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My deep dive from programming to management — Katarzyna Tatomir-Rebeś

SoDA continues to interview interesting women who work in our member companies. We strongly believe that women play more and more significant roles in the widely understood industry. We strongly support this trend — diversification means the change of the optics — finally, women will not be treated as strangers in this business — now often perceived as man’s world. That is why we have launched „Women can do IT”, a project presenting female leaders, managers, experts, and specialists from the member companies of SoDA.

We’re talking with Katarzyna Taromir-Rebeś from Monterail, who, because of the COVID-19’s outbreak, had to close down the office a week after promotion.

What role do you play in your company?

I’m a Chief Operational Officer (COO).

What is your formal background and education? How did you end up in IT?

I studied computer science and have a pure development background. I was a software developer specialized in Ruby on Rails, who turned into a Project Manager. Then I was leading project managers. Next, I managed resources, matching software developers with projects. Further down the road, I was a Head of Operations. In March 2020 I got my dream promotion to a COO. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis, we had to close down our office and work entirely remotely. There’s even an in-house joke about it — my first serious act as a COO was to close down the company (laughs).

How does your typical month of work look like?

It’s definitely not boring (laughs). A large part of my work is reacting to current events. I support our Head of Technology, Head of Project Management, and People team with tasks involving projects and our talents. And there’s another part, involving strategy — I have to analyze our current position on a market and think about what we’re doing next. With 30+ projects and over 100 people on board, there’s always something to do.

What is your biggest success in the IT industry?

Definitely my promotion to the role of the COO. But even more important is our pandemic condition — we’ve managed to stay afloat and thrive. I think that’s something, given many companies went under because of the COVID-19’ aftermath. The ship is still around and intact.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

Talking about COVID-19 again is very tempting but I think the biggest professional challenge comes from daily responsibilities. As a COO I have to think on a different scale than before. It’s a constant pursuit of a balance between business goals and delivery for the clients and creating a friendly environment for our employees. Effective management is not about bringing fresh fruits to work, but rather making sure that Monterail is a safe and interesting place for everyone involved. I believe that when people are happy, clients are happy. It’s about personal growth — there’s a lot we can do to make people want to work with us. It goes beyond from junior to senior. If someone wants to take a management road, as I did, he needs to have that opportunity. Changing course in the middle of the road is possible — it’s there’s a will, there’s a way. A little bit of talent doesn’t hurt but my job is to make sure it’s possible. If someone makes a decision about a shift, then we usually divide the work — half time in software development, half-time in design or management, or whatever. This way people will have a choice and we have a different skill set on board.

What is your professional goal?

An interesting question, since I don’t have an answer (laughs). I would say the goal is to make myself fully comfortable in my current position. I already went deep but the situation under COVID-19 requires a focused approach. Once we’re over the hump, I can think about new challenges and directions. Sometimes I wonder if my shift towards management was right — I miss my development days. There’s also a lot going on — questions, challenges, multiple tasks, all of them at once… But then I think challenges drive me and I feel a lot better (laughs).

Thank you for this conversation.

Thank you very much.

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