ATA Women: Inspiration in Every Department

Andrej Spasovski

Andrej Spasovski

10 minutes read

Tue Mar 8, 2022

We love to celebrate our teammates’ achievements every day, but today we’re shouting from the rooftops about all of the incredibly talented women who make Ataccama so special. Across all departments and locations around the globe we find creative, passionate, strong leaders in our female colleagues.

To learn more about what drives our colleagues and how they’ve achieved their success we sat down with women from different departments to hear their stories, what they’ve learned in their careers, and what fuels their passion.

Irena Poncar — Information Security Officer

What was your journey to your current role like?

Very rocky, with ups and downs, periods of doubt and periods of extreme satisfaction. When I started, I didn’t know information security as a field existed and 12 years later, it’s finally my area of passion and, hopefully, expertise in the future.

How do you predict the professional world will continue to evolve for women?

I predict our daughters will not even have to ask this question. Gender will not play any role in talent acquisition — their skills and competencies will.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I’m a passionate wannabe circus artist and devote some time to participating in kids’ after-school circus activities.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in your career?

Don’t worry, your secret superpower — writing policies — will become very handy one day.

What has been your proudest moment at Ataccama?

To see all of Ataccama unite to provide all the help we possibly can in the recent difficult world situation. And to see how strong and inspiring a leader our CEO has become.

Sona Smid — Partner Success Director

What was your journey to your current role at Ataccama?

Unexpected. Adventurous. Challenging. But 100% rewarding.

How has the professional world changed for women since you began your career?

We’re definitely seeing more women in IT nowadays compared to what I remember from 9 years ago when I joined Ataccama. And the environment has definitely become more flexible, supporting various types of remote work and part-time set-ups (which I truly appreciate as a working mom of a 2 year old). I’m also proud to see more and more women successfully taking on leadership roles.

How do you hope it will continue to evolve?

I think the future for women in tech is bright! In Ataccama specifically, we’re onto something big. Working hard on achieving our company goals, we all have a unique opportunity to help Ataccama become a unicorn and reap the rewards.

What are your passion projects outside of work?

Creative projects of all kinds, especially events management and writing. My little family of three, especially fun playdates with my daughter. And traveling when I can.

What advice do you have for women starting their careers?

Go all-in. Be proactive. Try different roles to find out what suits you best. Be (reasonably) humble but dare to ask for things you want. Make sure your work makes you happy. And most importantly, believe in yourself. You’ve got this!

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during your career?

Employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers. A supportive, inclusive team environment combined with inspiring, authentic leadership makes all the difference.

Della Zhuang — Account Director, APAC

What was your journey to your current role at Ataccama?

I come from an actuarial and statistical academic background together with previous experience in data analytics. These experiences made me realize the criticality of good data to any business, which is why I was so excited when I saw Ataccama expanding to APAC. I joined Ataccama as the second employee in APAC in 2019 as the Account Director, to grow the client base in the region. Over the last three years, we have grown exponentially and we look forward to continuing the growth.

How do you hope the professional world will continue to evolve for women?

More opportunities and representation of women at the leadership level. We have made progress on promoting diversity in the professional world, and the proportion of diversity representation at the executive leadership level is still changing at a much slower pace. I am hoping we will see more leadership opportunities promoted to women and more diversity representation on the executive levels.

What are your passion projects outside of work?

I am a powerlifting athlete and a martial arts practitioner outside of my work. I am also starting my own YouTube channel to promote data, technology and diversity.

Advice for women starting their careers?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the industry when you start out. People are often more likely than you think to provide advice or help.

What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

Opening the second office in APAC! When I first started in Ataccama, I was in a tiny private office in a co-working space and now we have opened our second office in the region. It is amazing to see our growth and I am excited to see what the future holds for Ataccama in this region.

Diana Babiac — Product Manager (MDM Spaceport)

What was your journey to becoming a Product Manager?

A year ago, Ataccama offered me the fantastic opportunity to work as a Product Manager in the Master Data Management area. Before going for it, I had a couple of good discussions with inspiring people like David Kolinek, VP of Product, and our CTO Roman Kucera. I wanted to make sure I would have the support, ability, and possibility to do meaningful work. Of course, that didn’t prepare me for all the challenging fun I would have, but it definitely helped!

Before joining Ataccama I studied Computer Science and worked in software development. I wanted to understand the greater context of my work, so I shifted to IT Project Management. At that time, the “Product Manager” role was emerging and started calling to me. I have officially been a Product Manager for three years now, and I am delighted with my choice.

How has the tech world changed for women since starting your career?

A decade ago, when receiving a scholarship or being accepted to a university, I used to ask myself: “Did I get it because I am a woman?” Over the years, the presence of women in tech has normalized. Maybe it’s because we’ve reached a critical mass — we are no longer rare unicorns plagued by impostor syndrome. Kudos to the many employers for consciously investing in an inclusive and supportive culture.

How do you think this will continue to evolve?

I feel hopeful when I think about the future of women in tech. The three key drivers will be automation, flexible work conditions, and further tech industry growth. Women who have already specialized in a different field will join the tech industry. Experts in HR, finance, or pharma will join tech organizations to help create the software products they needed in their previous jobs. Additionally, we will see many more women taking the fast track to tech with educational programs such as Czechitas or Ataccama.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am a lifelong learner, and I am now midway through my Executive MBA studies. This means I am spending some of my leisure time speed-diving into new topics. For example, a couple of weeks ago I was role-playing conflict management under the guidance of a former Head of Hostage and Crisis Negotiator Unit of Scotland Yard.

What advice do you have for women starting out in the tech industry?

On average, women underestimate their abilities and performance, while men overestimate theirs. We women often believe we should learn everything, maybe get two more university degrees before daring to apply for a junior position in a different role. My advice for women starting in tech is to conscientize this bias. Go for the job you don’t think you can get. Join the team that has to solve the problem you don’t know how to solve yet.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

When starting out in a career, focus on gaining as much experience as you can, in both depth and breadth. Have a couple of professional paths open to you. Make sure you are employable by companies of different types and sizes. Learn what makes you excited. The job title and the salary are secondary. In the short time, this will enable you to get that title and that salary you want, but in the company and role that you choose.

Martina Sulkova — Social Media Expert

What was your journey to your current role at Ataccama?

I think my journey was quite varied but also, in a way, always leading up to a career in social media. I have a degree in English and Media because I’ve always loved reading and writing. I started out working as a Social Media Lead for a hotel in Prague when a Social Media Manager was still a relatively unknown career path.

I then worked in social media in a few agencies (Havas being one of them as well as a content agency in Amsterdam) and also worked in Product Marketing for a social media analytics company. I think looking back, I can see the clear link between working in social media as well as tech. However, since the social media world has changed so much in 10 years, I really couldn’t have known this would be my career when I first graduated!

How has the professional world changed for women since beginning your career?

I believe women are more outspoken and confident in the workplace these days. The shift may be small, but I think I can see it. And I believe that things will only get better from here. I’m constantly inspired by my female colleagues who are smart, hard-working, empathetic, are often raising a family… They have a lot on their plate and they still prioritize doing a great job at work. These are my role models.

What fuels your passion outside of work?

I love to move, so I try to do pilates as often as I can. I used to love to go spinning, but because of the Covid restrictions that sadly had to take a back seat. Maybe I can start this summer again — fingers crossed! As a third culture kid, I also love traveling, meeting new people and learning new languages. I’d like to take up Swedish and Korean again. And my next dream destinations are the Faroe Islands and Japan (and South Korea again).

The biggest lesson you’ve learned during your career?

It may sound like a cliche, but I think it’s great to go with the flow. You never know how an industry can change and as I said before, the social media world has changed SO much in the past 10 years. When I started out, Instagram was hardly a thing! I think it’s important to keep learning and growing — this is how you will thrive in your career. And one last cliche — you have to enjoy what you’re doing. Everyone has a different idea of what their dream career looks like and that’s great!

See why we think our team is the best? We have even more inspirational colleagues we’d love to introduce to you! Read ATA Women: Stories From Our Tech Girls and More Inspiring Stories From Our Tech Girls to meet some of the leading women in product, engineering, and technical writing!

Want to work with a team like ours? See our open positions over on our job portal. Can’t wait to hear from you!