Blog, Events & Press

6 Apr

If You’re Offered a Seat On A Rocket Ship, You Don’t Ask What Seat

Tanya Bakalov SevOne

In Delaware, women in tech are making their voices heard.

And they should, says SevOne co-founder Tanya Bakalov, because today’s young girls need to see female role models at an early age.

“For young girls, when there is a woman who comes in and changes their life, it changes their perspective early on,” said Bakalov, who recently participated in the Successful Women Technologists Panel event.

Girl Develop It – a nonprofit organization that provides affordable hands-on software and web development instruction – hosted the panel event at 1313 Innovation on March 31. Dozens of local technologists attended the event to connect with other females in the field.

Bakalov, along with Jessica Scarane of The Archer Group and Pauline Rubin of First Ascent Design, discussed a myriad of topics – from trending technologies and how to solve the issue of getting more women involved in the field, to having confidence and finding mentors.

Bakalov stressed the importance of seeking out others who help you grow both personally and professionally. Bakalov said she often seeks out other female CEOs and routinely meets with them over breakfast to swap stories – both the successes and failures.

“My husband (cofounder Vess Bakalov) and I talk about work 24/7. Sometimes it’s good to talk with someone who has a different perspective,” Bakalov said. “I make it a point to go out once a week with someone outside the company that I know. With coworkers, you can’t be as self-aware. You need people to help you grow, so make it a point to find those mentors and that network.”

Moderator and Technical.ly Delaware reporter Lindsay Podraza asked the three panelists to discuss what hurdles they’ve faced on their journey to becoming more empowered and confident.

“Every company will be a technology company in the future. You can’t be scared because you think you’re not going to understand the technology,” Bakalov said. “Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Arianna Huffington – they had confidence, and believed in themselves and their vision, and today they serve as an inspiration to me and other women in the industry, as an example of what is possible.”

Bakalov continued by telling a bit of Sandberg’s inspirational career journey in the hopes that it would resonate with other women, as well.

“Sheryl Sandberg was interviewing at Google and working at the Treasury Department at the time. She had 15 job offers and told Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time, that she didn’t know if she wanted to take the job. She said everyone else was paying more and she didn’t know exactly what the job was,” Bakalov told the crowd. “Then Schmidt said to her – ‘if you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.’”

Those are words Bakalov lives by. That’s why a photograph of her flying in a zero gravity simulated flight hangs just above a framed version of Sandberg’s memorable quote.

It’s Bakalov’s daily reminder at work to board the rocket ship and just go for it.

“Be inspired by someone everyday, take chances and you yourself can become a source of inspiration for others,” she said.

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