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Profile: Natasha Lauer, Head of Marketing, Soda

Women in Tech: “It’s highly rewarding to work in tech”

Sarah Schlothauer

Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Natasha Lauer, Head of Marketing at Soda.

research study by The National Center for Women & Information Technology showed that “gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings,” which could explain why tech companies have started to invest in initiatives that aim to boost the number of female applicants, recruit them in a more effective way, retain them for longer, and give them the opportunity to advance. But is it enough?

Three years ago, we launched a diversity series aimed at bringing the most inspirational and powerful women in the tech scene to your attention. Today, we’d like you to meet Natasha Lauer, Head of Marketing at Soda.

Today’s Woman in Tech: Natasha Lauer, Head of Marketing at Soda

Natasha is Head of Marketing at Soda. She studied Law with French at Oxford Brookes University and has 16 years of experience working in the data industry. Prior to Soda, Natasha was at Collibra for 3 years and was responsible for marketing across the EMEA region and global programs, including founding the Chief Data Officer Summer School. Prior to Collibra, she held a variety of marketing leadership roles at Qlik in EMEA and the global alliances and channel team. Since 2007, Natasha has called the Netherlands home where she lives with her family.

When did you become interested in technology?

I was relatively young. My dad is a computer consultant specializing in information systems; he opened my eyes to working with computers and impressed the importance of logical thinking and problem solving when using them. At school, I took an above-average interest in Computer Science from the age of 10, carried it through to my A levels, and have been hooked ever since!

How did you end up in your career path? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

I fell into marketing. Leaving university with the same expectations as the thousands of inexperienced graduates, I searched for administrative roles and started working for a recruitment consultancy. I was fortunate to be offered a career step by a client into a telemarketing manager role, which led me to 12 years at Qlik where I established my footing in marketing and worked across different disciplines, at an international level.

The main obstacles were getting out of my comfort zone and constantly pushing myself, as there was a lot of learning by doing and flying by the seat of my pants!

Did you receive support from your family and friends? Do you have a role model?

Yes, always. My dad has been my staunchest supporter and revels in my success more than I do!

I can never whittle down the people that inspired and helped drive my career to just one person. I’ve got a bit of a collective of people that I can lean on and go to, depending on where I need help or advice. It’s made up of friends that I’ve worked with, met at different stages in life, and taken some valuable lessons from.

Did anyone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?

Yes in a recent role, and it was very hard to navigate through given the seniority of the individuals. However, to put it in perspective I’ve been fortunate to work with, and be managed by, supportive and encouraging leaders. And to have landed on my feet at Soda where the firehose is “on” with opportunities to learn, apply myself, and grow – there’s no stopping me now!

A day in Tash’s life

I am head of marketing at Soda and joined in January of this year, 2021. We’re building a platform to address one of the biggest challenges that every organization has: monitoring and managing data quality. I’m lucky that I don’t have a typical workday and that suits me really well. A day can involve strategizing on our go-to-market; connecting with the product and engineering teams to work on our product market fit and value proposition; writing copy for campaigns; brainstorming for the next great program; speaking to customers and connecting with people across the industry; research, learning, and listening; but always having fun – I have a lot of fun every day with my team and enjoy the pace at which we’re moving – it’s really fast!

Women need to be the change and do more to help advance the rise of women in tech, as we build teams and help workforces grow.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m proud of the network that I’ve built. I value relationships very much and really enjoy learning from people, observing cultures and practices, and helping communities form. I have a strong base of connections and am lucky to know a lot of really smart, funny, nice people.

Why aren’t there more women in tech?

It’s interesting – as fast as technology evolves in the form of products, software, and services, the world of technology behaves much more like a laggard. I vividly remember people being quite taken aback when I was studying Computer Science as part of my A-Levels – it wasn’t really what girls studied or a career they pursued. and I think that perception and notion is still present. I think one of the reasons that there aren’t more women in tech is because that perception is still heavily present.

There are lots of smart women that don’t even think about pursuing a career in tech as it’s not positioned as an industry for women at job fairs, in career discussions, or for apprenticeships. I think we need to help give tech a bit of a rebrand, and that’s happening as you see the rise of STEM in schools, but it’s going to take time and will also require lots of other barriers to be broken down.

Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?

  • Coming up against pre-conceived notions of who should be doing what job: tech has a large number of male-dominated roles and we still need that breakthrough to see the balance of men and women increasing.
  • There aren’t enough of us! Women need to be the change and do more to help advance the rise of women in tech, as we build teams and help workforces grow.
  • Working in male-dominated environments can be challenging and requires women to use skill sets or characteristics that are not “in our nature”.
  • Always being the minority – I was the only girl studying Computer Science and I’m often the only woman at the table. There aren’t many role models at the moment of women in tech to inspire the next generation.

Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?

Yes, our world will be different when more women are working in STEM. There are quite a few studies that show the impact of women, with gender diversity studies proving that female-strong leadership and teams can hugely impact performance, profits and processes. There is a direct correlation on how gender parity in the workplace could add trillions of dollars to the global GDP in the years to come.

I believe that diversity in STEM roles is necessary for progression and for safe innovations. I think this example is often used but if you look at the research field of science where, historically, women were excluded from 1) being scientists and 2) being part of the laboratory studies, our exclusion had major consequences on understanding women’s health whose bodies can exhibit different reactions to men. If we include women we can get an egalitarian understanding of problems and solutions – because well, how great can an innovation be if it is only looking at a portion of the population?

You’ll be part of the change, breaking biases, and building out diversity in a really big industry.

The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current discussion?

I wanted to just write that it will take a long time but, I do recognise that there has been some change recently as there is a large spotlight on society and organizations to do better. But it’s about keeping the momentum on the needs for diversity and knowing that diversity isn’t just about the labels that hit the news headlines. To really change behaviour, ideals, and remove ingrained practices and beliefs, at scale, it could take a lifetime.

What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career?

It’s highly rewarding to work in tech. You can be at the forefront of technology breakthroughs, ideas that will shape industries, and define what the next phase looks like.

You’ll be part of the change, breaking biases, and building out diversity in a really big industry.

It’s hard work – you’ll need to be part of the change and be prepared to be one of a few forging the path for others to follow.

Your soft skills and smart brain will help you be successful. Grow your network and be good to your peers. The world of tech is small.

More Women in Tech:

For even more Women in Tech, click here

Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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