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Celebrating the Women of Storyblok

Life at Storyblok
Christel ForeyAna Ilievska

The first International Women’s Day was observed in March of 1911, more than 100 years ago. Although we have come a long way since, the need to advocate for women’s social, economic, cultural, and political status is still very present. Therefore, March 8, International Women’s Day, continues to be one of the most important days of the year, a holiday used to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s rights, and lobby for accelerated gender parity.

Tech continues to be a male-dominated industry, but we are happy to inform you that the percentage of individuals identifying as women working at Storyblok is 40%, which is above the world’s female representation in tech of around 30%. In addition, we are constantly working on improving our processes to make sure the company is transparent and fair. We imagine and strive towards a gender-equal world, free of stereotypes, bias, and discrimination. Together, as an international team, we are creating an ecosystem where we encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In a mission to celebrate women and encourage them to pursue their goals, we highlight the amazing accomplishments and the activities of some of our own women at Storyblok: Rose Akoth (First Level Support Specialist), Alison Cohen (People Experience Manager), Maria Baumgartner (Demand Generation Manager), Sofija Korbelic (Marketing Designer), Mónica Fidalgo (Frontend Developer), Adelina Minivaleeva (PR and Communications Manager), Lydia Kothmeier (Vice President of Operations), Elena Granina (Partner Success Manager), Trey Briggs (Content Creator), Arisa Fukuzaki (Developer Relations Engineer), and Josefine Schaefer (Developer Relations Engineer).

Tell us about your career path and your achievements

When asked about their careers and success, Storyblok’s women confirmed that hard work pays off. Their secret to success is to set a goal and stay focused. It’s truly inspirational to see how quickly they have advanced in their careers and how dedicated they are to their success. We are lucky to have them on board.

Lydia: Everything started with my father. He always told me that I can reach anything I wanted, and he treated me and my brother equally. He taught me the same values as my brother. Furthermore, I had a great role model - my mother, who finished her studies with two young kids and became an entrepreneur afterward. Then, after my studies, I tried out different industries - banking, tax consulting, construction. I realized that I wanted to work in a more modern and innovative environment, which is why I decided to join the tech industry. I started as a consultant, helping start-ups build successful companies. I love building something from the ground up. Then I found a great opportunity to be a part of a tech company as a VP of Operations and help the CEO and CTO of Storyblok fulfill their great vision. Starting with a blank page, we were able to grow a team that has common values.

Mónica: I studied marine biology at the University of Lisbon and years later I decided to change fields. I looked for something that I liked and found a web design course at the Lisbon School of Design. I loved the final part of the course, in which we had to develop our website and since then I haven’t stopped. I always established goals for whatever I wanted to achieve with my career, not every day I feel motivated to, but as long as I focus on what I want, I'm able to stay keen. I self-studied a lot since I felt I was at a disadvantage compared to graduates in the field. I always felt like I had to go the extra mile. Right after I took the coding course, I invested in my LinkedIn, I started to create connections, I was not shy, I asked for advice from different people and, eventually, I got my first job in technology. You can also read more at my freecodecamp article.

Elena: I love tech and was fascinated by the freedom the Internet gave me when I first got access to it in 1999. I created my first website in the early 2000s partly using a page builder for the main page but partly by just creating HTML pages on my own. Still, I thought I was too unprepared to study STEM because I was not good at math. After I graduated in 2009 with a degree in Humanities, I decided I truly wanted to work in IT. I loved free-spirited IT offices. So, I found an entry position in the Adobe Moscow office in the partner team as a Channel Sales Coordinator in 2010, and in 1 year I was promoted and taken in as a full-time employee. I used to lead a small channel team at one of my previous jobs. I always found it bizarre that, every morning, some of my male colleagues shook hands with my male assistant as a greeting but never with me or the Partnership Director who was also a woman. Throughout my career, I was usually the only female person in a room during partner negotiations. This helped me insert myself in any kind of room regardless of what people might think.

Have you ever mentored or coached other women? If so, what advice have you given them?

This question revealed some impressive stories that showcase the commitment Storyblok’s women have outside of Storyblok. We admire that they offer genuine advice and support whenever they can.

Alison: I have mentored other women in my previous career. Encouraging them to speak up and share their thoughts and opinions is on the top of my list as well as helping them ask for what they need, to assert themselves.

Adelina: Yes, all the time! Because we are women, we tend to follow cultural beliefs and stereotypes of who women can and should be. We tend to doubt ourselves because that’s who we are and it’s normal. However, we shouldn’t forget that all these cultural norms, beliefs, stereotypes, and patterns can be broken! And that’s how I mentor women - you can be whoever you want to be! You are amazing! Accept yourself and who you’re, how you look, your body, your mind. We tend to create boundaries and doubt ourselves and our potential- but all we need is to give it a shot. I mean why not, we only live once and we shouldn’t waste our lives on stereotypes and myths.

Arisa: Yes - I taught in 3 online programming schools and there were many women. I didn't give any specific advice for women because I felt that seeing what role models are doing or achieving their goals gives them more inspiration for what they want to do. So, I tried to be their role model.

Sofija: Yes, as a lead designer I was responsible for junior designers. I told them to always challenge themselves and to not be afraid of mistakes because we always learn more from our mistakes. Also, a 'blank paper' filled with nothing is not something they should be afraid of. It's an opportunity to free their imagination. The sky is the limit - or maybe the universe!

Lydia: As a teacher or tutor I helped many women. My advice is: When you reflect on your achievements, start with the good things. Women often start with the things that went bad.

Are you involved in any organizations whose goal is to promote gender equality? If so, what kind of projects have you worked on in the past?

When asked about whether they were involved in any organizations that promoted gender equality, it’s no surprise that some of Storyblok’s women are involved in exactly those goals. Despite working in a software-dominated industry, it’s a fresh reminder that coming together and creating a safe community for gender equality and mentoring comes in many forms and mediums.

Maria: I have been involved in some projects promoting gender equality in the past, and more specifically, breaking the barrier between women and tech-related careers. My favorite one: We curated a welding workshop for women and people who identify as female or non-binary and it was a great success.

Rose: I participated in talks organized by Anita B.org Africa Cameroon Africa. I talked about challenges experienced by women while working in tech organizations and talked about how women can know their opinions also matter at the workplace and they should not be scared to speak for themselves during meetings and should never let anyone look down upon them.

Arisa: I organize my own Japanese tech community, Lilac (90+ community members), and we have some events to promote gender equality in the tech industry. We had panel discussions with community members and published recap blog posts. Gender equality is not the only goal in my community but this topic is one of the biggest topics I wanted to do events to share the awareness in the tech industry.

Josefine: I've recently become an ambassador for GirlCode, an initiative that aims to close the gender pay gap. Here, we exchange experiences and strategies, encourage and mentor each other.

What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of Storyblok?

We’re not just defined by our gender, but by who we are. The women of Storyblok are made up of a colorful web of backgrounds, unique interests, and experiences across the world. We are made up of travel and nature lovers (Lydia, Monica, and Maria), a marine biologist (Monica), experimental chefs, an Aikido (Japanese martial art) master (Arisa), yoga, tennis, hiking, and volleyball enthusiast (Lydia, Sofija, and Arisa), photographers behind the lens, rockstars and music connoisseurs (Sofija), acrobats in aerial silks and pole dancing (Josefine), history, language and sociology explorers, boardgame masters (Elena), writers and poets (Trey).

Maria: My biggest passion is my van! My partner Benni and I bought ourselves a van back in May 2021 which we're now converting into a home on wheels. And even though I've always been passionate about crafts and DIY, I'm learning lots of stuff in the process. So far we have installed a roof-top window, wooden floors, and ceilings and also insulated the van to protect us from crazy temperatures (hot and cold!). Thankfully for the remote set-up at Storyblok, we are now also making plans to work from the van during the summer months while we're traveling around Europe.

Mónica: Everything related to nature! I love to go for a hike, canoeing, stand-up paddling, scuba diving. I'm also a comic book lover. My home office is full of plants! I have been a volunteer for 10 years at a dog shelter. I love to go to the gym, go to great restaurants, and travel. Most of all, of course, being near the sea! I have a dream of one day working remotely from Thailand or Bali and helping an animal association while I'm there. Let's see!

Josefine: Outside of my day job, I am an aerial silk & pole dance instructor. I love to dance and do acrobatics and spend a lot of my free time upside down.

Trey: Paranormal horror and 3D art. Oddly enough, I spend a lot of time 3D modeling isometric rooms and tennis shoes. I also spend a lot of time and money creating story websites and short stories for social media.

As we continuously grow, new talents and individuals join Storyblok from their unique backgrounds, stories and journeys - we are multifaceted, and striving in each of our own ways within our teams of development, marketing, partner, sales, support and more to essentially contribute to what Storyblok is today. Being completely remote has allowed us to contribute back to our community, and take time to do what we love outside of work.

On behalf of Storyblok, we would like to wish you a wonderful Happy International Women’s Day!