lot of other things. One of the best things about my job is seeing my colleagues feeling good, satisfied and talking highly about our company. What can be overwhelming and exhausting is this constant need to always be available and having answers to all questions — sometimes even at more locations at once. But with a lot of discipline, planning, delegating and communicating I manage to keep everything on track.

Larissa: As the Head of QA, my day involves a lot of juggling between client meetings, coordinating my team, and supervising the whole process and department. One of the ups is seeing the progress that my team makes in delivering high-quality work to our clients. It’s rewarding to know that we are making a difference in their business success. On the downside, there are times when unexpected issues arise that can cause delays and frustration for both the team and the clients. It’s important to stay calm and positive during these times and work together to find solutions.

Photo of 3 Parkside developers working on frontend development projects, page header

Lisa: My day also involves a lot of meetings, problem-solving and decision-making. I work with my team to ensure that projects are on track, and I help to remove any roadblocks that might be hindering progress. One of the ups of my job is the satisfaction of seeing my team succeed and deliver high-quality digital products. The downside can be the long hours and the pressure to deliver quality work on time, but it’s also an opportunity for us to learn and grow together.

Q3: In the context of working at Parkside Interactive, what do you find to be the best or most rewarding aspect of your position?

Nina: Being able to create a positive work environment where my colleagues feel valued, supported, and encouraged to grow is one of the most rewarding aspects in my role. What I really appreciate is the freedom in my role and also being able to help shape the future of the company in strategic matters.

Larissa: What I find most rewarding about my position at Parkside is the freedom I have in my work. I enjoy working with talented individuals from different backgrounds and cultures and also appreciate the support and trust I receive from my colleagues and superiors. It allows me to take ownership of my work and contribute to the success of the company.

Lisa: One of the best things about my position is the opportunity to work with such a talented and diverse group of individuals. I am constantly amazed by the innovative solutions we are able to create together. Additionally, I appreciate the level of trust and autonomy I am given to lead my team and make decisions that impact the success of our projects. It is also rewarding to see the impact of our work on our clients’ businesses and to know that we are contributing to their growth and success.

Q4: Who are your role models, and how have they influenced your leadership style? How do you continue to grow and improve in your role?

Lisa: My role models are leaders who embody empathy, integrity, and excellence, regardless of industry. To continue growing and improving in my role, I prioritize continuous learning through various means. In addition, I actively seek feedback from team members, colleagues, and superiors, as it allows me to identify areas for improvement. I believe that adaptability, open-mindedness, and commitment to learning are essential to succeed in IT. These qualities enable me to lead my team effectively.

Q5: What advice would you give to young women starting their careers in IT?

Nina: My advice to young women starting their careers in the IT sector is: Don’t question yourself. Do the job as if it were a matter of course. Because that’s exactly what it is. And if you feel like you’re not being respected, you might be in the wrong environment. Respect is a basic requirement, not something you have to earn.

Larissa: Be persistent, stay focused on your goals, and never give up. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, or seek guidance from colleagues and mentors. Be always open to learning new skills and technologies, and take advantage of opportunities for training and professional development.

Lisa: My advice is to believe in yourself and your abilities. It can be intimidating to be a minority in a male-dominated field, but don’t let that hold you back. Find a supportive network of colleagues and mentors who can help guide you and provide feedback. And don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas – diversity of thought is critical for innovation and progress. Finally, remember that success is not just about climbing the corporate ladder – find a career path that aligns with your passions and values, and don’t be afraid to pivot if necessary.

Thank you ladies for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this topic. Although women have been discriminated against too often, regardless of the environment they work in, we’re happy to see that all 3 of our female leaders have not had any negative experiences in this male-dominated IT industry so far. This, of course, largely depends on where and with whom you work. Since culture plays a very important role at Parkside, we always make sure in the recruiting process that the people who are hired and work here also share similar world views & values, and treat each other with respect – according to our mottos “be nice”, “with a smile” & “better together.