Sun, 10/29/2023 - 01:32

The Operations Lead at Anthill knows how to foster an environment where everyone can thrive

Valeria Djukic Anthill.jpg
Valeria Djukic, Operations Lead at Anthill

Anthill is a Software Solutions Center that acts as a strategic R&D partner to product companies pursuing quick but sustainable success by building their own effective, high-performing technical teams. The job of Valeria Djukic as Anthill's Operations Lead is instrumental for achieving this mission and she is more than well prepared for it. Before she joined the company, in 2022, she gained broad competence in business development, operations, and project management across diverse industry sectors. This is why she has a unique perspective of not only the IT sector, but also the role of women in it.

Bulgaria is a European leader in the presence of women in the IT sector. Based on your experience at Anthill, what are your observations about the ladies in the industry?

In my experience at Anthill and prior to that, I've had the privilege of working alongside women who have made substantial contributions to various facets of the Bulgarian IT industry. From quality assurance to project and account managers, business analysts, product owners, founders, and general managers, women in the Bulgarian IT ecosystem are actively engaged in diverse roles, enriching the industry and creating a balanced and healthy work environment.

Bulgaria's position as a leader in fostering women's involvement in the IT sector stands as a testament to the industry's commitment to inclusivity and collaboration. This commitment results in a diversity of perspectives that significantly enhance problem-solving and innovation. As the current frontrunner in Europe, Bulgaria is well-positioned to continue this journey, setting a powerful example of inclusivity and excellence. This journey, though, begins with efforts in families and elementary schools.

Can we say that the teams with women in IT positions have any advantages? Does the presence of women in any way affect the quality of their work, and if so, how?

The presence of women in IT positions can be a valuable asset to companies. Our diverse perspectives often encourage a more holistic approach to problem-solving, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, communication, and achieving a balance between technical excellence and business goals. This can lead to a healthier work environment where a broader range of skills and ideas are appreciated and where the team remains closely aligned with the overarching business objectives.

The impact of gender diversity on team dynamics can vary widely depending on the individuals involved and the specific workplace culture. However, the goal should always be to foster an inclusive and collaborative atmosphere where everyone's contributions are recognized and valued, regardless of gender.

What are the advantages for IT companies of hiring women?

I truly believe that the impact of gender on our professional lives and business decisions is a complex interplay between social constructs and individual traits. In my view, though, there are numerous advantages to increasing gender diversity across all tech industries. For example, women can bring a fresh and innovative perspective, leading to more effective problem-solving and enhanced customer satisfaction, which, in turn, can significantly boost revenue. Additionally, diverse teams are better equipped to ensure that technology caters to a broader range of consumers, and the unique viewpoints of women can drive innovation even in traditionally male-dominated sectors. When women take on leadership roles, it not only paves the way for future generations but also enriches the talent pool, fostering innovation and overall growth. Lastly, fostering balanced workplaces contributes to higher morale, lower turnover rates, and a more enjoyable work environment, which ultimately benefits companies in multiple ways. In conclusion, gender diversity in tech industries is not just beneficial; it's essential for promoting innovation, facilitating growth, and developing products that resonate with a diverse consumer base.

According to your observations, what challenges do women face in the IT field?

While acknowledging the challenges like gender bias, stereotyping, lack of representation, and unequal pay that women in the IT field face in Bulgaria, and in the rest of the world, is crucial, we must also recognize that the greatest hurdles often start much earlier, particularly for girls, and children overall, in underserved areas. Access to quality education is a pivotal determinant of future opportunities, career choices, and a nation’s prosperity.

Moreover, in today’s rapidly evolving world, we understand that education cannot be a one-time endeavor limited to our early years. Lifelong learning is essential for adapting to the ever-changing demands of the IT field. This means that even after graduation, professionals, including women, need ongoing access to educational resources and opportunities to keep their skills relevant and to stay competitive in the industry.

What was the biggest challenge for you, personally and professionally, when you took your current position at Anthill? What motivates you to go to work in the morning?

When I assumed the role of Operations Lead at Anthill, I encountered the unique challenge of tailoring my leadership approach to suit each team member's individual needs and working styles. Every member brought a distinct set of skills and preferences to the table, and it was essential to foster an environment where everyone could thrive. To address this multifaceted challenge, I actively engaged with my colleagues, fostering open lines of communication, and building trust within the team, allowing me to better understand their individual requirements and facilitate a more customized leadership approach.

What motivates me each morning is the vision of creating a collaborative and empowering work environment. I'm driven by the prospect of helping my teammates grow, excel, and make meaningful contributions, all while staying true to their individual values and professional standards. This aspirational image of a harmonious and thriving workplace is what energizes me every morning and propels me to give my best.

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