herCAREER: Why is it important to include more women in the tech industry?
Vedrana Miholić: I was fortunate to have worked in environments throughout my career where the representation of women in technology was sometimes close to half, especially for the first few years when I worked as an analyst and project manager in a financial organization with a significant number of exceptional female experts. When I later compared this to some other environments and geographies where far fewer women choose careers in technology, I noticed a lot of differences. I believe that diversity, both in terms of gender, as well as in thinking, years of experience, or nationality, brings many obvious benefits, such as creativity and innovation, but perhaps also less obvious ones, like resilience. I think diverse teams can look at every problem from multiple perspectives and attempt to solve it in different ways, thereby significantly increasing the capacity of the team and organization to tackle challenges.
In the last 3 to 4 years, we have all become aware of the level of uncertainty in the world as well as in the labor market, and it’s precisely the diverse teams that have better addressed all these crises. Some of my colleagues jokingly said that women in the company adapted more quickly to the pandemic, while men brought calm and stability in response to the threat of war. This may be a simplified and caricatured way to explain why this balance is crucial for an organization. Of course, this is just the perspective of the organization. Why I personally believe that women should be encouraged in technology is a much shorter answer: It’s because technology is the place to be, where exciting and fun things are always happening, and we want to keep that place open to everyone.
herCAREER: How can companies increase the number of women in tech roles?
Vedrana Miholić: Organizations must first and foremost consciously and intentionally open themselves to the female population. In our experience, the mere intention fosters authenticity at every level of communication. From job interviews to career advancement and career paths, I believe that a sense of security is crucial for everyone to remain committed to an organization, and it’s even more important for women.
To achieve this, it’s often important, especially in large organizations, to devise concrete mechanisms and ensure their implementation. Mentorship is always an action that undoubtedly yields results. Additionally, I believe that companies should contribute by showcasing positive examples of successful women in technology whenever the opportunity arises.
herCAREER: What is your advice for women who think leadership and family are not compatible?
Vedrana Miholić: I would advise them not to overthink it :) In general, I often like to say that one of the reasons why women progress more slowly is because they tend to overanalyze, question their capabilities, and ultimately get trapped in that analysis. The same goes for balancing a career and family life. There is no choice; a woman who wants a family, motherhood, doesn’t choose but lives that role. Similarly, if desires to pursue a career, it should be accepted and pushed forward.
One of my good friends would probably say that it’s easier for me to say this now, having raised two adult sons and achieved business results I’m proud of. But I never really thought about how I would manage to reconcile these two things; instead, I made compromises on a weekly and daily basis, doing what I could. Sometimes, it came down to being late for work because I had a strong desire to cook lunch for my family in the morning, and sometimes, it meant working while the boys finally fell asleep as babies. Life is about compromise; sometimes this is more apparent and more visible to us women, but everyone makes compromises to reconcile the things they love.