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 highly 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 member companies of SoDA.
We’re talking with Małgorzata Rusin from Divante — an interesting woman who’s main goal in her career is to do interesting and valuable things with the use of technology.
What role do you play in your company?
Until recently, I worked as Chief Sales Officer at Divante, where I was responsible for sales, marketing, and Product Design.
Currently, I work in the VOX Capital Group, and the name of my position is long, complicated and I made it up myself (laughs) — Product Discovery & Consumer Insight Manager.
I support the implementation of new products, both digital and physical, as well as looking for development directions and business use of existing solutions. I also conduct research processes, and then, together with designers, I put the results of these studies into practice.
What is your formal background and education? How did you end up in IT?
I have a master’s degree in sociology. After some time, I felt bored and tired so I did a postgraduate in project management. With IT in mind. It was 2012 and the industry exploded. Luckily, Divante was searching for a Product Manager for its UX department. It was interesting because UX is the least IT-driven in the entire IT (laughs). After some time, I was dealing with the entire UX department. My role in the company evolved; after another period of time, I was responsible for customer acquisition because Divante was looking for a board member’s replacement. Tomasz Karwatka, the CEO, wanted to drop this part of his responsibilities and as it turned out, I was pretty good at it. Eventually, he asked me to join the board.
And yet after 6 years in Divante, you have decided to make another change.
I have my own theory of the relay race, which is based on the belief that at some stage of the company’s development, certain people with a specific mindset of competencies are needed. If the current team doesn’t have these skills, it’s time to pass the baton to the next.
And you did so?
Yes. When I was joining Divante, they needed someone who would set the standards, organize the way of work, and adjust the tools, which would help to scale what was achieved before. Now the company enters the next stage of development and sets itself new ambitious goals.
I felt that my role wasn’t enough, so I talked to Tomek and we agreed together that we had to look for my successor.
Now I find it was a good time for both the company and me. I gave the baton to a person with appropriate experience and skills, and Tomek helped me find myself in a place where I can develop my other talents.
You changed not only your workplace but also your position. Is it even possible in times of a pandemic?
Of course! What I want to say is that you cannot be afraid of change. Even in the midst of a pandemic. If you feel that you want to go a different direction that will allow you to develop your skills or predispositions — try. Today, we tend to apply for the same positions at every new job. Unfortunately, some recruiters are also focused on verifying the previous experience in terms of the name of the position, and not the tasks performed there or the skills acquired. I recommend looking for new places, in line with my competencies and talents. And I know that there are employers who are more willing to hire people motivated to change and develop because they know that they will enter new modes sooner.
And you managed to enter the new organization efficiently?
Yes, although I have to admit that it is still a kind of a challenge for me. Both Divante, an IT service company, and the VOX Capital Group, a large production, and service company have completely different, specific organizational cultures. I had to enter a completely new rhythm of work and adapt to it.
What was your typical month at Divante like, and how now? Has anything changed?
What has not changed is that there is no such thing as a typical month! Previously, I mainly dealt with team management and strategic planning, now I have fewer tasks related to this kind of coordination. I became a member of the team, or rather several multidisciplinary teams because the thematic scope of my work has increased. Currently, I work on classic research projects, I am part of a working team dealing with the development of an innovative product, I also contact external partners.
What has not changed is the remote work model — both in Divante and VOX we work from home.
What is your greatest success in the IT industry?
Starting work in IT and overcoming the classic stereotype of a “non-technical” person. It turns out that you can be an IT human… while not being an IT human. This industry is changing dynamically, and many managers see how important soft skills are. After all, technology is for humans, not bots. Who is better at working with people, if not just a human?
Do you have any other career challenges?
To scale all achievements so far and translate them into current victories.
However, the biggest challenge is to recognize the new environment and adapt to it. There are new projects ahead of me, including one secret project (laughs) — I can only reveal that it will be something nice and valuable from the client’s point of view. This also fits in with my idea of a job in which I can learn about the needs of consumers and create tailor-made products that will respond to these needs.
What are your business goals?
I’ve never had a “five-year plan for life.” I still don’t, and that makes it much harder to answer this question. I think I’ve always wanted to do interesting things. Just this. Professional titles or the level I am at do not matter. All I want is to carry out interesting projects using super technologies that change people’s lives. Business goals are important, but it’s always great to be part of activities that have real value for others. In Divante, for example, we implemented a project for a pharmacy that needed an electronic prescription system. This is an example of how technology can help people and respond to their real needs. Currently, I also have the opportunity to work on the development of products that have a real and positive impact on various aspects of our lives, and that makes me the happiest.
Thank you for your time and an interesting conversation.