Mareva Koulamallah - Head of Marketing and Communications - MEA - Acronis - tech industry - Techxmedia

The tech industry is a constant adventure for Mareva from Acronis

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The next in our series of ‘9 questions with Women in Tech,’ our spotlight is on Mareva Koulamallah, Head of Marketing and Communications Middle East & Africa at Acronis

TECHx: What inspired you to pursue a career in technology?

Finding a purpose in life matters to me and I believe that being part of the technology industry feels like a constant adventure while having the opportunity to give back. Indeed, to know that some of the tools and processes being developed within organizations and implemented in the society will have a real impact on people’s daily lives is inspiring. I had no idea I would make a career in this industry, I just followed my heart and entered a space where I was given a real chance to show what I can do.

TECHx:  How have you dealt with challenges throughout your career?

Acceptance and resilience. It is key to understand at a young age that there will be a lot of things that cannot be changed right away but the sums of plenty of little decisions will eventually bring a better outcome. This brings me to the next point; resilience. At our darkest hours, when we feel like given up is actually when we need to find it in ourselves to keep going. It does not matter how and at what pace as long we do not stop. It can be a step back as some people like to say, which often turns out to be a learning curve for a bigger step forward later. What matters is how we react to the challenge on the long run. It is okay not to be okay at first, be overwhelmed by emotions and not know what to do. Self-awareness is actually helpful and admitting when we need help too. The game changer is about how to bounce back from there and move forward with confidence in our abilities.

TECHx: How do gender balance and a diverse workforce contribute to the success of an organization?

We all need each other; as humans and as colleagues. We are a beautiful canvas of different countries, cultures, perspectives, and more. Why would we want to erase this or not take it into consideration? Consumers and targets are various and different from one segment to another so people who think about what would be best for these same consumers should also be representing a certain diversity. It is a logical question of relevancy and efficiency but not only, as it is obviously also simply the right thing to do. It is proven that companies deliver more and the results are of higher quality in collaborative diverse work environments.

TECHx:  Do you have a female role model? If so, who is she and how has she inspired you?

Any woman who speaks her truth walks her truth and does not let stereotypes, discrimination or hardships stop her. Any woman who is told time after time that she is not good enough and still fights for her place. Any woman who makes it a mission to give back and bring real change within her organization and anywhere she can.

TECHx: What is it about your work that excites you?

People! Always has been about them and always will be. I come from a place of lack of confidence and a lot of barriers to get to where I am today. The path is still long but sometimes I do have to pause to realize how far I have come in my career from where I started when very few believed in me. This passion to continue to grow, and in my growth to bring people up with me around me, no matter how small the impact might be, is what drives me. Working on key projects in collaboration with brilliant consultants here in Dubai, I am very fortunate to be amazed every day by the power of people, and diversity.

TECHx: With technology moving so fast, how do you remain updated?

I am not sure I can honestly say that I am up to date with everything with so much going on but I try to stay informed on the biggest trends. I read blogs whenever I have time and I try to have regular conversations with experts from within the industry specialized in their segments; it can be hardware, gaming peripherals, machine learning or many more.

TECHx: What’s your favorite motivational quote?

If they do not give you a seat at the table, either bring a folding chair or create your own!

TECHx: Among all the gadgets you use, which is your favorite?

My wireless ear plugs because music is my oxygen and life is a dance!

TECHx: When it comes to progressing in a leadership role, what are the most important traits? Can you give one piece of advice to young females who are considering careers in tech?

Listening, empowering, and caring. Leaders need to be good listeners and understand that they are appointed to almost “serve” their teams and to better leverage each individual’s skillset. To me an inspiring leadership’s approach revolves around the will to help others progress and become the best version of themselves. Fulfilled and empowered employees will always do more than asked or expected while feeling comfortable in their roles. Micro managing is a slow death to any employee but especially the most creative ones. Establishing trust based relationships should be the norm, not an exception. Young or older women who want to start their career in tech or switch to this industry should not be scared as they might be surprised with how much they can bring to conversations, product development and real change. Every journey starts with a step and the easiest way is to have someone guide you at the beginning so trying to find mentors of influence should be a strategic focus. And finally, they should be themselves, wholeheartedly, no matter what anyone can say because what they see as a burden today might be what makes them special tomorrow.

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