GoDaddy recently sponsored the European Women in Tech Conference, 2018 in Amsterdam from 27th to 29th November 2018. Many inspiring women who work in technology met there and exchanged ideas and shared creativity at the event.
At the event, we sat down with Irana Wasti, SVP of GoDaddy EMEA and founder of GDWIT (GoDaddy Women in Technology). We asked her why it is worthwhile for women to work in IT, how she found her way into tech industry and especially to GoDaddy.
1. How do you like your work as SVP at GoDaddy EMEA since you have been here?
I love the role. EMEA is GoDaddy’s biggest international region - we work with nearly 4m independent ventures. Having been with GoDaddy in US for 5+ years, I am keen to learn and understand how GoDaddy products and services help the diverse customers we serve across EMEA and how we can continue to improve those experiences. Additionally, with over 1,000 employees in places as diverse as Sofia, Iasi, Nottingham and Cologne, it’s been insightful and important to spend the time understanding what makes GoDaddy EMEA employee experience delightful and unique. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been hosting roundtable meetings at all our offices to get to know the people that make this business tick. Listening is a huge part of leadership, and it’s one of the things I most enjoy about my job.
2. Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
There is no typical day in this role but that’s what makes the role exciting and rewarding. I lead a diverse team across a region with 100+ countries… I need to balance the employee, customer and shareholder goals and needs to ensure we deliver WoW experiences throughout. The days vary from travelling across EMEA locations and meeting with employees for feedback/new ideas to defining and executing regional strategies for evaluating creative work that our advertising agencies put together. One thing is for sure – there is never a dull moment.
3. Did you always want to work in technology? And, why did you decide to join GoDaddy?
I have always wanted to work in technology company and that’s why I pursued Computer Science as my college degree. Technology companies lead breakthrough innovations for the world and I wanted to be part of (and lead) that innovation. GoDaddy’s vision is to radically shift the world economy towards independent ventures – that’s an inspiring vision that I’ve been driving for and shaping over the past five and a half years.
4. I don’t think it’s any secret that many women in the tech industry have felt their gender has affected the way that they are perceived or treated. Have you ever been in a situation like that? If so, how did you handle it?
While there challenges for women in tech (or other) industries, I believe its most important to not lose track of what you bring to the company and the type of company/leader you work for. I’ve been in the situation where my role/position was challenged… and when I am the decision maker, then I see it as a challenge for the other person and not myself. And when I am not a decision maker, I rely on my network of great managers/mentors who can help amplify my voice/POV. What’s exciting to see is that across the tech industry, many companies (including GoDaddy) are joining forces to enhance the experience of women and other diverse employees across the industry. And we’ve seen real change happen due to those efforts, including transparency in pay parity between men and women, more equitable/objective employee evaluation and recruiting process and so on.
5. What are some of the biggest challenges that women who want to venture in the world of technology face today?
Limiting oneself before giving oneself a chance/opportunity to shine. The imposter syndrome is very real and it doesn’t help that there aren’t many women in leadership/BOD roles. We can’t wait for those role models to appear… we have to be those role models for ourselves and future generations. Find a company/team that will help you leverage your skills and grow you… after all, there are lots of tech companies to choose from and new startups are being launched daily. Don’t settle for a role where you are not making an impact… you have a lot to contribute and the world/community depends on your next innovation.
6. Do you notice a lack of women in technology? If so, why do you think that’s the case?
There aren’t as many women as men in tech, that’s for sure. One problem is that fewer girls take on STEM subjects at school, which means fewer go on to become coders and engineers. The good news is there are some great programmes for kids in schools and the balance is already being redressed, but it will take a while. The other problem is women advancing through to the most senior leadership positions at tech firms. There’s a revolution going on in flexible working, and women are already better able to integrate family and work if they want to, but there’s lots more that can be done.
7. What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry? What do you wish you had known?
Whether you are a man or a woman, entering tech or another industry, here is the advice I would give: It’s so important to be clear about your guiding principles – the things that are really important to you – and base your decisions on them. I have always known that I want to be a young mum, and I want to run a tech firm. Knowing this helps me focus on the things that are important in life. ‘Balance’ can be an unhelpful term when thinking about work and life – I prefer to think about integration. Work integrates itself into your life in so many ways – email, Slack, video-conferencing – so why not integrate life into work? If I need to take my kids into the office, have them with me on a call, or take time out to take them to tennis lessons, I don’t hesitate.
8. What is GoDaddy doing to get more women working for the company in the future?
Rather than provide a long list of items, I’ve lead with GoDaddy’s recent diversity report and emphasized that diversity is embedded in our culture – which is what spurs meaningful change. A huge amount. We have a really exciting Women in Technology employee network that we’ve set up. It’s well established in the States and it helps bring women together to share experience and build networks. Now we’re introducing the same in EMEA, it’s growing fast and going really well.
9. What would be your message to women trying to get into technology?
Do it! The future relies on technology, so why not be at the forefront of evolution and innovation. Tech industry is flexible, accommodates different lifestyles, it’s growing fast so there are always opportunities, and most of all it’s all so new – and if you see something you don’t like, you can change it.