As a Ukrainian based between Bulgaria and the US, she has traveled and lived in several countries, but what grounded her was when she “pivoted into the world of tech, entrepreneurship, and female empowerment”. Anna Radulovski is the founder and CEO of the WomenTech Network, a community of professionals providing an environment of belonging.
Anna’s CV is as diverse as her globe-trotter stories. She is an advocate for diversity in tech with a passion for startups from a young age and the proof is all the projects she has invested a piece of her soul in.
While this year she prepares to change the prefix, her 20s were about developing The Founder Institute – the Luxembourg chapter; Tallocate, a social HRTech startup powered by AI with a focus on helping women and minorities in tech; and Coding Girls, a network to empower women to learn to code and develop their careers in tech.
In today’s interview, she takes us on a journey into her development as a woman in tech, what a work-life balance for women can look like, and what is next on her busy schedule as a founder and a mom.
In this new “Women in Tech” series, we will introduce you to talented tech professionals that are riding the wave of change in the most exciting tech companies and ecosystem organizations in our region. Having a strong and devoted team is one of the prerequisites of success for every startup venture and what investors are most often looking for, so we want you to meet the ladies who are making innovation happen.
We will explore different roles and jobs – from technical talents to professionals responsible for the growth and exploration of new markets, to IT jobs you haven’t even heard of, yet. We will also talk about what it is like to work in tech – the skills you need, the challenges you meet, the work environment that helps you thrive, and the future of work altogether.
The Recursive: What can you tell us about your career path so far?
Anna Radulovski: Back in 2017, I started Coding Girls, a non-profit to inspire and empower girls to get into tech and develop a tech career. In 2018, I joined Founder Institute, the largest pre-seed accelerator in the world to run a Luxembourg-based chapter, and in 2019, while being 5 months pregnant, I started WomenTech Network, a global organization to inspire, empower, and support women in tech through mentorship, leadership development, and career growth opportunities.
What inspired the launch of the WomenTech Network project?
The needs to increase the presence of women in tech, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The main trigger was that many women reached out to help them find a job where they could feel like they belong and companies were also looking to hire diverse talents because they understood what a difference it makes for their business.
How would you explain to a 7-year-old what your job is?
I bring women together (virtually) to share their stories, collaborate, make friends, learn something new, and get excited about the world of possibilities in tech.
What have been the advantages and disadvantages of developing in your field as a woman?
My passion for inspiring and supporting women motivated me to create the WomenTech Network. One of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurship is keeping your head high when things aren’t going the way you’d like them to. To have someone you can count on to support you, to share your challenges, and doubts, and celebrate your successes.
In addition to being a founder, I am also a working mom of a toddler trying to juggle my career and my family while trying to make quality time for myself too.
Navigating the C-Suite as a Working Mom is something many women leaders struggle with, which is why we created a panel at the Global Conference to share and discuss this important topic as part of our Chief in Tech Summit.
What does a day in your life look like? Tell us more about how you maintain a work-life balance.
My day starts with a strong black coffee with agave syrup, meditation, and a morning workout. I also have a toddler who is super active and curious and often helps me prepare my morning coffee. 🙂
I have been working from home before working from home was a thing.
Now I cannot imagine having to drive to work and back. I prefer to use this time to play with my daughter, work out or work on something impactful.
What did you want to be growing up and how has this vision changed over the years?
I wanted to be a human rights lawyer. I think I am living my dream to a certain extent in my current role. As CEO of the WomenTech Network, I am dedicated to inspiring, empowering, and supporting women in tech, and that is related to human rights.
What is your definition of success?
Making the world a better place by doing what you love, being paid to do that, and having enough energy, wealth, and time to help others in need. When I will be a super old granny, I want to look back at my life and say:
It’s been a hell of a ride (but also a life worth living). – Anna Radulovski
What do you think makes you good at what you do?
I am good at inspiring and motivating others to join us on a mission while helping them find their spot in the tech world, supporting them to grow professionally while making a difference.
How has technology shaped your career?
I wish I discovered the world of technology earlier in my life. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone in my close circle to put it in front of me. But, at an early stage of my career, I pivoted into the tech world and that was one of the best decisions in my life.
What are your professional goals for this year?
Launching an NFT-related project and having an awesome Women in Tech Conference this June (between the 7th and the 10th). This is the third edition and every time I am super excited about what’s to come and cannot recover a couple of days after it’s over. It’s almost like delivering a baby! It takes at least the same time to get there.
Tell us about how you coped with a big failure in your career? How did you move on?
I don’t recall one big failure. But I have encountered several small ones: from being a solo founder and failing to build a validated financial model to pivoting my career in some trending area that I was not so passionate about.
But every “small failure” made me wiser and stronger.
What is your motivator during not-so-productive days?
I just start working. If that doesn’t help, then I ask myself: What is blocking me? What do I need at this moment? Usually, it is either asking for help, resting, going for a walk, or doing something joyful for myself that I was postponing for ages. I try to be kind to myself during not-so-productive days to avoid pushing myself to burn out.
From remote work, through automation, a 4-day working week, to universal basic income, how do you imagine the future of work?
With technological progress every year, we are becoming more and more adaptive and creative. The future of work will evolve into a hybrid model where employees will be working remotely or from an office during the workweek; and it will be their choice, not their management’s.
For women especially, paid family leave and childcare support during work from home is something that is becoming increasingly needed. I am also waiting for the time when we’ll be able to order a flying taxi just like getting an Uber.