Get inspired by our news series – Ladies at Ailleron – who are growing steadily and achieving many successess in the IT industry. We are glad to introduce you to Olga, who is also involved in several mentoring programs.
1 . Olga, you’ve been working at Ailleron for over 2 years as an International Sales Manager and are responsible for the CEE region (Central and Eastern European Countries group) and the Austrian market. What led you to choose this career path?
Before joining Ailleron, I was in charge of service and product development in a specific foreign region for over 8 years. I worked a lot with sales and was also responsible for meeting financial indicators. Therefore, joining Ailleron was a continuation of my professional path. I will say more; looking at my whole career, I was in various roles based on customer contact – service in the helpdesk, project manager, and person responsible for substantive input about the product in the sales process. However, to get a 360-degree view of customer service, I still lacked a sales role, so I was pleased to receive such an opportunity at Ailleron.
2. Did you know right away that this was precisely what you wanted to do?
I laugh that I’ve just reached the point where I can say that I’m working according to my learned profession because I graduated with a specialization in Foreign Trade from the International Relations Department at the Cracow University of Economics. I love working with clients. It allows me to constantly learn, grow, and meet new and interesting people. Before working at Ailleron, I took some psychological and Gallup tests. To my surprise, all the results mentioned sales, and my TOP 5 strengths by Gallup also fit the chosen direction. This has given me confidence that I am in the right place.
3. What challenges do you face in your daily tasks, especially considering the dizzying pace of technological changes?
The biggest challenge is establishing a quality relationship with potential clients in a new foreign market while being physically absent there. This takes time, sometimes luck, and the right balance of remote and face-to-face meetings.
The second challenge is to properly match client’s needs with your services because, for me, selling is, in other words, “helping.” You don’t always manage to hit a specific need at the right time – that’s the luck element. That’s why, at Ailleron, we always provide quality services, innovative technologies, and a modern and reliable approach to the customer and his needs. All this is extremely important from my perspective.
4. The IT industry is still a man’s world, I guess. How do you find yourself in it?
Yes, that’s right – IT is a more masculine world, although a lot has changed over the last 10-15 years, and these proportions are constantly changing. Various social initiatives are being created to make the IT world more open and welcoming to women. Remember that each of us has both “masculine” and “feminine” character traits regardless of gender. Finding my way in this world required me to use a lot of analytical thinking at work, communicate without unnecessary words in a few sentences only about what is most important, and be result-oriented. In all of this, it is also essential to keep the rest of your qualities and soft approach where it can bring a better result. Yes, sometimes I had to fight for myself and have faced stereotypes, but in my opinion, this is not related to what the IT world is like, but to the limitations of individuals. For the right balance, I realize this “feminine” part in various social initiatives related to femininity or soft skills, including women in IT or business mentoring.
5. I know you are interested in mentoring a lot. Can you share more about it?
Certainly, mentoring has been a significant aspect of my life for several years. I have participated in multiple mentorship programs as a mentee. During one of the programs, with the help of my mentor I confessed to myself that I want to develop in this area and finally become a professional mentor.
6. You have certificates proving your mentoring skills. What does mentoring mean to you, and how does it benefit you?
For me, mentoring is a valuable tool for personal and professional growth. It combines knowledge of so-called applied psychology, professional experience, and the need to build a relationship based on a common desire to develop. The Mentor-Mentee relationship is not just about the mentor giving and the mentee taking – it is a relationship that develops both parties. This is the beauty of the mentoring process. As humans, we often need another person to help us understand ourselves better, and mentoring naturally utilizes this aspect of our psyche. Every new training and mentoring experience inspires and motivates me to improve myself. Self-development is an existential value for me, so mentoring allows me to continually work on becoming a better version of myself.
7. You focus on women in your activities. What qualities allow you to be a good mentor for other women?
It’s very difficult to assess myself, and I probably won’t undertake this task. However, I believe that empathy, active listening, and focusing on others are essential traits for this position. Drawing from my personal experiences and practices, I aim to share helpful insights and provide answers to those seeking guidance.
8. What actions/initiatives/organizations are you involved in? Where can women looking for inspiration, support in development find it?
There are a lot of such organizations and initiatives; try to google them. 😉 Of course, everyone will see and pick up what is important to them for that particular moment. I don’t believe in coincidences; each has a specific purpose in our lives, teaching us something. But here are some organizations that are close to my heart: Vital Voice and their Global Mentoring Walk program, the Mentoring Program of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Network, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Foundation, Mentoring Program of the Foundation for Women Business Leaders, Dare IT, Women in Tech, Perspektywy.
9. These beautiful initiatives bring together many women with great knowledge and charisma. Through these activities, you can show that there is strength in each of us to realize our dreams and achieve professional success.
Yes, each of us has strengths and uniqueness. Adding to this work on ourselves and professional success, we have a simple way to realize our dreams. Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to do so for very different reasons: we don’t know what we dream about, because of our limiting beliefs, or lack of self-confidence. Meetings with a group of women who support, motivate, and inspire you, can help a lot to take the first steps toward making your dreams come true.
10. Do you have any favorite tools that you use in your work?
Difficult question. I have a lot of favorite tools, but none of them is universal for everyone. Each of them requires attention and work – only then it has a chance to give any value. However, recently I was positively surprised by a straightforward question, the answer to which is very thought-provoking. So, let me use it as part of the answer.
WHO BELIEVES IN YOU? – Have you responded? What do you feel? How many people did you manage to name? Who close to you was not there and why? Who made it to the list and why?
I believe having professional and life success is much easier when you have supportive people around you. If you need such people to motivate you to take action, you can find them in different associations, where you will build valuable relationships. It also can be a coach, mentor or colleague.
11. From your point of view, development of which skills is the most important in the IT industry?
It’s impossible to say clearly what skills are essential for the whole industry. Certainly, technical skills, analytical thinking and organizational skills are important. But I’ll try to answer this question differently by pointing out what skills are important for any industry to succeed. In my opinion, it is good communication inside and outside the organization, openness, and the ability to quickly adapt and adjust to changes at the level of the whole organization.
12. Where do you look for inspiration or practical know-how for yourself? What are your ways to grow?
Everywhere! This is already a certain way of thinking. 😊 Of course, it’s all sorts of books, inspiring people and observing those people, hundreds of trainings in the broad field of personal development and practical psychology, mentoring processes and programs, participation in webinars, conferences, and sometimes videos and advice from different people. The most important thing for me is listening to myself and choosing what resonates with me and is consistent with my values. Additionally, I never take everything, only what I can and want to incorporate into my life.
13. Does Ailleron allow you to unleash your #WomanPower? How can you grow here?
Ailleron is an outstanding organization that supports its employees in their development and creates opportunities. It’s impossible to answer in one sentence – the company’s culture; the management team and board’s approach; the benefits available to employees; and the great work of the People Department, allowing us to expand our horizons. As for me, I appreciate the opportunity to participate twice in Power Up Camp as a speaker and in Summit Women in Tech. Moreover, I have had support and interest from colleagues in my passion for mentoring. This article is proof of that. 😊
14. What are three pieces of advice you would give to women who want to enter the IT industry but sometimes feel unsure?
Believe in yourself and your dream despite everything! That’s the first thing. Also, answer this question: “Who believes in you?” and find additional support if needed! And finally – perhaps find someone already working in IT and ask them for support.
Olga, thank you for your practical and motivating advice on how to follow your dreams and find your way in the IT world. You inspire your colleagues at Aileron and the many women for whom you are a mentor. We wish you continued success and growth in your chosen path.