Olesya Pavlova, the VP of Marketing at CyberKnight, speaks about her journey into the IT industry as a career choice

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
As Vice President of marketing, I am responsible for CyberKnight’s marketing strategy as well as the company’s accelerated growth in the region and creating value for vendors, channel partners, and end-customers. A typical day at the office I always try to divide into 3 parts, where one-third of the time I am usually spending on strategic calls with vendor/channel partners as well as collaboration with agencies, one third will be dedicated to alignment with the CyberKnight Team and one third will be allocated for execution of ongoing programs and initiatives.

Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
Absolutely! My career in technology began back in 2011, in Sweden, where I joined one of the leading approved resource providers (ARP) for Ericsson, for large telecom projects across the globe as a marketing manager. That was such an exciting time, being totally new in this field, I managed to learn a lot about 4G (back then!), Ericsson radio systems, network operations, and how it helps to connect the world.

After a while I got an offer from an R&D company based out of Stockholm, a leading Nordic IoT and RTLS provider, focusing on IoT and pioneering Europe’s first IoT projects: developing SW and HW for industrial use. A few years later my IT journey continued in the UAE, where I was doing marketing for multiple technology companies predominately focusing on IT, OT, and IoT cybersecurity.

Do you have a role model?
Yes, I do. Adena Friedman, the first woman to lead a major U.S. stock exchange.

Would our world be different if more women were working in STEM?
Definitely. It is no secret that the tech industry is male-dominated: less than 10% of the Middle East’s tech workforce is female. Many tech companies are run by men and, clearly, women are under-represented in the IT sector. Yet throughout my career in the Middle East, I have come across quite a few women working in the cybersecurity domain – highly educated, talented, knowledgeable, and passionate individuals who already became senior leaders, reputable technical experts, or successful sales representatives within their organizations. Thus, I do believe that companies in the region shall promote more diversity and inclusivity in their staff hiring, retention, and development to create greater balance.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?
I think that I am lucky that I did not have so many obstacles throughout my career (at least so far). I believe confidence, knowledge, and experience are the tools that help to overcome any challenge at any organization you are working for. Also, when it comes to fighting gender stereotypes, in my opinion, role models play a crucial role. There are always a few in my mind that I admire and look up to.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the tech industry?
I strongly agree with the following: “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it”. – George Carlin. The most important, in my opinion, is to believe in yourself no matter what. There will be always cases where you must break stereotypes and prove yourself, – but, after all, that is part of a ‘game’ we are all playing.

What do you do to unwind after work?
I spend time with my newly born baby boy. My life changed so much for the past few months. I feel eternally happy when spending precious hours with the little one and try to enjoy every moment as these bundles of joy tend to grow way too fast.

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