Culture

Three Women, Three Stories: Celebrating Resilience, Diversity, and Inclusion at the European Women in Tech Conference

women in technology

The European Women in Technology conference took place in Amsterdam this June, gathering more than 5000 attendees across multiple countries. Over the course of two days, keynotes, workshops, dinners, and other events celebrated resilience—the theme of this year’s conference. 

This year, Reaktor participated by making an investment of 25,000€ to sponsor tickets for underprivileged women looking to break into the industry or take the next step in their careers. The tickets were handed out on a first come, first served basis without judgment or assessment of the applicants.

We sat down with three ticket recipients to speak about their experience at the event, their careers and dreams, working in tech, and diversity within the industry. As it turned out, all of them share the experience of moving to Amsterdam from abroad and completing coding bootcamps. But as you’ll see, attending Women in Tech proved to be a unique experience for each woman.

Berenice Bárcena: “It’s not too late to start accelerating my career.”

Berenice Bárcena moved to the Netherlands in 2018. Originally an industrial and UX designer from Mexico, she made a career shift from designer to a frontend engineer, with specialization in creative web development. 

“I came across the Women in Tech event on Twitter and then saw Reaktor’s posts about it on Instagram,” said Berenice. “Going to a conference wasn’t really on the table for me, so the fact that I got the opportunity was incredibly refreshing. It was the first event like this I had ever gone to alone, and it was actually great for making acquaintances and just exploring.”

berenice
Berenice Bárcena

 

“For me the most interesting part of the event was seeing who was chosen to speak there,” added Berenice. “It was incredible to see such inspiring women in high positions at large companies. And not just the crazy, 22-year-old Silicon Valley CEOs, but women who are mothers, who are of different ages, and have gone through various career paths. As someone in their mid-thirties, it really motivated me to see how it’s not too late to start accelerating my career.”

Eugenia Pastore: The importance of a collaborative mindset

After moving from her homeland of Latvia, Eugenia Pastore studied marketing management in Edinburgh. But soon after that, she decided to pivot into coding. At Women in Tech, Eugenia attended a talk given by Andrea Morgan-Vandome, VP of Technology at Nike, who encouraged people to ‘become dream builders—instead of dream blockers—to yourselves and those around you.’

“The importance of a collaborative mindset really resonated with me,” noted Eugenia. “I share the sentiment that in order to make a meaningful, tangible, and measurable impact, you can’t just do what you love, but you must also work together and take care of one another. What Andrea said makes a lot of sense when thinking about all the technological innovation that has happened in the past decades. What we now need is to engage more with our natural gifts of compassion, justice, kindness, and hard work. From there we can make innovations that have wider economic and social impact, while being environmentally responsible,” commented Eugenia.

eugenia
Eugenia Pastore

 

Jeanet L: Creating meaningful connections to make an impact

Originally from Norway, Jeanet L. worked in sales and marketing until a  health-catalyzed epiphany convinced her to transition her career. She’s now searching for opportunities in product management with an interest in projects that solve people’s more pressing needs.

Jeanet came across the event through SheSharp —a community for women in tech. Having been to over 50 conferences previously, Jeanet’s goals in attending Women in Tech this time was focused primarily on creating meaningful connections, which she confirms she did. 

“I applied for this ticket because I’m really interested in meeting companies and people that are both known and unknown to me,” said Jeanet. “I’m curious about hearing the experiences of women working in tech roles across different orgs and seeing what kind of opportunities are available.  Attending this event allowed me to meet a lot of great women and learn about companies I wasn’t even thinking about applying to before.”

jeanet
Jeanet L

 

Doing our part to increase diversity & inclusion

This was the first time Reaktor has participated in Women in Tech with a ticket sponsorship. We’re hoping to be able to run more initiatives like it in the future. Our goal is to make a small contribution— not just to increasing diversity and inclusion within our own organization—but also within the tech community as a whole.

“This new initiative from Reaktor to sponsor tickets gives more people an equal opportunity to join an event like this, and to learn and connect with people. I was really happy I was one of the lucky ones and truly appreciate that I could go. Who knows, maybe one of those newly-made connections will also land me my first product management job,” Jeanet concluded.

women in tech

Would you like to know how Reaktor is approaching DEI matters? Check out Tamara’s post “On Building Sustainable DEI in the Tech Industry.”

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