My Journey in a Tech Company and How Women Can Thrive in Start-Ups
Today seems like a perfect day to reminisce and share with you my journey as a woman in a tech company. I hope you enjoy the read!
I joined ANKA in 2019. At the time, it was called Afrikrea, remember? Fast forward three years, the SaaS ecommerce startup has successfully raised money from top-tier investors and rebranded as ANKA. What did I learn during these 1,095 days and why do I believe start-ups can be an ideal workplace where women can #BreakTheBias?
Keep reading to find out! 🙂
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I remember being super excited to join the Tribe as we call it. I had always been interested in fashion and ANKA seemed like a match made in heaven. Little did I know, I was not entering the business of fashion but rather the world of e-commerce! ANKA is definitely a tech company — this I did not know in the beginning! I had to adapt to a new world, new tools of communications and a new way of doing things.
The good thing about joining a start-up is that one has no other choice but to thrive to survive!
That’s why, I believe start-ups are the best place for women who are looking to grow and further their career. As most women, I have the tendency to be hard on myself which can lead to self-doubt. Looking for perfection is exhausting! At ANKA, I learned to kill the thirst for perfection.
Failure can be a powerful blocker if one does not grasp that it is OK to fail! Once you do, it is easier to take risks, submit that idea or project you came up with and iterate until it is good to go! By killing the desire to always be perfect and fear of failing fast, you get an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong and learn from it. Experiencing failure will give you an edge for your next experiment because you will now have the ability to pivot more easily by identifying why failure happened in the first place and how you can fix it.
In the end, failing will boost your confidence and help you move forward faster and stronger!
The other aspect I value at ANKA is the “Human Touch” that we cultivate. In my opinion, this is a substantial asset both for us as employees but also for our customers. On the corporate side, that “Human Touch” can be sensed in the approach we have with each other. Each member of the Tribe has his/her very own User Manual. This rather unusual way of presenting yourself and how you want to be communicated with is an excellent tool to inform others about your boundaries and values and vice versa. It also simplifies interactions with colleagues you are not too familiar with because you actually get to know them through their Manuals. Priceless!
Human beings generally find more satisfaction at work when having an impact on people. The good thing about start-ups is that we are working together towards a common goal and share the same vision. The sense of urgency is present thus focus and straight-forwardness in daily tasks is guaranteed.
At ANKA, our mission is to “Bridge Africa and The World”. As an Ivorian woman, that speaks volume to me. Being a part of something that has never been done before i.e. export Africans’ know-how rather than sell things to Africans was extremely attractive to me. Being in alignment with your company’s mission and values is key to one’s personal and professional growth.
Contrary to popular belief, I do not think women do not strive for higher positions or roles in companies, I believe they need to find a company whose vision and values align with theirs so that they can give the best of them and thrive.
Once you find the right company, you will be able to give 100% of yourself, if not more because what you are doing has meaning. As a Content Manager and Curation Specialist, I have to go through thousands of products weekly on the marketplace to curate our social media content and hopefully detect our next big sellers. It can be time consuming but it is also very rewarding when you notice that a new seller has been selling items after a push on social media. Nothing beats the feeling I get when I receive a warm message from a customer thanking you for handling their request or assisting them in resolving an issue. Feeling useful and being acknowledged for doing a good job are the little things that maintain consistency and drive motivation.
Knowing that you are valued and appreciated for what you do is the best feeling in the world!
This will often lead to more confidence and a will to accomplish more which is a good thing because once you are confident enough, you will realize that the only thing stopping you from accomplishing that big dream of yours is your own self! Fortunately, it is possible to reverse the trend. How? By simply embracing change and taking opportunities as they present themselves. You will even get to a point where YOU will create your own opportunity at some point.
So ladies (and gentlemen), believe in yourself and take a chance on yourself because it is the best bet you will ever make!
PS: Will you be able to find me in the picture?
Hint: I smile! 😂
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