301 words by Aleks Sztemberg

I always thought that to be powerful meant to be tough “like a man.” Speak with dominant language, a loud voice, and get openly angry when I don’t agree with something. 

When I realized that I am not advancing upwards in my career – only sideways – I looked into the experiences of my male colleagues along the way. I wondered how one becomes a C-level executive with less experience or knowledge than I have had?

In my last role, I started acting and communicating “like a man.” I was direct and not afraid to speak my mind. I was very open about my professional expectations and wanting to progress in my career… and I got fired. 

It’s clear to me now that the company was not a place where equality and inclusion are celebrated. Nevertheless, this moment in time was a breaking point for me to take a step back and reflect on my strengths – as the woman that I am. Shouldn’t I stay true to myself and embrace my more feminine characteristics, while also allowing myself to be confident and strong? 

Speak with my natural, quiet voice. Make people listen, even though I am not shouting. Stay calm and speak reasonably. Find a solution to every situation in a weighted, intelligent way. Because this is who I really am. 

This is when I grew into the person I wanted to be and transformed my career as well.

Today I am a Co-Founder of an AI-Powered Analytics platform. 

While we are an early-stage startup, I know that no matter what happens along the way, I will stay true to myself and thrive as a woman in a male-dominated environment. 

Being a Working Woman in 2020? Be a woman at work. 

About the author
Aleks is born and raised in Warsaw. Later, she lived in Berlin and currently, settled down in Amsterdam. She is a Co-Founder of an AI-Powered Analytics Platform, with over 10 years of experience working in advertising agencies, managing nationwide campaigns for largest clients like Hewlett Packard, France Telekom, and others. Later shifted to digital and UX Design. She is also participating in many women empowering initiatives, like Women in AI, or Women in Tech.


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