Why time is playing for women.
Interview with Regine Haschka-Helmer - Part Two.
|Interview by:||Lena Rübelmann||Video by:||Birka Wolff||Edited by:||Valeria Pinto|
|Reading Time:||6 Min.||Date:||20.12.2018|
Regine Haschka-Helmer – digital pioneer, entrepreneur and working mom. In the first part of her interview she introduced us to her work at SeedLab and the consultancy of businesses in digital innovation and digital transformation processes. She speaks about how she became an advisor to IOTA Foundation and also explains the challenges she had and still has to overcome on a daily basis. She unfolds the common misconception of the tech field and elaborates its potential for men and women with different professional backgrounds, that is to say, a technical background is not a necessity to work in tech. She highlights the surplus value of the tech field for businesses as well as for society seeking to generate beneficial progress for everyone. In this 2nd part she will speak about the importance of visions for personal and professional growth and make a few suggestions on how to give people, and especially young girls, a better understanding of the tech field.
Q: Does the tech industry have to change for women to engage with it?
A: Generally, business structure is changing and evolving. Therefore, new companies, such as IOTA have a completely new structure. It is not about hierarchy and it is not about politics. There are a lot of women doing excellent work there. New companies, structures and organizations are coming up that will be beneficial for women as well as for men. This means that the progression of time is key at the moment and for the future, due to ongoing transformations within society and the business culture. The common business elbow mentality is not as crucial as it used to be and therefore, time is playing for women.
technology is not only about coding!
Q: The age of 15 is found to be a crucial age for women to lose their interest for the tech field – how can that be changed?
A: I think we should start with education at an early age. Children in this era grow up using digital devices, so the fear aspect drops out because they are used to work with them. Though, we have to finally explain that technology is not only about coding! People think that if they want to go into tech they need to be a programmer. That’s wrong, there are people needed for strategy, conceptualization, people who want to create solutions. It is not necessary to come from a technological background; we need that diversity of the mixed skills set. The perception of technology as mathematics or coding only needs to be erased. Maybe start with implementing technological projects in schools and universities. Then, we will also have more women in technology. I don’t think it is about the fact that women do not want to do tech but rather about what people think that the tech field is.
I don’t think it is about the fact that women do not want to do tech but rather about what people think that the tech field is.
Q: Do you think it is necessary to explicitly raise awareness about women in the tech field?
A: Yeah, when I was younger I always thought that there was no need for that. I didn’t feel special or particular as a woman in technology. I don’t like this approach because it stresses the unusualness of the presence of women in the technological field. I would love it to not be special or unique but rather familiar and frequent. We do need it in Germany in order to raise attention about the status quo and to generate impulses towards women to go into tech.
Q: What make role models a necessity?
A: If you see and talk to other women doing the job, it gives you inspiration. I just think role models are crucial to make other women stronger and share their experience.
Q: Do you have any advice to give as a role model yourself?
A: Just do it – ‘trial and error’. From the startup culture the new failure culture is evolving and women should start to integrate that way of thinking into their mindset in order to benefit from attempts. Try – fail/succeed – learn and succeed!
If you don’t like something about your job, you are always capable of change!
Q: Is that how you built your career?
A: Yes, sure. I wasn’t thinking too much about career, I always followed my internal motivation. I was not taking a typical career path, I followed my own path. I did what I really liked, not what I thought people wanted me to do. Your motivation should be intrinsic. Wanting to get up in the morning and being excited about what you are doing – that should be your goal. Then you know you’re on your individual right path. If you don’t like something about your job, you are always capable of change!
Q: Are you used to think big?
A: Yes, to think big is very important. There always needs to be some kind of vision in order to achieve something. To have a vision you need to think big. The vision needs to be bigger than you. Nothing can be achieved within a day and don’t ever forget that you yourself are still developing. You are growing by experience.
Q: So you are saying there needs to be a vision for yourself and one for the startup?
A: Yes, of course! I still have strong visions and ideas and I constantly work on them.
Q: What vision are you following yourself?
A: At the moment I am very happy with my life because I am doing what I love. This is very rare and I know that I am privileged, not a lot of people get to do what they love and actually gain money with it. I find myself in a very good position right now and of course I want to hang on to that. To me that is also my motivation and I am constantly working to keep it that way.
Q: Could you apply the advice you gave to yourself?
A: I had to go through a lot but I am still here, happier than ever. To sit back and wait for a career to fall into your lap is not going to happen. Thus, I want to stress the necessity of becoming the active player in your own life – let it be personal or professional. A lot of women suffer from fear or doubt, especially because of the ‘kids debate’. Can I be a working mom? Well, I am the mother of two kids and I could definitely make it work. If you truly want it you will make it happen and find a way.
Q: Did you experience any resentment about being a working mom?
A: It was just when I got pregnant. There was no understanding in the management team, but I guess there was never a good time to them. I was working up until two weeks before due date and came back right after four weeks. Nonetheless, they neither approved nor supported me on it. It really disappointed me but as you can see, I still made it.
Q: How can we give young girls, women and everyone else the confidence needed to become founders?
A: Role models! Show them women who successfully run their own companies and still have kids and are happy. Let them tell their story, how they manage their lives. I would have appreciated this when I was younger.
Even possible failure is a win in the end. Get out of your comfort zone and gain the experience!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Yes, finally, it is all about anxiety and about overcoming the latter. Even though it might sound cliché, I want to encourage anyone to just go for it and try their skills. Even possible failure is a win in the end. Get out of your comfort zone and gain the experience!