To make medical research smarter and faster and build top-notch products to support decentralized clinical trials, we pay close attention to diversity & inclusion in Castor’s Product and Engineering teams. Therefore, we’re launching the Castor D&I interview series, where Castorian women in technology share their experiences and thoughts on making the workplace more inclusive.
What got you interested in product development?
It’s a combination of wanting to shape the products I see out in the world and applied interest in human behavior, the fast-paced environment, and the ever-evolving solutions and technologies.
My mom is a management professor; that’s why I learned from an early age what economics is, what management entails, and how beneficial it is to learn when & how to apply it. So, in the beginning, it was the business administration side that caught my eye, and only later my focus shifted to the business product.
I ‘experimented’ a bit while starting my career in marketing, import/export, and logistics, business administration, product management. The moment I got the opportunity to work on a healthcare tech product with a few engineers, it all became clear. I have finally found my ‘position’! Weeks later, I was doing a Business Analyst course, and just a few months later, I signed my first contract as a Product Owner.
What is it like to be a woman working in technology for you?
I can describe it as a journey with ups and downs. On the one hand, I keep on seeing how more women in tech get hired and how fast they get to make their mark, and it warms my heart! Unfortunately, this trend goes up to mid-level roles, and the workplace still has a lot of challenges with diversity in leadership roles.
On the other hand, I also had to face discrimination, and it often comes from the position of decision-making authority. It was surprising to see this behavior in the western european working environment, even more than in my home country – Romania, with its post-communistic past.
What challenges have you faced in the workplace as a woman working in tech?
During my career, the challenges I experienced are not new to the gender diversity problem: the wage gap, watching male colleagues being praised and promoted more often, getting over a burnout period that came from trying to prove myself hard.
Tell us about your current role at Castor and the most exciting part of your work.
I am a Product Owner working on our EDC system. It might sound too cliche-like, but there was not a single day that repeated itself in my first year at Castor. I really enjoy working together with my colleagues to reach the best possible outcome. Seeing it all come together in the shape of a better product that researchers and other professionals can leverage to benefit us all is rewarding enough to be engaged and enthusiastic!
At Castor, we aim towards having a more diverse workplace. What do you think companies can do to encourage more women to choose careers in tech?
Go back to school! We can look closer at the educational system and start reaching out to your women before they graduate high-school. It would facilitate more direct engagement, open Q&A sessions, and in the end, a more informed decision for these young women when choosing a university with a technical profile.
Are there any initiatives at Castor which make a positive impact on the workplace being more diverse and inclusive?
There are so many things happening at Castor daily that encourage and actively celebrate diversity! From the very beginning, you get the chance to introduce yourself, your culture, your belief system to everyone. There is no judgment, only interest, and curiosity from colleagues to learn more and better understand what makes you who you are today. Every single employee has a voice and the means to spread their message across.
Everything we have in place (policies, processes, initiatives) is aimed to prevent any kind of aggression and uphold the company’s values. The good vibes and healthy mindset is being spread easily and reach far, to the point where being inclusive is not a goal to achieve anymore, but the default and only way you can operate efficiently.
If you could look back five years and speak to your younger self, what advice about a career in technology would you give?
I’d have to go back a bit more than five years ago – back to my senior year in high school. I’d tell myself to think twice about the Bachelor’s program I should start.
To wrap things up, can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I like taking apart or building something up, but I quickly lose interest and patience if I have to do also the reverse. So I am that person who ends up with a bunch of ‘extra’ screws or parts that simply don’t ‘fit’ anywhere anymore.