Lucie Ataya has been working at Marin for 8 years. She’s now a product manager working directly with Wister Walcott, Co-founder and EVP, Product and Technology
Tell us a bit more about your experience as a woman in tech at Marin
I joined Marin 8 years ago, after a couple of years being the very first hire in a Somerset-based tech startup. I started at the bottom, making my way into different roles, both as an individual contributor and in leadership positions. I've had a lot of opportunities to learn and explore different avenues, which has made for an exciting journey.
I had to face prejudice early on in my career, based on my age and gender, and it made for some challenging situations. Finding mentors, from both genders and from different backgrounds early on, who were able to guide me and help me grow was invaluable.
How does it feel to be the only woman in the room
I've found there can be a lot of unspoken and unconscious bias, both from men and women and the only way to get through it is to stand up for yourself - no one else is going to volunteer to do it for you.
There's a lot of self-help and self-improvement content out there, which in my opinion boils down to very little: it's all about building the confidence and the belief that you know what you're talking about and are worthy of being heard.
Getting that level of confidence, I think, comes to a large extent with being prepared and doing your due diligence. Make sure you do your homework.
It also comes with being mindful of the language you use - both what you say and your body language. Everything you say, the way in which you say it and the signals your body sends whilst you're saying it can either strengthen or undermine your message - not just for the people you're addressing, but for yourself too.
Advice for the future generation
There is a lot I've learnt in my decade in the tech sphere. If I had to pick the top few, my two cents would be:
If it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't - I know a lot of us try to rationalise situations that don't feel right by convincing ourselves we're 'probably overreacting'. We have to learn to recognise situations for what they truly are (nothing more, nothing less) and acknowledge the ones that carry prejudice. We need to start trusting our own instincts rather than try to tone it down for fear of what people might think. Only then can we start doing something about it.
If you don't ask, you don't get - Don't be scared of putting ideas forward, making suggestions and asking for guidance. The worst thing that will happen is people will say 'no'.
This is also valid for your own personal growth and career evolution. You're the best person to be looking after your own interests, no one else will ever be as vested as you are in making sure you succeed.
Be proactive in creating change - Don't wait for someone else to do the things you think will benefit you, your team or the company as a whole. If you can spot a gap or identify room for improvement, be the one to lead the way to make it happen.