Tribute to Female Leaders in Technology in Bulgaria' 2023 🌺
15 x 256 characters of wisdom by women in tech for women in tech
On the International Women’s Day 2023 we are celebrating the female leaders in technology in Bulgaria. The women who are constantly fighting to tear down gender boundaries, create equality and make the world a better place. Every day we are hearing about more and more women establishing their own successful businesses or being in the driver seat of the board of directors of some of the world’s biggest companies. The world of technology is not an exception - women in technology have proved that this area is not only reserved for males, by demonstrating unparalleled talent, exceptional leadership skills and innovative spirit.
As a gender equality enabler, our mission is to drive more awareness to the value women bring to businesses - balanced workplaces have better safety and office culture, increasing employees job satisfaction and the average retention rate. Women facilitate innovation in businesses by providing new insights and problem-solving solutions to an industry which was primarily male-dominated. By including more women in leadership tech roles, companies see growth as qualified female talent seeks out role models they aspire to be like.
In order to honor all the women around the world and recognize their efforts we gathered fifteen inspirational boss ladies, womanizing the tech and engineering teams, to answer the question “If you could travel back in time, what would you say to your younger self?”.
We truly believe that those examples would help females around the world elevate themselves and stand for gender equality in and out of the workplace.
Mariya Zasheva, CEO at ZigiWave
Hello. My name is Maria Zasheva. I currently hold the position of Chief Executive Officer at ZigiWave – an innovator in integrations. My background is Marketing and Business Development, gained in technology companies. Together with the team, we managed to successfully build the foundations of an effective marketing and sales machine, which drove brand awareness and resulted in enhanced organic growth of the company. My main activities are tightly connected to making sure the business aligns with technology to achieve the balance needed for a product company which satisfies customer needs. ZigiWave’s biggest asset is the people, I am extremely grateful and honored to work among the most dedicated professionals, who care about the product and care to make an impact. I hope that every company understands the importance of having people, who care. Because these would be the ones who can change the world with you.
" With time, I learnt a lot and I would like to share a lot with my younger self and with the fellow females in tech, but The first thing would be – good things take time. I always wanted things to happen fast and for me to grow even faster. The trick I didn’t know about that time was that the faster you grow, the more you need to give up. And I don’t mean that in a bad sense. There are people who care too much about what they do and some who just go to work to get paid. I am proud to represent the first group."
Desislava Zaharieva, Senior Vice President of Technology at Prime HoldingJSC
My name is Desislava Zaharieva and i am currently trying to make a difference as a Senior Vice President of Technology at Prime Holding JSC, an IT Consulting and Professional Services Company. I am responsible for creating and overseeing all engineering strategies in the company while ensuring the smooth running of the day-to-day and long-term operations of the engineering department. My responsibilities include working closely with Prime Holding’s leadership team to ensure efficiency in the company’s operations and that we meet our business goals and objectives. I am really passionate about both technology excellence and people development.
“If I should provide advice for younger women in technology, I would mention several key aspects. First of all, they should never doubt their skills and expertise. If a career in technology is something they would like to pursue, they should be determined and have a natural curiosity and willingness to learn. Technology is a rapidly evolving field, and that is why it is crucial to keep up-to-date with the latest trends. Success in technology often requires perseverance and hard work. They should not be discouraged by setbacks or failures but instead use them as opportunities to learn and grow. I would strongly advise any woman in technology to make sure she has a great mentor who can serve as a role model and provide guidance.”
Zornitsa Nikolova, Co-founder at ViziWealth
My name is Zornitsa Nikolova and I’m a co-founder at ViziWealth - an app built with a vision to help people improve their financial health. I’ve started my career in a corporate environment, going from a regular team member to a product and people manager. Later, I left the corporate world to become an Agile coach, and an entrepreneur. I am passionate about using technology to improve peoples' lives.
To all young women in tech, my advise is:
“Dear young lady, now is your time to experiment. Be brave and go big with your dreams. You will never be 100% prepared for all the challenges you will face. Trust yourself more, find mentors, and don't compromise with your dreams. Enjoy the journey!”
Connect with Zori at
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/zornitsa--nikolova/
Temenuzhka Zlateva, Senior Engineering Manager at Paysafe
My name is Temenuzhka Zlateva, Senior Engineering Manager at Paysafe. I’m leading engineering teams that develop payment products for end customers and business partners. I'm a strong believe that to build a great product you need a great team! Fully dedicated on help people grow, be highly effective in a team and support them in delivering with technical excellence!
“Going almost 15 years back, in the beginning of my career, I would say to my younger self “Stop waiting for feedback, start asking for it”. If you want to get better at your work, seeking feedback regularly and reflecting on it is essential. Finding the right people is the first thing to do. Be specific with your request and honestly share why it’s important for you. You’re more likely to receive honest and helpful information. Never forget to acknowledge the time and the effort people have dedicated to help you improve. Building trust with the feedback givers strengthens the relationships between you and sets the ground for better future collaboration.”
Stefka Stoyanova, VP of Engineering at Jiminny
My name is Stefka Stoyanova I'm currently a VP of Engineering at Jiminny. I have a Bachelor degree in Computer Science and 20+ years experience in the IT industry, at different roles like Java Developer, Team Lead, Project Manager, Software Engineering Manager, Head of Engineering and VP of Engineering. My interests are in building and leading high-performing Engineering organizations to help them scale.
“My two cents of wisdom learnt with time is to focus on preparation and invest in becoming really good at what you do. Many engineers nowadays get roles without being prepared for them. If you seek sustainable career success, invest a few years working with experienced professionals, no matter your role, level and salary. Thus you'll learn from good and bad and develop needed skills for moving forward. “
Jeni Markishka, Senior Engineering Manager at Design Technologies
Hello, I’m Jeni Markishka and I have 20+ years of experience working in technology . Started as a software engineer many years ago and in the last decade I started to gradually move towards a people management role. In the last six years I have been mainly supporting and establishing professionals in the field of software development. I believe that managing people requires genuine care and living your values daily.
My advice to my younger self is that working on your character and integrity from a young age will only benefit you later on. Life comes with its challenges and your emotional maturity will have a say in everything you either achieve or miss out on.
Be patient and find people to support you. Growth takes time.
Connect with Jeni via LinkedIn.
Tanya Kavrakova, Engineering Manager at Sketch
“To my younger self, I would say: Never stop learning. Always try to understand why something is working the way it is. Never be satisfied with a shallow understanding of the problem. Read books. Learn from your own experience and from the experience of other people. And also be patient. The right things will happen when the right time comes. Focus on what you can control, focus on personal growth, and become a better version of yourself.”
Aneliya Vlaykova, Engineering Manager at SumUp
My name is Aneliya Vlaykova and I am a software engineer that switched to the management track around 9 years ago. I have spent my whole career in FinTech companies. For the last 3.5 years I have been part of SumUp's Risk & Compliance tribe and I am super happy to contribute to our mission to enable small merchants around the world to do what they love. I am a mother of two beautiful children. I love traveling, gardening and reading books. Talks about #fintechjobs #coachingmindset #agileorganization #engineeringmanager and #leadershipdevelopement
“What I wish I did when I was younger is to focus on the important things and prioritize to the extreme. Learn to say “No” when needed and recognize situations where you are not the right person to make a decision.Care for the people on the team and the business of the company.”
Irina Yaroslavova Stefanova, Engineering Manager Clojure at Kleene
My 2 cents of wisdom to other women in tech who are committed to success is:
"Explore and research, form a goal, get disciplined and commit to it. Sticking to a mediocre decision is far better compared to looking for the ever-eluding perfect solution - and never doing anything. And most importantly - find something you enjoy doing!”
Miglena Grozdeva, Senior Program Manager at Teva Pharmaceuticals
Hi my name is Miglena Grozdeva. Wondering what field to choose after university? Or perhaps you are a woman determined to pursue a career in technology but facing doubt and lack of support? I can relate. Having studied maths and C++, I decided to pursue a career in IT. My first job was in technical support. Afterwards, I proceeded with quality assurance which naturally evolved into a management role. Passionate about learning new concepts and technology, development and continuous improvement.
Self-driven, goal-oriented, aiming for highest customer satisfaction and operational excellence.
“I would tell my younger self that discipline takes further than motivation. Set goals, organize your time, study, put yourself out for opportunities, take the longer paths, take decisions, be grounded. Youth is not a reason to doubt yourself, focus, and continue against all odds.”
Marina Shideroff, Founder and CEO at Fram Creative Solutions
Marina Shideroff is a true visionary and trailblazer in the IT industry, with more than 15 years of experience in the digital realm. She has successfully built a thriving business in a highly competitive sector without relying on external funding. As the founder of Fram Creative Solutions, a UX/UI company established in 2017, Marina has been at the forefront of numerous groundbreaking digital projects, delivering seamless and intuitive user experiences, user interfaces, customer experiences, and branding solutions. Her designs always prioritize the user, and her international experience is shared with her entire team, resulting in outstanding partnerships with over 350 companies across 21 markets worldwide. Fram Creative Solutions' impressive portfolio includes responsive websites, innovative applications, and iconic branding for SMEs, Corporates, and startups in Europe, Asia, and North America. Marina and her team have received numerous accolades, including being recognized as the top UI/UX company in Eastern Europe for three consecutive years.
"A positive mindset can take you far in life, especially in the face of adversity. Believe in yourself, focus on solutions rather than problems, and don't be afraid to seek help when you need it. With the right attitude and a willingness to learn and grow, you can achieve anything you set your mind to." Marina Shideroff
Yoana Boyanova, Manager R&D at VMware Bulgaria
I’m Yoana Boyanova – Manager R&D at VMware Bulgaria. I’m leading a small team of five people and I’m responsible for delivering a quality product with great UI and UX! I’m passionate about motivating young women who are starting their careers and sharing my experience with the IT community. In my free time, I love traveling, snowboarding, and trying different sports.
I am passionate about leadership, communication, and presentation skills and I love trying new things. I have participated in several conferences as a speaker and I'm seeking more opportunities like this!
I strongly believe that IT professionals should support each other so I am part of the Women Who Code Sofia's team. We are supporting women in technology by creating different events and creating an environment for sharing experiences and ideas.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to “Be brave, be thankful for what you have now and dream bigger than you can imagine because everything is possible! Do what you are passionate about, don’t chase money and fame and you will be happier than ever!”
Sonya Vrabcheva (Sevova), Director of Product Management at Quantive (formerly Gtmhub)
Hi, I'm Sonya Vrabcheva, Director of Product at Quantive (formerly Gtmhub), where I've been for the past two years. With over 10 years of experience in the tech industry, I'm passionate about building innovative products that solve customer problems and redefine user experiences. Outside work, I love spending time with my family, exploring new places, and embracing new experiences.
A message to my younger self: " Stay ambitious and focused but don't take things too seriously. Self and career development is a never-ending journey. Don't fear failure or leaving your comfort zone; these moments will make a difference and make you better than the person you were yesterday."
Mariya Rashkovska, Head of Product Management & Co-founder at ProductTank Sofia
Meet Mariya Rashkovska. Her passion for technology and interest in solving business problems led her to a career in product management. She has an extensive track record in successfully managing various products and teams for companies like Telerik, Progress, and the Financial Times. Most recently she worked as the Head of Product in adtech. She is teaching lean product management to startups and companies that need to find product-market fit. Co-founder of the Bulgarian chapter of ProductTank.
If you could travel back in time, what would you say to your younger self?
" The most important thing is the people you surround yourself with - this includes carefully selecting your university, your workplace and your friends. Two things are important - make sure you are not the smartest person in the room and that you share the same values with the people around you."
Mariana Ivanovska-Hristova, AI Program and Technical Delivery Manager at Luxoft
Hello. My name is Mariana Ivanovska - Hristova. I am working as a Program Manager in Luxoft Bulgaria for one of the biggest Luxoft Investments clients. My area of responsibilities are projects related to AI using ASR technology or Cloud migration projects. I am happy to work with international teams and deliver solutions which helps the business to grow up and be a strong competitor in the market.
“ I often travel back in time and repeat myself who I am and what I want to achieve in this life. This helps me to stay positive and accept all opportunities I have with no impact on my identity. If I could meet myself like 15 years ago, I would say: Keep dreaming big and believe that there are no limitations.All can be achieved if you really want it, and if you are ready to pay extra effort. Everything is possible."
We would like to express our gratitude to all those amazing women in technology, who thrive in an increasingly competitive global market and the exceptional example they set for all the ladies out there who aspire to be leaders in the world of technology.
As a gender equality enabler we help businesses drive change and hire more women in technology challenging the status quo, the stereotypes and each other to break the biases for future generations of women to come. We would love to help you too, so do not hesitate to reach out to us and start the change today!
Authored remotely and with care by Yanislava Hristova, Founder at Remote IT World