Zana Pekmez has an established career in creating & delivering business focused strategies in IT and Data Analytics that add value to organization through her inspiring leadership, rich experience and growth mindset. Above all she values continuous learning and digital up-skilling and she beliefs that we need to deliver more on sustainability.
How did you become a woman in tech – what is your background?
Zana: My background is in economics and statistics, but my strongest skills have always been communication and discipline in execution, which naturally led me towards driving technology and digital transformation. I am very curious and I continuously upskill to understand new technology, tools and workflows.
What obstacles and fears did you have to face on your way of becoming who you are today?
Zana: Each one of us has a different and compelling story and faced different fears on our journey. As a mother, family is really important for me and I put my children first and this is a trade-off. It is important to manage this and make sure that us women be good mothers but still stay in the game. Staying in the game is so crucial to reach gender equality in tech. Understanding these challenges at deeper level and supporting women maintain workplace flexibility is our highest calling.
What was the reaction of your personal environment?
Zana: My family has been very supportive. Now my girls are grown up and it is really fulfilling to see them take interest in my job, asking the questions, wanting to learn. Work-life balance is also very important for being efficient and productive, so I take it seriously. I have several hobbies that make me happy.
What would you do differently the next time (on this path)?
Zana: I wish I aligned my purpose and my career earlier. This is why it is important to constantly reflect on what matters to you to be able to always lead with purpose.
Do you have any recommendations for young women who are interested in a career in tech?
Zana: We need to bring the change that is needed. We need 8 million women in tech to reach gender equality and we are nowhere near. Women are dropping out of technology much faster than men. By collective power, partnership and collaboration we need to support each other openly and unapologetically. Another very important advise to all women in tech is to “lean in”. Don’t sit back at the table, don’t offer to take meeting minutes, but lead the discussion, ask the question, be visible.
What is your view on how to reduce the gender gap for women in technology?
Zana: The recent TED talk by Gavriella Schuster – “BeCOME an Ally : How to achieve gender equality”, sent a really powerful message to the world and it is about collective power. Gavriella´s words really resonated with me and I truly believe that significant progress could be made by purpose-driven leadership and especially male allyship since in Technology most often men are the decision makers. By empowerment and mentoring men can make a huge difference for women to become visible, to create opportunities for success and maintain the healthy workplace culture so that women stay in the industry.