For Amber’s new Women In Tech interview series, we speak with female thought leaders from around the world to hear their experience growing a career in tech and to get their advice on overcoming challenges and adversity during their career.
For this week’s interview, we caught up with Emma Poposka, co-founder and CEO at bron.tech, to talk diversity and advice on how to build a career in tech.
Can you tell us a little about what you do and what a typical day looks like for you?
I am the co-founder and managing director at bron.tech, a company that is building data and identity products (bronID) for compliance with the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations around the world.
My typical day starts with the night before. I usually prepare a task list for the day to come or the week ahead of me. I like writing the tasks in my notebook, and I don’t really use any productivity software like Evernote for tasks as nothing gives me more pleasure than crossing off a task when I am done with it.
My mornings are usually reserved for walking, yoga or tennis, and then I start working at 9:30am to around 7-8pm. We have a small team in Sydney, so I spend most of my days in the CBD office working with the team and taking meetings.
As a co-founder, I have to be a generalist, and I usually do a little bit of everything, but mainly I am focused on product management and sales. The days of writing code are long gone for me, and at the moment I am primarily in a management role.
I loved math since I was a kid. So, then I chose a high school where I can do a lot of it. Incidentally, that was the place where I was introduced to a programming language – Pascal, and I absolutely loved it. I started going to software development competitions and got really interested in the whole idea that just with my computer I can build something that people will use. I went to study computer engineering in uni, and the rest is history. I started my career in tech, and I can’t be more excited about where it has taken me.
Many women in the tech industry have felt their gender has affected the way they are treated in the workplace and industry. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How did you handle it?
Honestly, I don’t have any traumatic experiences or something that had happened that was extreme. However, the reality is that as a women in tech I always have to put 3 times more effort, to prove that I have the knowledge and that I am equally qualified as my male peers. It’s just because we didn’t grow up seeing too many women in these roles and we’ve built these stereotypes of what a tech person should look like. After more than 10 years in tech, still, there are days when I feel like an outcast. Luckily, all that is changing. I see more and more women every day challenging the preconceptions. The way to handle the situation is just to focus on doing great work and delivering results. The deeds always speak for themselves and inspire others.
Working in the tech industry is maybe one of the most fulfilling careers that one can have. I love being at the forefront of significant changes in the world and being able to create products that one day may put a small dent in the universe. Technologists are optimists, we all hope that what we do is making the world a better place. In particular, being a woman is especially empowering. I like to believe that our generation of female leaders has the duty to break the firmly established stereotypes and call for a level playing field for the generations of women to come.
What advice would you give to a woman starting her career in the tech industry? Is there any advice you wish you had known at the start of your career?
Don’t try to fit in, be unique and leave your mark in the industry.