The gender gap in tech is gradually decreasing, and the mobile tech industry is doing its part to offer more leadership roles to women.
Aarki is passionate about strengthening women’s leadership and voices. Here we continue our series highlighting women in the mobile industry.
Product Manager at Kochava
"Knowing you have a lot to offer and holding yourself to realistic standards is key. "Q: What motivated you to pursue this career?
I was born in the small resort town of Sandpoint, Idaho, where Kochava was founded 20 years later. I ended up growing up overseas in Budapest and subsequently went to college in Seattle. I was looking for an internship when my Sandpoint family told me about Kochava. It was a great opportunity to spend what I thought would be a few months in Idaho, working on night shift as an intern supporting our APAC clients. Day 1—around hour 1.5—I was hooked on the complex and turbulent nature of tech and realized this is the right path for me.
Q: What do you love most about the work environment and culture at Kochava?
I’ve always felt like there was a clear path forward for me in the company. When you join, it feels like you’re accepted into the family, not just a specific team within the organization, which means you have a much broader range of ways to succeed. You’re encouraged to explore roles until you find where you feel you can contribute the most and feel fulfilled.
Kochava hires talent from all backgrounds, not just tech, and helps them grow their careers within the space. I think that’s brought together a group of people who see and approach things in different and complementary ways. It’s also created a culture where people feel empowered—I know it has for me. I spent ~3 years in customer service, learning and observing how our clients interact with what we offer, what gives them value and what doesn’t. Kochava didn’t hesitate in moving me into a product role where I could use that experience to help us keep a pulse on what problems clients would like us to solve, then turn around and influence the products we develop and enhance.
Bonus: We live in a small town, so the people you are working with on important industry problems are also your snowboarding, hiking, and beer-tasting buddies.
Q: What is your biggest professional achievement to date?
I recently finished a project related to deep linking/universal links and our SmartLinks™ feature. It was an amazing experience and the first project that I owned from conception to launch (and beyond). Pushing through each hurdle and aligning all the stakeholders to make this happen was a tremendous learning experience. What makes me consider it my biggest professional achievement was the delicate nature of uprooting a feature that a large portion of our clients were actively using, in an effort to deliver something better. I’m excited to have the chance to one-up it with the next project.
Q: What are the common challenges women face today in the world of tech?
An internal challenge I think women sometimes deal with is the tendency to put a very high bar on your “right” to speak and drive direction in a given work situation. It might be out of fear that you don’t have enough authority to speak on a certain topic, fear that you might be the only one missing a key piece of information, or fear of simply being wrong. Knowing you have a lot to offer and holding yourself to realistic standards is key.
A different type of challenge is the sheer lack of numbers. When there are more women in your work environment, experiencing the same things, you have the opportunity to support and mentor one another. The good news is we’re heading in the right direction, female students are more often choosing studies preparing them for STEM fields and women are choosing positions in the tech industry at higher rates than ever. I’m really excited and hopeful for what the landscape will be like for women entering the workforce 5,10,15 years from now.
Q: What’s the one thing you have learned in your career and would like to share with new entrants?
It’s easy to get caught up in industry jargon, trends, and competition. Push yourself, instead, to be driven by intuition and common sense to solve problems for your clients/users. Focus on providing clear guidance to them and reducing friction. They are people just like any other and will respond well to what you put forward if it is founded on the right principles.
Also, standing desks are overrated.
Q: What/who inspires you?
My boyfriend, friends and co-workers who practice creativity outside of work.
Q: If you could switch jobs with someone for a day, who would it be?
Literally any person who works with animals.
Q: What is something you’ve never done that you have always wanted to do?
Learn how to sew—I’ve been carrying around a sewing machine for 6 years and never once used it. Maybe today’s the day.
UPDATE: Today was not the day either. Our strange journey together continues.
Q: What are your three most overused words/phrases?
- “K” - instead of OK, drives people crazy
- /giphy (everything)
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I wish I could step into people’s shoes (not literally). I think a lot of things could be better in the world if we had more empathy.