International Women’s Day – what’s the deal? Celebrated since 1911, it’s all about gender diversity. It has a dual purpose: it’s a day of celebration of women from across the globe as well as a call to recognize women as equals. International Women’s Day aims to push us towards a gender equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discriminations. This is something that we all can do if we work together – men, women and everyone in between.
To do our bit, we’ve sat down with a handful of our female workforce to get to know them a bit better and to explore their journeys so far.
Today, we get to know more about Adelina, our VP, Client Analytics and Insights.
Adelina, tell me a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Romania. I moved to Italy with my family and lived there for a while. I moved to the US in my early 20s and I’ve been here ever since.
I initially joined Comlinkdata (CLD) as an analyst. The analyst role in CLD was not traditional as this particular position is a combination of analytical work and client management. The role was very interesting and a unique opportunity for me. I’ve since progressed from there to become a VP, Client Analytics and Insights.
Do you find this role particularly female or male-dominated?
Definitely male-dominated at the time. I joined Comlinkdata back in 2015 while it was a start-up. There were 25 men and I was one of just two women in the room. It felt a bit intimidating at first, but I did have a [male] friend there so that made things easier. Things have changed quite a bit as the company has grown and we have a better mix of men and women; now, 34% of the team are women.
Did you find it difficult to get involved or integrate yourself in this male-dominated environment?
Everybody was very welcoming. I've had a wonderful experience and never felt that I’ve faced any sort of bias whatsoever. I don’t feel I have to prove myself or be something that I’m not to be a part of Comlinkdata. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to work hard but I've never had to go beyond being myself to prove anything to anyone, which is wonderful. It was probably part of what helped me succeed. This is different from what I've encountered in other companies.
What have you encountered at those other companies?
To be honest, I think there were just a couple instances where I've come across some bias; I know that other people have had worse experiences so I feel relatively lucky to have faced so little.
Let me give you an example from a previous company. I was about 25 and had recently joined. I was discussing my goals with my boss when they made a comment which implied my success was somehow related to my physical attributes. I did not stay there very long.
At the time, I didn't do anything and I didn't feel like I needed to do anything either; I knew I was happy just being myself and continuing with my work. I didn’t feel I had to do anything differently just because I was a woman. It just was not a place that I wanted to be and, honestly, it was not worth the effort.
You come across as a very focused person and someone who doesn’t let any biases distract you from your goal. Is that a fair assessment?
Yes, I think it is. I've been lucky particularly as I've been in several situations where I was in the minority, such as the only foreign student, the only foreign employee, the only female or one of the few.
When it comes down to it though, regardless of bias, I will just look for the right path for me and that’s the one that makes me happy.
In the past it had never really occurred to me that bias mattered. I've always done my job regardless of what’s happening. If it does matter, I think that’s your problem, not mine. I work hard, not because I'm a woman but because I believe in working hard to achieve results and do the right thing.
When I became a mom, I realized that, yes, it is different to be a woman in the workforce. It takes a lot of energy but you’ve still got to perform. I think this is the only real bias I’ve faced and it’s not because of something people are doing or because they're blocking me from something. It's just that the reality is that I have to work twice as hard. I think this is where changes could be made.
How have you found your return to work after following your maternity leave?
It has been a challenge and I'm still learning how to work around it. Both my team and our senior leadership team are very supportive.
What does #BreakTheBias mean to you?
That’s a good question. I think it’s almost like bias needs to be thought of in two parts – the bias itself and our perception of it. We can fight bias as much as we want but ultimately, it's up to us to find a way to address it and try to minimize its impact. The moment we try to do something different to avoid bias, we encourage that bias. It becomes a vicious circle because we create the expectation that we have to prove ourselves more than somebody of a different gender, race or social status – this isn’t the case though. To break the bias, we just need to be ourselves.
What do you think we can do to promote this thinking to the next generation?
I wish I had the answer. I have a baby who's going to be a woman one day so I think about this a lot. I think we must educate boys and girls about their full potential outside of stereotypical gender types. Expose everyone to everything and allow them to make their own informed choices.
What's the most valuable piece of advice you can pass on to anyone, especially women trying to establish their careers or anyone striving for gender equality?
I’d emphasize that it's about being yourself. Everyone has something to offer that's unique and the more we try to change ourselves, the more we kill that uniqueness. Always try to learn more and improve your skills but don’t ever lose sight of who you are just because somebody is trying to change you.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women who would they be and why?
First up is Michelle Obama. She is extremely successful, super grounded and addresses a lot of issues and situations that all of us experience as everyday women. She comes across as very human and relatable.
The second one woman is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I don't think I need to explain why – she was a strong promoter of women’s rights and equality.
The third one is my great grandma. She lived during the war and ended up leaving school to take care of her siblings. She couldn’t read or write but she was good at math because she had to make ends meet. She ended up raising my grandma on her own and then went on to help my grandma raise my mom. When I was born, she also helped to take care of me. So, this woman cared for four generations. She didn't have a great career but she is proof of how strong women can be. If I could sit down and talk with her, I would do that in a heartbeat.
Opensignal, Tutela and Comlinkdata, the industry’s three most disruptive players in telecommunications performance measurement, are now part of the same company. They have come together to create data and analytics solutions that will enable communications providers to constantly optimize both their network and market performance, advancing connectivity for all.
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