The Tech Talent Week London “Advancing Women in Technology” event took place at the Stack Exchange on the 27th April 2016, and several women from MyDrive attended to partake in the latest discussions about diversity in the industry.

Keynote speaker Meri Williams of Technical People Management specialist ChromeRose, set the tone, followed by a panel discussion involving people from across the industry. Many issues were debated, from a statistical analysis of the prominence of men in senior technical roles, to the reasons for this and the possible solutions.

Photo of panel discussion: Anastasia Emmanuel (GM Europe at BORN), Rachel Evatt (Director of Business Strategy & Operations at Skyscanner), Jennifer Sivapalan (Senior Software Developer at The Guardian), Charlotte Federay (Programmes Manager at Code First: Girls), Sally Davey (Director of Product at TripAdvisor) and Isaac Rogan (Lead Developer at Founders and Coders)Left-Right: Anastasia Emmanuel (GM Europe at BORN), Rachel Evatt (Director of Business Strategy & Operations at Skyscanner), Jennifer Sivapalan (Senior Software Developer at The Guardian), Charlotte Federay (Programmes Manager at Code First: Girls), Sally Davey (Director of Product at TripAdvisor) and Isaac Rogan (Lead Developer at Founders and Coders)

One issue that was repeatedly mentioned was ‘authenticity’. That is, the ability to be your authentic self whilst being a woman in a male dominated field.

Meri Williams explains that there are several key factors a candidate will consider when looking for a job, and which a company should also consider when advertising a position:

  1. Am I expected here? (Do I fit the demographic of the company? Are company policies in place which are relevant to my life circumstances?)
  2. Am I respected here? (Is the company culture open-minded and accepting of me?)
  3. Can I be myself and be successful here? (Is there a role model in a senior position within the company who I can relate to? Will I be accepted into the team without censoring my personal life?)

“The best predictor of recruitment and retention is someone’s ability to agree with the following statement: ‘Someone like me can be successful here’” says Meri.

MyDrive has proudly evolved and expanded over the last 12 months. The company has grown from 13 employees, with only one woman, in June 2015 to an office of 36 people, of which 11 are women, today.  The diversity of nationality and gender in both technical and non-technical roles within the company creates an interesting and lively work environment where everyone can offer something different to the conversation.

Lyga Ivanovska, Solution Delivery Manager at MyDrive, says that although it can be challenging for women to work in a male-dominated environment, it is important for all employees to feel comfortable being themselves. “I believe that women should not lose their “authenticity” in order to blend in. We should embrace our qualities and not be afraid to be feminine. There is no right or wrong in being your best self,” says Lyga.

Her experience at MyDrive illustrates that open-mindedness and teamwork lead to positive professional relationships. “The working environment in MyDrive is friendly and collaborative, meaning it is relatively stress-free and easy for a woman to excel in her role,” says Lyga.

Mobile Software Engineer, Erida Dule, has experienced difficulties during her career, often being the only woman in her team. “I have had to deal with surprised faces when people hear my profession, male colleagues questioning my competence and many sexist jokes. It is also more difficult to build friendships when you are the only woman in a group of colleagues. When you don’t see many people like yourself around, it is easier to lose self-esteem,” says Erida.

MyDrive’s culture has offered a new professional experience to Erida. “I find MyDrive to have a very inclusive, diverse and enjoyable environment that is rare to encounter. As a developer and a woman, I feel comfortable and confident working at MyDrive,” she says.

MyDrive continues to expand its team with new talent. Available positions are advertised on our website, LinkedIn page, and Stack Overflow page.