This blog is the third in a series about leadership, gender gap, diversity and work-life balance in the tech world.

An interview with Nadja Bayraktar

I started my career in a media company that was solely dealing with software development issues. I was pretty much pushed into the cold water because I never really had the intention to deal with people, mainly men, who are better in speaking languages like Java or php than expressing anything else. I just wanted to stay a bit because it seemed weird in the beginning and then move on. However, it was the passion I found in the tech industry and that people are really on fire when they talk about their technological achievements that made me stay. Everyone around me had visions, was dedicating lots of lifetime to become part of something bigger and then there was this energy around that I had never seen before. When I got poached it was just a next logical step for me being closer on the strategic side of technological developments as well as what the future might bring.

Q: Have you ever felt your gender has affected the way that you have been perceived or treated. How did you handle it?

Tech-related companies are still dominated by men, so you tap into situations where you must have very large shoulders and really know your stuff. I always had the feeling that my contributions have put me in a situation of equality towards my male surrounding. I think people are still biased when it comes to woman in tech, even women themselves. However I think it’s on the women to prove that there is no grounds for it.

Q: What do you think can be done to encourage more women to join and take leadership roles in the tech industry?

Well, I think it’s not so much about external factors, the opportunities are all out there and technology is everywhere. I think it’s mainly about what women do about it. Women must primarily start working on their self-esteem. I still hear a lot of women around me saying that they are worried not meeting anyone’s expectations or if they could handle it at all. Well, if you don’t give it a try, you will never know. I think everything is manageable if you don’t hesitate to communicate open, are not worried about making a mistake and stop trying to be perfect. I hear a lot more women talking about the things they are not doing well rather than the things where they did an amazing job. If you listen carefully how successful men communicate, you will notice that this is primarily the other way around. 😊

Q: If you had to “do it all again” knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t listen to my teachers 😊 When in high school I have been very good in language classes but less good in math and the other science classed even though I was interested. The teachers always told my Mom that this is related with being a girl and there is a tendency for girls being less good in science classes and she shouldn’t worry too much about it. So, there was my explanation. My brain was just not developed to be good in math, so I took this as a biological explanation and kept focusing on the things my female brain was developed for. I kept on thinking that certain brain parts are differently developed at men and women until I met my mentor at university. She was not only an amazing professor in political science but also had a doctoral degree in math and philosphy. She taught me to embrace challenges and that women always must be a bit better than men to be recognized. Being a Mom of a girl now, I want to make sure that she will also embrace challenges and thrive on the things that are of interest to her.

Q: Who is the most influential woman you know? How does she inspire you?

There are so many women out there that inspire me in different ways. Verena Pausder for founding a company in Germany that has the goal to develop technical skills at a very young age, Sherryl Sandberg for being a single-mom and running a very powerful company at the same time or Michelle Obama who is using her fame in a purposeful way. And then we have many kick-ass ladies at IDC who are very smart and inspiring. I admire all the women out there who take their chances.

Want to learn more about how to Empower Women in Tech? Follow and join the conversation on social media – #IDCIWD19 and share your thoughts about this topic.


Series of posts:

Embracing Change as a Technology Marketeer… I Love Being a Woman in Tech!

Innovate, Educate and Build the Next Generation of Women in Tech

Personal Rules are Essential for Your Work-Life Balance

How Can the Tech Industry Provide You with an Exciting Career?

Diversity, Inlcusion and Red Hat’s Open Culture