SoDA believes women are underrepresented in the widely understood IT industry. Despite bringing unique skills to the table (like multitasking, laser focus, and empathy), women are also treated like something spotted in the wild — interesting but potentially dangerous. We want to change those optics. That’s why we start with “Women can do IT” — a series of interviews with female specialists. Interesting but harmless.
Let’s take off with Małgorzata Orzechowska from SoftwareMill.
What role do you play in your company?
I’m a Business Development Representative.
What is your formal background and education? How did you end up in IT?
My adventure started in high school with an IT profile. A long, long time ago, I could even write you some code. Then I decided it wasn’t necessarily my thing and went with English philology. I finished college and became an interpreter. To this day, I mix translations with the work in the IT industry. I had my language school, worked as a Sales Manager in a publishing house. Then I found my way to a company that developed an app for mobile ticket purchasing. This was a full circle for me — yet again I found myself doing what I really like and understand. Despite being a humanist, I love sinking my teeth into technical dilemmas.
How does your typical month of work look like?
At SoftwareMill, I’m responsible for inbound sales, which are all business inquiries that come to our mailbox. My job is to contact the company interested in our services and schedule a call. During a talk, we have to know what the company expects of us, what are its business needs, and what kind of product we would need to develop. The next stages are the offer and technical calls with developers, so they can dive into the project a little deeper. I’m directly responsible for the whole path — from top to bottom. Since SoftwareMill usually gets big projects, it’s really hard to say what my typical month looks like. The sales funnel is long, the decision-making process takes time, and it all blends in the end. All the projects, communications, paperwork, etc.
But what might be interesting as well is that I run English classes in the company. We always try to excel at everything we do, and since some of our developers are running a Polish project and don’t have that much contact with English, I have proposed these lessons. One hour twice a week is a healthy dose of a foreign language. Especially when it comes naturally. We just sit there and talk about everything, forcing the use of language less traditionally and more intuitively.
I also run spellchecks, as our developers like to write a lot about technical stuff and share the knowledge about projects and technologies used to make them.
What is your biggest success in the IT industry?
So far? I think the creation and running a project of a system destined for sport events tickets sale. In the previous company, we have achieved that with the Włókniarz Częstochowa — a famous speedway team. The initiative started with 5–10 tickets sold via the app, in a short time we achieved exponential growth from match to match. It wouldn’t be done without the teamwork — we all worked hard. To the point where our presence in a stadium didn’t surprise anybody.
At SoftwareMill the biggest success is still to come, project-wise. But what I have right now is respect. The team believes in me 100% and that’s priceless. Maybe because I have a military past and they are scared of me (laughs). I was a translator in the US army, so maybe that’s the case. I’m joking of course — even if I was too sold a project for a million bucks, the credit would go to everyone, not just me. The team is the most important thing in the world.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
I would love to sell the entire software development team and win a huge project. Then I could put a large team on that and have the satisfaction of giving our developers a bone to chew. Having a responsibility from top to bottom, creating it from scratch, watching it grow… That what drives me.
What is your professional goal?
I don’t want it to sound cheesy but I would like to be recognizable. To have my personal brand so strong that people would say: OK, that’s the girl from the SoftwareMill. They code in Scala and they do it right. I pursue the goal of having an equal sign between my personal brand and the quality of the product. If someone sees me or wants to talk to me, it’s inseparable from quality software and quality customer care. The relation between myself and the client is very important. Something might go wrong, none of us is immune to mistakes or random accidents. The important part is that we all have to look for another solution and deliver the product nonetheless. After 18 months at SoftwareMill, I believe we got it covered. Clients trust me and that’s everything at the end of the day.
Thank you for an interesting conversation.
Thank you very much!
About the author:
Jarosław Ściślak is an independent branding, marketing, company culture, business scaling, and content specialist. Working mostly but not exclusively with technology companies, he helps to drive revenue and build an image. More on https://www.scislak.com.