What are the main challenges for women that choose a career in technology? “Each person has their own economic and social limitations, but the worst barriers are often in our minds. If we believe we can’t do something, we most likely won’t be able to do it,” says Daniela Binatti, co-founder and CTO at Pismo.
Daniela discussed this question in a live session on Instagram with Irina Cezar from the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (Lola). Daniela has more than 25 years of experience in information technology. After working as the chief technology officer (CTO) for a financial services company, she co-founded Pismo in 2016 to create an advanced banking and payments platform.
Women in technology
Daniela seeks to inspire women that want to follow a career in technology: “In one of my jobs, I had a team of 100 people, and only two among them were women. People risk not following their career dreams if they don’t have role models. So I try to encourage them.”
“Half of my fellow students at university were women. But many of them switched to other careers after graduating in engineering. When I was younger, I worked night shifts managing computer infrastructure. It was difficult to hire women because they were afraid of taking public transportation at night,” she says.
Pismo has an incentive program for employees that recommend other professionals for open roles. And these employees receive more money when they recommend women. “We also have discussion groups for women,” says Daniela.
What is freedom?
Irina asked Daniela what her concept of freedom was. “Being free is having the knowledge and courage to choose my way – whatever that may be. Some people like to judge others. I don’t want to be judged for working 12 hours a day when my daughters were small. And I will not judge a woman that decides to leave her job to take care of her children,” says Daniela.
Becoming an entrepreneur changed Daniela’s life: “Working at a startup is like living in ‘dog years.’ Each year is the equivalent of seven ordinary ones! I’ve been studying technology for many years, but, as an entrepreneur, I also have to deal with business and legal questions. I spend hours reading contracts. It’s no longer only about the technology.”
“When I decided to found a startup, we talked a lot about the human environment. Many people adapt themselves to a hostile work environment and only relax when they go home. I wanted to build a company where people wouldn’t need armour to come to work. My own physical and mental health suffered ten years ago due to extreme stress at work. That bad experience made me see the importance of a healthy workplace. We must take care of our mental health – a topic that was treated as taboo until recently.”
Never give up
Daniela says that while the technology evolution makes careers and enterprises more complex, it also makes it easier to learn and contact people who can help an entrepreneur accomplish their goals.
“When I started my career, we had to order imported books to learn about technology, and it took two months for them to arrive. Now, there is a lot of online content, which is mostly free. There are also mentoring programs and places where entrepreneurs and investors congregate to exchange knowledge and do business.”
What advice would Daniela give to a woman who is starting a career in technology? “Never give up your dreams! If someone says your project is impossible, this is a good reason to invest time and effort to make it real.”
Here is the video of the live session in Portuguese:
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