"Turning the odds: Thriving in tech with a culture of maturity, appreciation, and equality by Aleksandra Ignacio

Aleksandra Ignacio
Senior People & Culture Manager
Gabriele Ignatavičienė
Lead UX Designer
Anthony Velasco
Customer Support Engineer

Video Transcription

Introducing ourselves. So uh welcome everyone uh on uh our session, uh The title of the session is uh turning the odds thriving in tech uh with a culture of maturity appreciation and equality. And my name is Alexandra. And at Caste, I am a senior culture and people manager.And in this session, together with my Panelist, we will share our approach uh to build a positive tech culture that empowers all employees and how this culture contributed to our success uh in our experience, the culture of maturity appreciation and quality. It's not only better for women, but it's also better for a company as a whole. But uh first, I need to mention that our chat is uh open. So please write any questions, any comments you might have my colleagues uh also will reply to you and they will also share a contact if needed. And I also encourage you to save this contact if you wanna reach out to us later, because this session uh will be automatically ended and closed after exactly 30 minutes. And of course, after that, you can uh find us in our booth uh here at the conference just searching for Cast A I and uh yes. Now coming back to our session shortly about Cast A I.

Uh So Cast A I is uh the leading all in one platform for certis automation optimization, security and cost management. Uh It's powered by A I and it analyze multiple data points to find an optimal cost performance ratio. So in other words, it's a platform that cuts cloud bills in a house, for example, for Amazon web services and Google cloud platform customers. And our headquarter is uh in Miami uh United States and we also have European branch uh in the Unus Lithuania and now our Panelist uh today uh because I'm quite a new person at Cast A I. So to give you all a chance to see the whole picture and different perspectives. I invited uh my colleagues and they kindly agreed to join me here and now I will let them introduce themselves. Uh Gabby and Anthony. So Gaby, could you uh please say a few words about yourself and your role at Ke I?

Ok. Hi. Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining our session. So yeah, so as Alexandra mentioned, I'm Gabby. I'm your experienced designer at Cast A I. So basically what I do, I try to create frictionless experience for engineers. In other words, trying to make technical and complex things used and easier for everyone, something like that. Yeah.

Thank you, Gabby and Anthony. Could you share uh a few words about yourself your job position and responsibilities.

Of course. Well, pleasure to be here. Uh My name is Anthony Molas. I'm a technical support engineer at Caste. I um basically, my responsibility is to ensure that customers receive like prompt um and effective technical support. Um Basically enhancing the overall customer experience that they have um using our platform. But yeah, that's a little bit about me. Um Pleasure to be here again.

Thanks. Thank you for that. I guess some of you in our audience might uh might feel. I think um a bit concerned about why I decided to invite a man to a woman tech network conference, right? So uh it's because at uh at cast A I, we are not only talking about equality, we believe in that and it means that we are always staying open to different opinions and counting each perspective, making each voice matter in any circumstances and environment. So uh I think now it's finally the time to invite you all to hear some opinions and some examples of uh real uh life situations from our panelists. I really hope that Gabby and Anthony will share some tips with you on how you can make yourself uh self-confident to feel equal, what is in your power and how you can position yourself to build the career you want for yourself. So, Gaby, I will start uh the first question uh to you, how do you find yourself as a woman working in the tech industry.

Well, I say I'm finding myself good. Um I never felt any difference in treatment or opportunities. So, of course, I know this is not the case for all women. There are some person I know some situations where this doesn't happen, but I was lucky. Um I am lucky. So I would say that's, that's, I'm just doing great.

Um But um, do you struggle with some stereotypes?

So again, this is the thing. I never got any stereotypes personally. Well, there was one situation that was really, um how to say interesting. I encountered this one company that um that had this hiring strategy. That was really strange per se. And I learned it later, it was that if you're a woman around 30 you're married, so they would put you as a candidate that does the least prioritized like at the bottom of the list just because, you know, you, you might leave, you have a maternity leave quite soon, you know, get pregnant and so on.

So, um basically, that was shocking for me. Then I realized that OK, companies like this still exist out there. And I was like, happy to know that I'm not working for those companies. And the question for me was OK, how do I identify those companies as fast as I can and just how, see, yeah, find different ways apart in that way. Yeah.

And in situations like that or even in daily situation how do you present yourself um as a self-confident person during meetings? Do you have some tips to share?

Ah, yes. So, self-confidence. Ok. So I think preparation is the key. I think everybody knows that, you know, you're pre prepared and your mind is at ease. Then you can, for example, participate in the meeting properly because you're being present and you don't have to think about the things that you did because you're already prepared, you're aware of the agenda of the meeting everything. And then the meeting outcome usually is better.

The second thing would be um how to say being open about what you know and what you don't know because then everybody is aware of that. They want to ask you those uncomfortable questions that you don't know answers to and that gives you of course confidence and again, mind these. So this is the second thing and the third thing would be, you know, if you're asked the question, you're asked a question, you know, that you don't have an answer to at that moment. So, you know, you just use that golden phrase of like, OK, I don't know answer. Now, let me research and get back to you later and then actually do your research and get that answer, you know, that they're confident of giving back. So that usually just brings kind of confidence.

Yeah, that's a good one. The last one especially thank you and uh Anthony, you are working at the same team with Gabby, right? So uh from your perspective, what really matters when building a team?

Yeah. So I think um obviously in our technical industry, right? There's a lot of gender bias and I honestly think that gender doesn't matter. Um I strongly believe what really matters is like the strong suits of everyone. Um especially because everyone is unique, everyone has a strong suit, everyone comes um with different set of techniques and skills, right? Um And putting that together basically creates the entire picture of a great team. Um And basically, um I, I think instead of basically creating boundaries, it should create opportunities and basically have the team, basically encourage others to succeed. And I think that's what we do here at C I. Um I think that I think that's a strong suit here um and breaking those boundaries and basically creating those opportunities for our team.

Yeah. And what factors really um make a great team and help it to thrive even during some tough situations.

Yeah. Um I think open communication obviously, because everyone comes from a different background, everyone has different, you know, um suggestions or different ideas um having a, a respective and supportive community or environment for that sake. Um Just so you're, you feel confident um within the workspace that you are and obviously enjoy it as well as having uh the divi um what's it called, the skill, the different uh necessary skills and perspectives from each other. Um I think the diversity is very important there.

Um So I think that helps us to have a great team. So, yeah,

and then uh you mentioned this um the, the space uh the diversity and open communication, how uh in the space in the work environment, uh we can support uh to overcome imposter syndrome and self doubt. How do we do that at Cast A? I maybe you both can share some examples.

Um Gabby, do you wanna go first on that one? Yeah. Yeah.

So, so working with imposter syndrome. Yeah. OK. So it always boils down to the culture, you know, having this psychologically safe environment when everybody is how say communicating openly without any shaming or, you know, judging and that actually, you know, gives you already how say being your helping, being yourself and fighting for those and of course, you know, this environment where mistakes are viewed as opportunities of learning.

So rather than, you know, oh, you did a mistake, it's very bad. So something like that and also, you know, getting the support from your team, like tap on the back when you did a good job. Yeah, that's really nice. Really helps you to, you know, fight it in Boster syndrome because you're maybe doing something that you never did before and you did great. So that's really important. And of course, sometimes you need to push from your teammate, you know, as an example, talking me talking in this conference, Alexander coming and asking me to do that. It's a push, you know. So the same thing you just sometimes need that a little bit help. Yeah. And for me, it's one other thing was actually having a mentor. It's also helping.

Yeah, I was uh I was thinking about it. Um But first I would like to ask about the leadership because mentor is about uh a bit another level. But what about leadership and our executives at Castell?

I, I just sorry, I just thought maybe Anthony wanted to add something also to the uh imposter syndrome.

I think, well, I think uh you touched on those great points and I think that's, I mean, for me, in my, in, in the team that we have is we have that motivation from others that support, right? And I think that's why like, even though let's say, for example, you have a question about something um especially for the newcomers that come on our team, they may have questions and sometimes they feel like they can't ask it because they're maybe timid or, you know, they have some self doubt about it.

Um And our team, I don't feel that I've always had open conversations and um like my teammates would motivate me, no, ask these questions because we want to know where you're at. We want to motivate, you want to make sure that you understand that you're, we're open to helping like don't feel like we have a closed door policy here and I cast it, I, I think we, we really do a great job of just leaving it open for our team to communicate. Um And, and break those barriers for that.

Yes. And is uh our leadership and executive team impacting this somehow.

I, and from my perspective, 100%. Yes. Um Since the first day I started at cast A I, um my, our executives has really, you know, set the bar high for us um with expectations of being motivated and pushing us to really strive for more. Um And I've never been in a position like that. I think um I don't only take it in my professional life, but I also take it in my personal life. Um And honestly, it, it's very, very impacting on one. I enjoy coming to work and I think they're a big part of it. So, yeah,

I agree. I agree. Definitely. So, and I think leadership overall in all companies, it matters a lot because, you know, it's the thing that puts the values out there, you know, builds the culture, you know, vision, strategy, everything and it's like the core of the success of the company. And do you want to be part of that company or not? You know, so, yeah, it really matters.

Um Do you have some examples of best practices of uh safe and inclusive uh workspace and vitamins? Something that you maybe helped uh that, that you remember that it helped you at the very beginning, Anthony you mentioned already some some supportive ideas. Gabby.

Yeah. Um Yeah, Gabby. Do you want me to talk with this one first or? Yeah, go, go. Ok. So I think um for me it was having um like an arm boarding buddy kind of like a mentor like what Gabby was mentioning but like having that buddy that you can communicate with and like have one on one. And sometimes it doesn't necessarily didn't need to be about like work. It was more about like your personal life, like what was going on, right? And sometimes there's situations where you, where, you know, that comes up like your stress and it's not even about work, it's just about your personal life. So having that on boarding buddy to kind of um level that out and kind of, you know, help you out to feel like you're in a safe and you know, inclusive workspace and you know, you can come to me other than work stuff was really helpful. Uh At least uh initially when I got on board it and even now it's, it's amazing to have someone that you can talk to. So, yeah.

Mhm Yeah. Again, agree. Same, same, same stories. Also, boarding buddy was very important for me when I started my journey. Of course, at that point, when I started my journey is in my career was just basically having a job was amazing. You know, because you're young, you're still looking for it. So it was first thing first. But yeah, on boarding buddy is a thing that definitely helps. And of course, again, nice culture and I would add one thing is having a good manager, the one that you can trust and you look up to like leading you and giving you the freedom to do stuff. So yeah, I would say that's also a very important point.

Uh Thank you for that. I'm curious if anyone from our audience uh maybe could share some tips or examples uh of inclusive behavior, please um write down on our chat, any comments or any examples you might have. Uh we will be really happy to, to see your opinion or your tips and uh in general coming back uh to to our topic um because I can hear that maturity, self-awareness as an individual, but also as a team member matters. So how to develop that skill. It's quite a big one,

Anthony, you go first.

Um um Sorry, I was looking at the chat. Um I can, do you want to take that one? Gabby?

OK. That's OK. For so for me maturing, you know, as a, you know, self awareness as an individual or in the team, it goes hand in hand per se because the more you self aware, the more you put the team and other way around if you fit the team, then you're more self aware, it works both ways, you know, and, uh, of course, uh maturing itself comes with experience.

You know, you like getting into new team each time new team, they need this time to figure out the way of working. You know, there's some friction here and there and each time it's a different way of working and you find yourself in a different role and throughout the experience, you start seeing some patterns and you know, you, you have some tips and tricks here and there that you can try to reuse.

But overall it just takes time. Yeah. Um What are tips I could give is actually when you're working with the team. Yeah, of course, listening. Yeah, you can listen to the your teammate understand basically how the understanding their struggles decide to look for those touching point, touch points because then the results also because you see how you that helps to collaborate better. But as well as observe yourself when you're working with the team and collaborating, see those points where OK, something triggered you. Yeah, or like this imposter syndrome is coming back. So why is that, you know, you, you start looking for that? So that definitely helps you to grow and in each case because some sometimes it's such a strange situation that comes in and you're like, what's happening? Why is this happening to me? And of course, if you want to, you know, grow faster and mature as an individual and a team, you also need to look for that constructive feedback. You know, you look for constructive feedback as well as you provide a very constructive feedback this way as a team, you also mature as a team quickly.


Anthony, uh would you like to add something to that?

Yeah. Um I, I mean, I think, yeah, we touched on all, all like great points and everything that I probably would have said. Um but yeah, I mean, to be honest with you, it takes time. Like I'm, I'm still out of my team. I'm probably one of the youngest ones, but I think like, look like getting their opinion and getting their critical feedback from them is just very helpful and then it shapes you to be like, um you know, where you wanna be later down the line. Um So a a at least for me, I think the, the biggest thing that's impacted me um working at cast, the I has been just the feedback um and kind of having that one on one as well, um where you want to develop something you want to grow more than where you're at right now. And we have that support from our team, from our managers, from our executives and I think that's great.

Yeah, so it also comes back to feedback and I think it's uh really brave to be open to receive, but also to give a feedback. Uh it quite often means growth. But, uh, is it worth, uh, you know, to stretch yourself to leave your comfort zone and face the learning zone?

That, that's a, I think that's a very good way to leave this into it because, um, I was just remembering like the time where, like, you know, uh my manager put me in a position where it's like, hey, you know, you're gonna do this and I'm like, what, like, what, like something totally, completely out of my comfort zone and especially this right now, what we're doing, like speaking in front of an audience, you know, it's something very new, something very rewarding as well though.

Um But having that said, um getting out of your comfort zone and then getting the feedback after that, it, it kind of motivates yourself, you know, um and it builds that confidence to understand that you have all the necessary tools, capabilities of actually doing it. And when you have the team and, you know, upper management to support that and tell you, you know, you can do it like you ha you have everything capable of doing it, it just gives you more confidence. Um, and it breaks down those barriers that I mentioned before. So I, I think, you know, um having that feedback and getting out of your comfort zone is OK? And, and no one should be um afraid, I guess to do it. But, yeah. Hm. Well, it's

natural to be afraid of it.

That's very true.

Yeah. But I would agree, like, uh, how to say for that growing part, you know, like if you want to learn more and get out of your comfort zone, it really depends on a lot of things, you know, it depends on your overall personal goals in life if we're talking about career group. Yeah, sometimes and, and of course, it really depends on situation at the time. So for example, if you're, you can imagine if you're like having some health issues or some situation in family and stuff like that, it's a really good place where you have to push yourself too far because you will be burned out quite soon and and then it it will take a long time to get back on track.

So but talking when the of course, in this scenario where like, ok, you have perfect work life balance, everything is nice and you really want to progress then yeah, you should definitely push yourself a bit, you know, get out of your curve. So what worked for me best? And I mentioned it previously was finding a mentor and mentoring yourself. Of course, if you, you have, you know, some experience under your belt. So why is that actually useful? You know, if you have your mentor, you always have some some person next to you that believes in you and your potential, you know, and you have this like it's actually like a psychologist, you know, you can come up with some situation that you're facing some problems and the person can share his experience and, and, and also how to say, give you advices and, and so on and so forth.

So it's really hard to say valuable and it's helps you to grow faster and as well as you're mentoring yourself, that's, of course, more of like if you're going for leading roles is basically understanding. OK, so what motivates people, how to get their best skills out, how to help them feed beat their imposter syndrome, you know, and it was hiding under that there, you know. So it's really, really interesting in both ways. Yeah.

Well, yeah, thank you. Thank you for that. And um I was just thinking because to summarize all that, maybe here in our outings, there is a person looking for a job in the tech industry and what would be your advice on what to look at when scanning the company profile and the job description to find a good one because I understand from this discussion that it is not about the percentages to check how many men and women uh in the company, but what would you advise to focus on?

Yeah. So first of all, of course, understanding what you're looking for, you know, this each company is working on some products or service. So first of all, checking if that's interesting for you because you won't learn much about the company from their landing page unless you're working, like, as a de detective and trying to find people who works there and get some information from inside. But is it worth your time?

First of all, understanding, you know, what you wanna do and then when you get to the interview part there, that's, that's where you try to find out. It's the right place for you to work from the cultural perspective from the, I don't know, processes and everything that's in there. What do you think, Anthony?

Yeah, I think um for me personally, like I look for like, where do I wanna be in the future? Right? Where do I wanna be in the next five years of my career? And I think you nailed it right there like perfectly on what the product or what service or what the company is about from uh uh technology perspective first, right? And then see as well, like does this, it, is this gonna make me happy in the next five years, right? And having that growth, right? Having that back plan of like I want to be here in the next five years. Is this career? Is this company going that route or um is it gonna get me where I want to be? Um I think that's, that's one thing you wanna think about. Um And like I said, I enjoy coming to work like I'm super happy. Um And it's, it's just motivating to me to like be like, OK, I have team I have, I guess you can say a family that is backing me up to get me to where I wanna be in the next couple of years. Um So always, always take care of yourself and look at things that are gonna suit you and where you want to be in the next couple of years I think is, is very important as well.

But I have a question here. You see, how can you figure out those things, that company will be able to give you that what you're looking for? That's where the fun, that's where the fun starts during the interviews. When you, of course, it's really, it's really nice when you know what you, when, when you know what you want, many people don't know that they just trial and error. They try and see if that works. But if you know, like that, that's really nice. And then you just need to figure out how to get those answers from the company that you're interviewing for that. I will ask

you, I'll ask you about the red flags and green flags in a second. Just one technical situation. I'm getting information that our chat is, uh, blocked. Is that, uh, possible. Uh, I think Karina, could you check on that and help us with this? I don't know if, uh, sorry. Um, we are struggling with the chart that, uh, there is no possibility to moderate this and to access that uh is there uh some permission blocked?

Uh the child should be enabled? Yes. If uh you have somebody can please write it because I can wait. Let me check.

Ok. But uh is it possible to, to also moderate uh to answer for uh from that link that you sent to us? We are struggling a bit with that.

Ok. I see now that the Q and A is open and people are writing now in the Q and A tab

ah because chart is design. Ok. But Q and A is open. So please write on Q and A section. Uh Sorry for that interruption. Um technical uh situation. Of course, we will come back to questions answered in a second, just last question to our Panelist that I interrupted. Sorry for that. But could you share with us some red flags which should block a person or should at least make uh a bit to give a bit more thinking and green flags when preparing for the conversation uh for the recruitment conversation with the new company?

Mhm. Ok, because I see we have four minutes. I will just shortlist a few. Ok. So uh one of them being um like if company comes and just talks about benefits and not talking anything about the actual work that you will be doing. This is strange because you know, you have to ask questions, but if you don't get the answers, it seems something fishy, like too, too good to sound too or everything sounds perfect. You know, within the company we have every, don't have, we don't have any problems at all. So, yeah, this is, if they have all these answers here, it doesn't sound, it's too good to be true, then usually something is fishy there. And the other thing would be this, you know, for example, exploding offers, you know what it is like, Basically when company gives you an ultimatum, are you taking the offer on Monday if it's Friday today, like you know, Monday or this out? Because this can signal that the company will be same with, with the working culture like OK, you will do as I told you to and you have no way of saying they don't care what you want. And when talking about green flag is is basically if company is open about you, what challenges they have and what struggles there are. This is already really great.

Not really because you already see that people are transparent about what they're doing there and also take talking already about what you will actually do when you join the company straight away. This is also very nice and very good. Um What else? And maybe just give a few tips that during the interviews don't be the only one that is asked of things you ask to ask. For example, my favorite question is, can you tell me the the last conflict that was in New York. You have you faith the people who you're interviewing. You. Can you tell me about your last conflict that you have within the company? How did you solve and just give those follow up questions? This helps you do the deep, how deep dive into the culture, anything to Anthony?

Uh I think those are all great points. I'm just looking at time. So I just want to be respectful Also. I think there's a question possibly in the Q and A for us.

Yes. Yes. Exactly. Just one question. Uh For one minute uh uh How does a person mentor themselves? It's marily asking mentor themselves. Yes. You mentioned that

uh um themselves. Like I'm not sure if I'm understanding the question you meant usually you get the mentor for yourself, like somebody that's in the same profession and just with more experience or you mentor yourself somebody else, some more junior person and that you help them to grow if that answers your question.

Because otherwise how you mentor yourself, I don't know if you just know how to make your plan for your personal growth. That's nice, but not all people have a motivation for that and sometimes they struggle with it. So if you have the skills for that, that's amazing and you can push yourself forward. That's really amazing.

Yes. I think that was the question about at the same time having a mentor and being a mentor, we came back to that. So, uh I know that uh we need to end and the session will close pretty soon. So, um, thank you all for joining. Thank you, my Panelist. It was a pleasure to have you here and thank you and to all the audience, please feel free to contact us. Uh As a cast A I you will find our booth here and you're welcome there. We will be on the chat. Thank you so much for today. Thank you. Thank you. Bye.