Women in Tech: “Women should acknowledge their strong qualities”
Women are underrepresented in the tech sector —myth or reality? 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 Hila Mazinter, VP and R&D at JFrog.
A 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 Hila Mazinter, VP and R&D at JFrog.
Today’s Woman in Tech: Hila Mazinter, VP and R&D at JFrog
Hila has over 20 years of enterprise software domain experience in the establishment, development and delivery of various products. Prior to JFrog she held several executive positions in global hi-tech companies, such as SuperDerivatives, SAP AG and CheckPoint and has successfully built best-in-class R&D, operations and service teams.
Hila holds an Executive MBA from the Tel Aviv University – Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration and a BA in Computer Sciences from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.
When did you become interested in technology?
I have always been an analytical thinker and computer sciences felt like a perfect match.
For me, technology was never the goal but rather a means to create, generate, and make a difference that contributes to progress.
I was raised to pursue equality and to strive for excellence and was lucky enough to share the same values with my spouse so the juggling between work and family was settled and managed with equality and mutual support.
How did you end up in your career path? What obstacles did you have to overcome?
Throughout my career, I have climbed the ladder of all the technical positions, ranging from a developer, team leader and manager, to executive positions. I have always tried to be at companies and in positions where I felt I could bring real value. Being a woman was not a factor, but my performance was. I was driven by my confidence in my capabilities.
Before starting my career, I served in the Army as a single woman in an environment of men. Therefore joining the tech industry, which is dominated by men, was in a way familiar to me. I was raised to pursue equality and to strive for excellence and was lucky enough to share the same values with my spouse so the juggling between work and family was settled and managed with equality and mutual support.
Did you receive support from your family and friends?
My family enabled me to do what I chose to do. They were not always happy with the intensity of my work, yet at the end of the day, they respected and fully supported it.
Did someone ever try to stop you from learning and advancing in your professional life?
I’ve always chosen tracks that I knew I was good at and could perform well in.
A day in Hila’s life
I am currently VP R&D at JFrog and am blessed to be part of a company that is defining and leading the way software is being manufactured and distributed. Our mission is to enable continuous updates through liquid software, empowering developers to code high-quality applications that securely flow to end-users with zero downtime.
My workday is built around enabling my teams to fulfill their tasks and create value to support the JFrog strategy. I help them out when they get stuck, keep them focused on the right goals and ensure they can work efficiently. This means I need to listen a lot, ask questions that can lead to problem-solving and keep them energetic and passionate.
The R&D environment is known for its long hours, endless days and much tension, therefore keeping the teams optimistic, collaborating and showing them the right way is a constant part of my day-to-day activities.
What are you most proud of in your career?
The most satisfying part of my career is when I have an opportunity to turn people or teams that do not function well into engaged and effective contributors. Turning a lose-lose situation into a win-win one.
Why aren’t there more women in tech? What’s your take on that?
The tech environment is super demanding and very often takes control over family time.
Therefore, I assume most women are afraid to step into this industry. However, I believe that gradually, with worldwide cultural changes that encourage equal opportunities in education and employment, it is changing. Those changes enhance women’s self-esteem and we are seeing more and more women in the industry, even in leading positions. At JFrog, for example, 40% of the management team are women.
Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in tech face?
I think that the biggest challenge women in tech are facing is controlling their work/life balance. Unfortunately, it is still too often that the woman is expected to be more available for the family needs, therefore women will typically struggle more than men with the industry’s intensity.
I would like to believe that 10 years from now a diverse tech environment will be the new standard.
Women also tend to have better self-reflection. While this is benefits their self-awareness and emotional intelligence, many times it holds them back from speaking up. They will try to avoid confrontations as much as possible even though occasionally confrontation may prove valuable. Another challenge is related to the fact that women are not as good as men in asking things for themselves and pushing themselves forward.
Would our world be different if more women worked in STEM?
There is already a lot of research showing that women can do just as well or even better than their male counterparts. Women are known to be great listeners, mentors, problem solvers, and multitaskers. These skills are highly important in growing companies and unfortunately are missing in the tech industry. Women can have a great impact on the tech industry if more of them continue to join the field.
The discussion about diversity is gaining momentum. How long will it take to see results from the current debate?
The effectiveness of diversity will fully materialize when it becomes natural and for the right reasons, such as pluralism and brainstorming. Diversity helps to reflect and represent the variety of cultures and needs of society and therefore results in better products.
The discussion regarding diversity can often lead to unconstructive actions more focused on public relations purposes. The real change will come once the advantages of diversity are recognized and become the drive for change. I would like to believe that 10 years from now a diverse tech environment will be the new standard.
What advice (and tips) would you give to women who want a tech career? What should they know about this industry?
Women should acknowledge their strong qualities. They have the strength to cope with hardship and complex situations, therefore they should not refrain from stepping into the tech world.
More Women in Tech:
- Women in Tech: “Degrees can matter but they aren’t required”
- Women in Tech: “The IT sector requires a lot of energy and will”
- Women in Tech: “I got to be a self-taught, self-managed, problem solver”
- Women in Tech: “Don’t let irrational advice keep you from tech!”
- Women in Tech: “Don’t be afraid – bite your way through!”