EPISODE 6: Diversity & Inclusion Q&A with Angela Timofte (Part 2)
PART 2: This week we follow up with Angela and discuss the importance of using inclusive language in job descriptions, having a diverse group of people involved in company interviews and breaking the stereotypes around Women in Tech. If you want to make a change, be committed, stay passionate and push for your ideas to be heard!
Check out our full video interview here: https://youtu.be/cRjZEfihwG8
Angela, welcome back! We loved hearing your story in Part 1, it was so inspiring. Today, I’d love to talk more about your ideas on diversity, inclusion and how that looks at Trustpilot.
I took the time to look on Trustpilot’s career page and was really impressed to see so many diverse photos on their page, this is so important! How does the gender balance look in your team?
“Our gender balance is 50/50, which I am very happy about. We are also diverse in nationality and culture.
I wouldn’t want to work in a company where there is only one type of person. Diversity is so important and is comes in many forms. Trustpilot as a whole is trying to push diversity. All of our employees’ value this and are also pushing for it, which I like a lot!”
Achieving diversity is a team effort and having a 50/50 split in gender is fantastic! I know many companies out there are struggling to come close to that. What do you think you’re doing differently at Trustpilot?
“We are very aware of the fact that there are not enough women in technology, so we are always looking at how we can attract more women.
We have an organisation inside the company called TWIL (Trustpilot Women in Leadership) which launched in our Copenhagen office this year. The whole idea is to try and help women internally to grow within the company through promoting and supporting each other.
We create monthly workshops/ events and although TWIL is run by women, we want to make it as inclusive as possible so always invite everyone in the business.
We previously hosted an event on ‘how to do public speaking’ which was great, we invited an external trainer to host this workshop.
The situation with COVID has meant putting a pause on these type of events but now we’re trying to re-think about how we can make it work and what kind of events can we host safely.
We also have a mentorship program in place. We set this up by asking our staff if they wanted a mentor or wanted to mentor someone. We had some great responses from people, we found a lot of people on both sides and then matched them together. Now we’re looking at building a small application where people can go and have their 1:1 chats and write notes and so on.”
What would be your advice to someone wanting to set up an internal diversity & inclusion initiative in their organisation?
“You need to start somewhere, right? If something is not in place already, start talking to your colleagues around you and see if you have their support.
Approach management with tangible examples of what other companies are doing and how they have managed to improve their diversity numbers.
I have previously heard “We don’t have that many women in technology because there are not that many applying.” I would say that this is just an excuse because there are so many things you can do to make a difference.
If you want to make a change, be committed, stay passionate and push for your ideas to be heard in your organisation. I’m sure you will find support from others and if you don’t, then maybe it’s time to change your organisation?”
That ties in nicely to the advice you shared in our previous discussion “Just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen?”
If you look back at your career have you encountered any gender-specific challenges or obstacles?
“I would like to say no, but I have definitely encountered some difficulties. For a long time, the part I struggled the most with was this constant feeling of disappointment and being annoyed because the standards always seemed to be different for men to get the promotion or new job.
I would hear “Oh, we see potential in this guy” and it’s like a leap of faith and we just know that he will do the job. But for women, it was more like “No, you have to prove yourself. You have to do the job for maybe two years before you get the title.”
I think things have changed in the industry a lot over the years, it’s looking much better for sure!”
How did you overcome that feeling?
“Something that everyone says about me is that I’m very ambitious. Of course, I’ve had bad days but I just push through it. From a young age, I knew that I wanted a career in tech, so I just went for it. As I said earlier, what’s the worst that can happen?
I’ve always had good, positive people around me who have tried to lift me up. I am grateful for their support. In your career, it’s important to have encouraging and positive people around you, so you do not feel alone and it’s not just you against the world.”
It’s so important to find an encouraging, supportive and positive environment! Do you still notice a lack of women in technology?
“For sure! I’m very lucky that my team that has a 50/50 gender split!
I’m looking at candidates who are applying for jobs and when it comes to development, I think the numbers are still very, very low.
I’m seeing an increase of women in Data Science, UX research and design, which is amazing. But still, there are very few numbers on the programming side. It has definitely gotten way, way better. At the beginning of my career, I was one of two women in an office of around 50 men.”
Did you find any challenges being in a male-dominated organisation?
“Through high school, college and even when entering the industry, it was always very male-dominated for me, so I think over time I got used to it.
Of course, I did face some challenges because I was different. I think it was a challenge for the guys at first because they didn’t know how to behave around me. A few times I heard the comment “Oh, we have a girl around us, so we need to be nicer.”
I had an interesting experience where I was having dinner with the company which was pretty much all guys. Some of the Directors were there (they all looked pretty similar) and they had a joke that “If you want to be a Director, you need to grow a beard.”
They made this joke to me at dinner. I found it so wrong and an uncomfortable, unfunny experience. I guess it wasn’t necessarily their fault either as they were so used to being in such a male-dominated environment.
I’m happy that now more people are speaking up about diversity and everyone is trying to pay attention. Even if you do not intentionally want to be mean to hurt someone’s feelings, you will with these kinds of jokes and remarks for sure.”
Awareness and education now more than ever is so important! Why do you think there is still a lack of women in technology?
“I guess it starts with the stereotype of how someone in this industry looks like which doesn’t necessarily attract young girls.
It starts very early on with the stereotypes of ‘oh it’s only boys who go and build things, girls will only get a Barbie doll to play with’ because that’s typically what girls should like.
I like that now you see more diverse people speaking up and having amazing careers so people that are different can also see themselves being in this industry.”
In your personal opinion, collectively, what more can we do to attract women in tech?
“We can do a lot of things! I think what you are doing with this initiative is amazing as it helps people speak up and share their stories. As a woman in tech, if you have a great career, speak about it so others can be inspired. Talk about your struggles as well and how you have overcome them.
If you have women joining your company, try to support them, especially if they are young. Try to be there for them and not let them go through the same things you have had to go through.
Companies should try to make sure that inclusive language is used in their job advertisements, articles, website etc so it speaks to everyone, not just to one type of person.
When it comes to company interviews, I think it helps when you have another woman in the room and involved. In general, it’s important to have a diverse group of people that are involved in interviews so you can make sure unconscious bias is removed from the interview process. As a company if you have a diverse group, promote this!”
Thanks for sharing some great ideas. What would be your advice to women trying to get into the technology space at the moment?
“Be confident and do not let other people tell you that this industry is not for women. Just go for it and join communities that try to help women in tech, there are so many out there!
Reach out to women in technology as I know they will be happy to help out and guide you through your new adventure.”
You previously mentioned Women in Tech, Copenhagen. Are there any other organisations or communities that you can recommend for women in tech?
“We have another organisation in Denmark,, which is amazing called DigiPippi. They promote technology and make it fun and accessible to young girls from 7–13. If you are already in technology you can volunteer with the organisation to help, support and inspire.
I’m also aware of an initiative in Lithuania called Women Go Tech. Some of the women in Trustpilot’s Lithuania office are part of the organisation and I know they are creating some great events.”
Thank you so much for your time Angela! Is there anything else you’d like to say to Women in Tech?
“When you have a diverse group of people, the environment becomes better and the products you build become much better!
Thank you for this chat Ellie, its has been great, it’s always awesome to talk about diversity and in general just push for diversity.”
This concludes, Episode 6 of our Diversity & Inclusion: Q&A. Thank you again to Angela for sharing your experience as a Woman in Tech along with some fantastic ideas for internal diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Tune in next month where we continue our insightful discussions. Let’s all work together to create some magic ✨
Who’s story would you like to hear from next? What questions do you have for women in the technology industry? If you would like to get involved in this initiative, we would love to hear from you! Please contact me on email@example.com
By Ellie King - Principal Talent Partner - Data / AI Nordics