In recent years, the tech industry has experienced a notable shift towards diversity and inclusivity, witnessing an influx of women who have fearlessly embraced careers in this dynamic field. Despite this progress, the path for women in tech is not without its hurdles. From enduring gender bias and discrimination to confronting a scarcity of female representation in leadership roles, women continue to overcome extraordinary challenges every day.
Through captivating interviews with the exceptional women who are part of the Prepr team, we aim to gain profound insights into their experiences, perspectives, and strategies for success. By sharing their stories, we aspire to illuminate the reality of being a woman in tech, applaud their accomplishments, and kindle the flames of inspiration within the next generation of women in tech. Join us as we celebrate their remarkable achievements, shed light on the unique challenges they face, and ignite the spirit of future female leaders in tech.
Mandy Lingham, a Technical Writer at Prepr, has an intriguing journey that led her to her current role. Originally from South Africa, she recently obtained Dutch citizenship. Her career in the tech industry began in January 2000 as a junior developer, and over the next 16 years, she steadily progressed, eventually working as a Software consultant at a large corporation. In 2016, Mandy decided to take a six-year break from the industry to pursue adventurous activities, including living and working in Japan as an English teacher. It was during the COVID-19 pandemic that she returned to the Netherlands and continued teaching English online before joining Prepr.
Initially, Mandy thought her role as a Technical Writer would revolve around gathering information from her expert colleagues and creating comprehensive documentation. However, she soon discovered that her responsibilities extended beyond that. Alongside documentation, she actively contributes to enhancing Prepr's offerings by researching new and innovative technologies, testing features, and asking pertinent questions.
Since childhood, she has been passionate about working with computers, sparked by her uncle, an engineer in Namibia, who introduced her to games and programming code. Despite accidentally breaking one of his games by tinkering around too much, her passion for Math and Science in high school led her to receive sponsorship to study computer science at a local university, subsequently landing a job at the same company upon graduation.
The realization of gender disparities in the tech industry only struck her when she moved to the Netherlands in 2006. In South Africa, where she had previously worked alongside women from Asian countries like the Philippines, where the tech culture was more inclusive, it was commonplace to find women in tech roles. However, upon entering the Dutch tech industry, she noticed a significant gender imbalance. This realization motivated her to feel a greater need to prove herself as an IT professional and ensure her ideas were valued. At Prepr, Mandy finds her work positively challenging, as there is always something new to learn, and she appreciates the support and kindness of her colleagues.
When speaking to young women, Mandy recommends identifying an area of interest that can be developed into a passion. This passion will serve as the driving force for continuously striving to become a better version of oneself. The tech industry offers a broad range of disciplines and technologies, so she encourages exploration. She also notes that there is no need to commit to one career path for life, as the tech industry is highly flexible, allowing for flexibility in career choices.
Mandy was asked about her opinion on the biggest misconception about women in tech, and how she tries to combat that stereotype. She replied by saying that it is a difficult question for her to answer since she personally hasn't faced many challenges in her work due to her gender. The most significant challenge she has faced is when someone has questioned her opportunities and attributed them to her gender. To combat such stereotypes, Mandy believes in delivering exceptional results that speak for themselves, proving that her achievements are based on her abilities and skills, rather than her gender.
According to Mandy, exposing young girls to Science and Technology from an early age could encourage more of them to pursue a career in the tech industry. She believes that sparking an initial interest in these fields could be the first step towards entering the tech world, just as it was for her. Mandy emphasizes that having a genuine passion for what you do is the biggest motivator.
Robey Ruissaard is the Marketing Manager at Prepr. Her primary objective at Prepr is centered around expanding their reach and making their platform accessible to more businesses. With a strong belief in delivering user-friendly and customized experiences, Robey strives to help businesses connect with their audiences and cultivate loyal customer relationships. To achieve these goals, she collaborates closely with the sales team, identifying potential clients and developing targeted campaigns. Additionally, Robey works alongside the product development team to ensure continuous improvement and integration of the latest technologies and trends. Robey is enthusiastic about her work and is determined to make Prepr a successful company within the tech industry.
After completing her studies in Communication Science in 2017, she began working as a digital marketer at a start-up SaaS company that specializes in project planning for the construction sector. Since then, she has remained in the tech industry for six years now and still loves it! This experience ignited her passion for tech, particularly the significance of the Build-Measure-Learn cycle, which holds a crucial role in the tech landscape.. When combined with customer research, it can quickly demonstrate the success of a SaaS company. She believes in the potential of tech to cater to customers' needs and preferences, pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
We asked Robey what some of the biggest challenges she has faced as a woman in tech are, and how she has overcome them. She shared that when she started working at a tech company in the construction industry, she had to deal with a predominantly male work environment. This made it essential for her to speak up in meetings and assert her opinions and ideas, so she would not be overruled by her male colleagues. Having grown up with two brothers, she was able to navigate similar situations, and that experience helped her stand her ground as a woman in tech.
Having worked at Prepr for over six months now, she enjoys the collaborative nature of the company, with employees from different teams working together. She finds inspiration in the loyalty and engagement of those who have been with Prepr for more than seven years and she works hard in her respective department to contribute to the company's success.
When giving advice to young women considering a career in tech, Robey said it's important to emphasize that the number of men on a company's "About Us" page should not discourage anyone. Research has demonstrated that women have the potential to significantly impact a tech company's growth and culture. Therefore, young women should remember that they are needed in the tech industry and should pursue their interests with confidence!
What does she think is the biggest misconception about women in tech, and how does she try to combat that stereotype? According to her, the biggest misconception is that women are not interested in technology, which is untrue. She cites an article that states that the number of women applying to IT jobs has increased by 82% over the last 10 years, showing that women are increasingly interested in tech.
She believes it is important for tech companies like Prepr to share their stories about their culture and employees, and to highlight the women within the industry. By celebrating the progress being made and continuing to support and empower women in technology, the industry can work towards breaking down these misconceptions. She believes that the tech industry can become more inclusive and diverse by implementing great initiatives that provide women in tech with extra attention, such as the "Top 10 Influential Women in Tech." Additionally, it's essential to highlight the collaboration between women and men in tech companies to foster an inclusive environment. She emphasizes that both women and men are important for the growth of the industry and suggests continuing these initiatives to celebrate diversity in tech.
Halyna Kopach is a technical writer who documents the features of products and creates user guides and UX texts to assist users in using Prepr. Her role involves simplifying complex technical information and presenting it in a manner that is easily understood by the target audience. Halyna has been working in the tech industry for over 6 years.
Halyna was inspired to pursue a career in tech due to her curiosity, despite having a humanities background. She started by taking a basic web development course and then landed her first job in the field. For Halyna, technical writing is a profession where her love for language meets a passion for discovery and a desire to make things organized and structured. When asked about her favorite project, she responded that she enjoys every project she works on because each one teaches her new things and helps her grow professionally.
She believes that technical writing is fortunately one of the professions that is not gender stereotyped. In fact, technical writing can be an excellent career path for anyone interested in writing and willing to learn new things. She personally has not experienced any difficulties being a female technical writer in the tech industry. Halyna is pleased to be part of a team at Prepr that embodies openness, dynamism, respect, and professionalism.
She thinks that it is unfair to hold prejudices about women's abilities in the workplace, particularly in the tech industry. Sadly, there are still workplaces where women are labeled as having "worse technical skills," being "less productive," or "not serious." Even when women have equivalent education and experience to their male counterparts, their work is often underestimated. To challenge this stereotype, Halyna suggests taking several steps. Firstly, she advises seeking out a "healthy" work environment where progressive and conscious teams value women's work and treat them fairly. Secondly, she encourages active participation in teamwork and sharing progress and results with colleagues to highlight their contributions. Lastly, she emphasizes the importance of staying true to oneself and finding enjoyment in the work. By following these steps , women can overcome stereotypes and thrive in the tech industry.
Halyna believes that fostering inclusivity and diversity in the tech industry requires creating an environment that values differences and promotes equality. She suggests that governments should ensure equal access to education for all, leveling the playing field and providing opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, employers should aim to provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified candidates, regardless of their background or identity. This can be achieved through initiatives such as blind hiring and diversity training programs. Ultimately, the key to achieving a more inclusive and diverse tech industry is a collective effort from both individuals and organizations to recognize and address systemic biases and work towards creating a more equitable future for all.