In conversation with Grand Parade team involved in Lead IT, Lady!

You have already heard the news about the leadership development initiative that we organise along with Women in Technology Team - 'Lead IT, Lady!'. And what's important we're not only sponsoring it but also take an active part in shaping the scope of the programme and bring it to the life! 

We've caught up with some of the colleagues involved in mentoring support - Agnes Zielinska, Barbara Jurak, Aneta Kwiatkowska and Kasia Osuch-Bukowska and asked some questions about the programme, why they decided to support it and talked about the value of mentoring relationships.

Why did you decide to support Lead IT, Lady! programme?

Agnes: I decide to take part in Lead IT, Lady! programme as I think there are not enough female leaders in the IT world. We should show our power and great skills that we can bring to the whole business as leaders. I am very excited about the initiative and will be leading Software Development Life Cycle workshop - so see you there! 

Aneta: I have been asked for being a mentor for one of the mentee. That is exactly what I personally believe in – you can always ask your inner voice but it’s extremally helpful to confront that with some supporter.

Kasia: When I started my professional career in IT in 2004, I remember how important for me was to find a role model to look up to for inspiration and guidance. Now, sixteen years later, I can support others by sharing my experience and what I have learned through these years, and I am very excited about that.

Barbara: I got involved in Lead IT, Lady! in February 2020 when we started to explore the idea of a programme for future female leaders in Poland. Together with Agnieszka Zielinska, Daria Plona and Marcin Olichwirowicz we are excited to explore the Polish market of NGOs to find a partner for the project. Finally, we choose Woman in Technology Foundation. Girls did massive work to prepare the programme and I am proud to be still involved in that initiative as a mentor.


Have you ever had a mentoring relationship or took part in a leadership programme during your career? Did you find it valuable? 

Agnes: A few years ago, when I was working as a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer/Scrum Master I had an opportunity to take part in "Leadership Academy". That was an amazing programme, which lasted a year and I had great opportunity to improve my leadership skills, get to know my weak and strong point and understand what skills I should gain to become a leader in the IT world. I think that program gave me o very solid base and showed me the direction, so I was able to progress my career in the leadership and become Head of Portfolio after few years.

Aneta: That is a crucial part of all my career – as a being a mentor and mentee. I have to say honestly that without thousands of hours of mentoring I wouldn’t be myself – as for the professional growth as private life. My mentors were my masters of particular aspects and they have shown the options which I hadn't realized before. That is why I have discovered once that I could help others it started to be my major activities during the first year of working as an independent consultant.

Kasia: I was in a mentoring relationship during my early school years which made a tremendous impact on my further decisions regarding education and career path. In 2018 I completed the International MBA Program at Cracow School of Business. Last year I decided on individual career coaching.

Barbara: At the beginning of my professional journey, I was part of the student association. It was a real school of life for me as I learn how to manage my time, work in the project team and strive for excellence. Our projects engaged students from the entire county! It was pretty tough as I was only 20 years old and… completely lost 


What’s the best career advice you've ever received?

Agnes: The best advice in my career I was given just after 3 years of my career in IT, once I was working as a Test Engineer. My manager at that time told me that I should be more assertive and not scared of standing up and saying my opinion, as I have a lot of great skills and ideas - but nobody will know that until I speak up. I still remember this advice and I think that opened my doors to further career.

Aneta: Don’t focus on huge aim, set small goals and adjust them into current circumstances every day. Doesn’t sound like an Agile?

Kasia: “If you want to go fast, you should go alone, but if you want to go far, you should go together.”

Barbara: Head down and water your garden. This advice may not look fancy on the first sight but it means that we should focus on what we can do the best and work hard. I believe only the dreamers who show commitment and work hard can achieve their goals.


What is one piece of advice you'd give to women who would like to boost a career in a leadership role?

Agnes: I think I will give the same advice: be assertive, don't be scared to stand up, don't be scared of making mistakes -  show your great skills and value you can bring to the company! Let everybody know you and how great you are!

Aneta: I would like to say that you already play a leadership role. If you are not able to see that, join this fantastic program and you’ll see that leadership is deep inside you and surrounds you every day. I am here to help you discovered that

Kasia: Before you can lead others, you must be able to lead yourself. Being a leader requires courage in decision making.