BigPanda blog

Female leaders at BigPanda share their experiences as women in tech

Celebrated on March 8 every year, International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year, the theme is #EmbraceEquity. The IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme aims to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked some of the female leaders at BigPanda to share their thoughts and experiences as women working in the tech industry.

What advice would you give to other women in the tech industry?

Speak with confidence, even if you have none. – Anat Harel, Team Lead, Engineering

I would advise them to ignore the “imposter syndrome” background noises and trust themselves better. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and take chances. – Yifat Aharoni, Senior Director, People Operations

1: Be proud to be unique and different. Great ideas are born from different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Uniformity doesn’t bode well for big ideas! Celebrate who you are and be authentic in the workplace and with yourself. Don’t try to be anyone else. 2: Embrace failure. We learn the most from the times when things didn’t go our way. Don’t be afraid to try new things or make a bold recommendation for fear you may be wrong or it won’t work. Ask questions to better understand someone’s position or point of view. Look for ways to make your company better. 3: Be confident in your ideas and opinions. Oftentimes, it is just as much how you say something as it is what you say. Speak with conviction and don’t ask for approval. Find your voice and embrace it. – Katie Volz, Area Vice President, Sales

I would encourage women to think outside the box and always be confident enough to find their seat at the table. – Emily Davis, Senior Manager, Field Marketing

Was there a moment in your career that you felt was a turning point?

At some point in my career, I realized that my male colleagues celebrate their successes a lot more than I do—and almost always give themselves credit. They say “I,” while I say “We.” At that point, I decided that at my next job, I would show more confidence and try to celebrate my successes even if it takes effort on my part to recognize them as such. That turned my career around completely. – Anat Harel, Team Lead, Engineering

Being promoted to lead the Israel people team was a real turning point. This was a great opportunity for me, and I felt honored for gaining the belief, trust, and blessing from the BigPanda leadership team. – Yifat Aharoni, Senior Director, People Operations

The moment in my career that was a turning point was after I found out I was pregnant with my second kid. I was just up for a VP role and was torn between accepting and truly leaning in and knowing I’ll be out in a few months for maternity leave. I decided to accept the role despite the pregnancy. A few months later, I realized I could do both quite well—be a mom and a VP. – Hagit Merhavi, VP, Product Management

I have worked in a number of industries over the years: energy, consumer products, fragrances, and tech. When I got my first job in tech, it was a turning point for me. I realized I was part of an exciting, fast-paced world, and I was hooked. I knew at that moment I wanted to build my career in tech. I made it a goal to get to a start-up and be part of building a company from the ground up. As a former entrepreneur, that was the most exciting aspect to me! – Katie Volz, Area Vice President, Sales

My crucial turning point was joining my first unicorn start-up, which launched my career and passion in field marketing and events. – Emily Davis, Senior Manager, Field Marketing

Who is your female role model?

Can I say my wife? She is a doctor and always knew and knows her worth. She never refuses a challenge and is always ready to take on more. She also cares greatly about her patients and colleagues. – Anat Harel, Team Lead, Engineering

Brene Brown. She is so smart and honest. Her books and talks are true inspiration for me. – Yifat Aharoni, Senior Director, People Operations

My female role model is my past colleague. She was my partner in product design for five years (across two companies and counting) and taught me so much about user empathy and the importance of actively listening to customers. – Hagit Merhavi, VP, Product Management

My female role model and someone I’ve always admired is Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx. She has always been very transparent and candid with her journey to build her company. She doesn’t pretend to be someone she isn’t. Her approach to problem solving, failure, and authenticity has shaped how I look at my own career. She is also a mother of four and is very real about the challenges of being a working mom. It is amazing that she built a billion-dollar empire from $5,000 and an idea she had. – Katie Volz, Area Vice President, Sales

I have many, but one that immediately comes to mind is Angela Duckworth, who authored the book “Grit.” -Emily Davis, Senior Manager, Field Marketing

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I hope that with time, days like these will not be necessary anymore. At the moment, I think it’s needed: until women are in positions of power the same as men. – Anat Harel, Team Lead, Engineering

I have to say, I do not put a lot of focus on International Women’s Day on a personal level since I mainly hope we’ll reach a point where every woman will get fair opportunities so we’ll not need a special day to mention it. – Yifat Aharoni, Senior Director, People Operations

International Women’s Day to me is a day to pause, recognize, and cherish the progress the world has made in the past century. We have a lot of freedom to make our choices, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted. – Hagit Merhavi, VP, Product Management

It is a day of celebration! It is also a day to self reflect on my own experiences as a woman and on those of women all around the world. I think about the women I work with, my mom, my own daughter (she’s three!), and all those who’ve paved the way before me. – Katie Volz, Area Vice President, Sales

It’s a day dedicated to women around the world to embrace and honor one another’s accomplishments. – Emily Davis, Senior Manager, Field Marketing