Campus X’s coworking community consists of 50+ carefully selected companies (tech and beyond), which innovate in various areas – from tech education to health tech, professional services, and more. They are led by fellow innovators who support each other on the way to success.
Today we feature four female tech leaders and Campus X members who make a real difference with their work. We asked them what’re the biggest lessons they’ve learned throughout their careers and how they managed to build confidence as female leaders in tech.
Let’s get started.
Meet the Campus X coworking community: female leaders in tech
We speak with four inspiring women in leadership roles at Campus X member companies:
Alexandra Mechkova - CEO, Telerik Academy (programming and digital training organization)
Gergana Krusteva - Co-Founder and CEO, La Koketa (a digital wardrobe and a personal style advisor app)
Maya Zlatanova - Co-Founder and CEO, FindMeCure (online platform, which brings clinical trials closer to patients)
Miryana Markova - VP Professional Services at AIOPSGROUP (a multidisciplinary digital company at the intersection of eCommerce, Data and Technology)
Lessons learned as female leaders in tech
Alexandra, Telerik Academy:
To be authentic to who you are and with the people you work with.
I’ve seen many times how with growth many leaders lose that, intentionally or not. Personally, I think it’s oftentimes a way to hide insecurities at the beginning, which is okay. What I take an issue with is artificially creating the image of the almighty leader, who can do no wrong and knows everything. I think it does an incredible disservice especially to aspiring and young leaders that they need to be that person – that person doesn’t exist and has never existed.
Gergana, La Koketa:
My most important lesson from being a CEO at a large organization is that achieving a company’s goals is all about communication, persuasion, and leveraging among diverse stakeholders’ interests to eventually reach an agreement and start execution. Now all these challenges are gone, and I feel more like a team player than a leader when it comes to taking important decisions and steering the company to the next level. I heavily rely on the exchange of ideas to reach the right course of action and the “we” is bigger than the “I”.
Here, my start-up lesson on leadership would be to listen, learn and grow together as a team.
The greatest asset of a leader is empathy. If you care about people in general, you will be able to take care of your team, your customers, partners, and build a successful company. No business is built without the help of smart people, united by a common goal.
This reminds me of another lesson I’ve learned throughout the years: surround yourself with smart people you can learn from (and allow them to be smart and get smarter)!
I think it would be "walk the talk."
Be honest, be consistent, do not commit unless you can deliver, and always do what you say.
This is not an easy thing to do, we have lost projects that we did not want to commit to because we knew that the timeline was unrealistic. However, the rewards are long-lasting relationships and credibility in the industry.
Building confidence as a female leader in a tech company
Alexandra, Telerik Academy:
For me, everything in life has been merit-based and I strongly associate hard work and achievement with building confidence. It may have to do with how I was brought up, so I don’t pretend that is universal.
Once you become a leader, achieving results is only part of the story, the other part has to do with helping others grow and thrive, and the more you invest in this, the more successful you will be as a leader.
Gergana, La Koketa:
Early in my career, I never suffered from gender bias and somehow this concept was alien to me, maybe largely due to the fact that I happened to be in an industry dominated by female leaders.
However, with the change of verticals and the gain of professional experience, strangely enough, the doubt in your executive acumen somehow creeps in despite your accomplishments. Over time, I’ve learned to believe in my judgment and acknowledge my personal and organizational assets.
So, my piece of advice would be: trust your instincts and believe in your inner voice! Female leaders are very intuitive and their superpower is called emotional intelligence.
When it comes to confidence, the biggest challenge we have as women is that we sweat the small things and focus on disadvantages and not how great we are doing and how hard we try.
One thing that my partner in business and in life taught me is that: “it is not important what you have or can do today, but what you are doing to have more and know more tomorrow."
Have a “can do” attitude no matter what comes your way.
Never back out of a challenge, stand by your team and support it, embrace the failure as part of the path and celebrate every achievement.
Leadership is a lifelong journey
Hope the lessons shared above inspired you to keep moving forward. Because leadership is a lifelong learning process – in the tech world and beyond.
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