At Lavanda, we don’t need a day dedicated to celebrating the remarkable women in our business because we do that every day. It is the standard. In honour of International Women’s day 2023, this blog will introduce you to some of the women in our company. Moreover, International Women’s Day 2023 offers us the opportunity to reflect on how we developed in our careers to reach the positions we are in today and to collectively discuss the advice we would give other women looking to grow, or transition into a career in real estate technology.
Nicole Gelb – Product Marketing Manager
As someone who specialises in Product Marketing, what advice would you give other women looking to embark on a career in Product Marketing?
My advice for someone beginning their career in Product Marketing is to start writing. Storytelling is an essential tool since you are essentially trying to simplify and explain a complex topic to an audience that often has zero domain knowledge, understanding or context. It is important to study the product and role you’re applying for, research competitors, and even look for ways you could improve their storytelling. To develop a strong narrative and succeed in this role, you need to be creative, data-driven, and flexible. In my experience, Product Marketing can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career paths, and I am grateful to be able to do what I love, every day at Lavanda.
Mel Lang – Agile Coach
As a woman in a senior position within our Engineering team, what advice would you give to young women just starting out in their careers?
My first piece of advice would be to stay open-minded and curious about what lies ahead. It’s absolutely okay to change your mind about what you want to do. You don’t have to limit yourself to a single pathway, just because you feel you “should.” Secondly, surround yourself with people who you aspire to be. Find a mentor and build your professional and social network – this is a game changer that will support and accelerate your career progression. Finally, strive to work outside your comfort zone – don’t wait for someone to offer you a promotion or raise. Set your sights on your goals and go for them, even if you don’t think you’re 100% ready– often you’ll be surprised!
Sarah Mahoney – Product Designer
How did you become part of the wonderful world that is Lavanda?
Growing up, I wasn’t aware of the role of a digital product designer. My education in Graphics at Art Foundation Level was centred around screen printing and Photoshop. This led me to pursue a career in fashion and profitability management. However, my desire for creativity persisted and it was my husband, a software engineer, who introduced me to design in tech. I soon realised the potential for growth and innovation in this field.
Determined to pursue a career in digital product design, I enrolled in a UX Design boot camp which mainly trained me in research and problem definition. In my spare time, I strengthened my skills in the softwares I knew I would be using, such as Figma and Sketch.
As a Digital Product Designer, my work involves a diverse range of skills and responsibilities, including UI design, user experience, branding, customer research, and user testing. The role of design has become increasingly important in enterprise software, as customers demand seamless experiences similar to their personal lives. It was during my search for new opportunities that I discovered Lavanda, a growing start-up with a fresh perspective on design. The ideas and concepts discussed during the interview process made me realise the impact my role could have on a burgeoning company. As a lifelong learner, I was eager to take on the challenge and help shape Lavanda’s future.
Diana Gandraman – Implementation Manager
What sparked your interest in the real estate industry?
By nature, I am very curious and enjoy trying new things, including working in different fields. Originally, I come from a hospitality background, but my curiosity allowed me to gain a very particular set of skills that helped me land a job at Lavanda. My initial interest was on the short stay side, but as the French idiom goes “the appetite comes with eating.”
While working at Lavanda, I really discovered the real estate industry and had the opportunity to learn and develop alongside the company’s growth. I slowly transitioned into the role of Implementation Manager and now focus mostly on onboarding new customers to our PMS (property management system).
If I had to choose one key takeaway from my professional journey, it is that you never know what awaits you behind a closed door. I would have never guessed that I would be working in the real estate industry – but now that I’m here I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Lidia Lopez – Junior Business Analyst
Tell us about your internship and how it led to a full-time role at Lavanda.
Last summer I finished my masters in Brighton and decided to move to London shortly after. With the aim of changing backgrounds and keen to keep learning, I decided to apply to a number of different internships across a variety of sectors that I had no previous experience in. Thus, the opportunity with Lavanda appeared and became a reality. I started my internship with them as a Lead Generation Representative, working as part of the Sales team. Over time, I had the chance to interact and learn from other departments and acquired more responsibilities. Just two months later, I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Business Analyst.
I am a diligent and ambitious person, always striving to expand my potential, but I am also utterly convinced that a great part of this achievement is thanks to the work ethic and care that Lavanda shows their team. From day one I felt that I was being listened to, taken into consideration and that all my colleagues and directors wanted me to feel confident and well-regarded. Lavanda creates a healthy, dynamic, and energetic environment that motivates me to work hard, to be curious, and to always go one step beyond. I feel comfortable and eager to give the best of myself.
Nowadays especially, I think it is important to feel valuable and significant in the work that you do, and to feel that you are growing both personally and professionally in your job. It is important not only to work hard for what you want but also to feel that you have a voice in the place you work at. It is exciting to be given the opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing company like Lavanda. But what is truly inspiring is all the things that are to come, that I will learn, that I will do, that I will discover, and the person that I will become.
Natalie Dickens – Junior Marketing Manager
What advice would you give women embarking on a career in marketing for B2B software companies?
As a Marketing Manager at a tech start-up, here is my advice to someone starting their career in tech marketing:
- Focus on being data-driven: You need to be able to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, using data to inform your decisions and optimise performance.
- Be adaptable and agile: Tech moves fast, so marketing campaigns often have to adapt to changing circumstances. Be sure to experiment, iterate, and pivot when necessary.
- Embrace creativity: B2B marketing doesn’t have to be boring or dry. There’s plenty of room for creativity, and the most successful B2B marketing campaigns are often the ones that show the best understanding of their audience whilst being innovative, bold, and memorable.
Overall, my advice would be to stay curious, keep learning, and be open to new experiences and opportunities. As the famous saying goes, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
Alexis Pesicka – Software Engineer
Any advice for the younger generation wanting to explore a career in tech?
My advice would be to find which area of tech that you love and make a space for yourself. Follow your passions and sing them to the heavens because someone will hear you. Work hard, but also remember to rest as well. Tech is always changing, so don’t be afraid to learn new things. Moreover, find a good mentor– someone who will push you to be your best self.
Alice Lin – Operations Manager
How would you describe your role at Lavanda?
The short version of what I do is everything aside from product development, marketing, and sales. The extended version includes HR, creating an inclusive and welcoming culture, and running activities and operations that support my colleagues in achieving their best at work. This is my first job after graduating from my Masters. Back then, my mindset was to be flexible and embrace opportunities even if they were ones that I had zero knowledge of. It was thanks to that mindset that I joined Lavanda – now I’m learning everything from general business operations to PropTech specific solutions!
Ari Maffia – Client Advisor
What is your role at Lavanda, and what were you doing before you joined the company? What sparked your interest in the real estate industry?
As a Client Advisor at Lavanda, my role is to champion our clients’ growth and optimize their revenue by better utilizing our product. I am currently based in Dallas, Texas and one of my biggest tasks is to support Lavanda’s expansion into the US market. I also assist with the day-to-day operations of our short-stay solutions while nurturing relationships with vendors and key stakeholders. Prior to joining Lavanda, I spent several years working in various roles in property management before moving into application support.
I have always had a passion and interest in real estate, probably stemming from my mother’s obsession with home design. As a child, I would ride along with my mother visiting various model homes, daydreaming about building the perfect home in my mind.
Giovana Southey – Front End Developer
Tell us more about what you do for Lavanda and what advice you would give the younger generation wanting to follow in your footsteps.
At Lavanda, I work as a Front End Developer. In practical terms, this means I use technology, design, and programming, to build what the user feels, sees, and interacts with, on a website or an app. It is very cool and empowering to build something that can impact so many people and businesses.
I started working as a developer five years ago when I was 35 years old, and it has been an interesting ride. The tech world moves very fast and is not always easy to keep up with. I am also a mother of two, so I have to make wise decisions on how I spend my time.
What have I learned in the process? Three things: we can always start over, we need to take good care of our physical and mental health, and we must never stop learning because I have come to realise “things get better, when we get better.”
If you are interested in joining the female tech world: pick your technology, join all the possible courses and boot camps, tell the world what you do, find a mentor, and keep learning!
Joyce Octavo – Learning and Content Manager
Tell us a bit about your role and how you became a learning and content manager.
As Learning and Content Manager, I work closely with Product Management, Marketing and the wider Customer Success team to understand the software thoroughly. I do this so I can write “help articles” for the Lavanda Help Centre and develop engaging training materials that enable our customers to access easy-to-understand information. This way I can help our users to self-serve with what they need to smoothly operate on a daily basis.
I am also responsible for our Chat Helpdesk which supports users who have any general queries, or notify us of any bugs or related issues, then use these queries to create future knowledge-based articles and continuously improve our support process. Ultimately, my role is a melting pot of both training and support elements.
I’ve been working in customer support for the past 10 years. I eventually delved into technical writing by developing training materials and improving support procedures.
Kleopatra Stouraiti – Junior Business Analyst
You recently graduated – can you tell us about this experience and offer some advice for others on how to get into a role like yours?
I recently graduated from Athens University of Economics and Business with a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics, where I was able to build a great base of knowledge, with a focus on applied statistics and data analytics. Almost a year ago I joined Lavanda working on data analytics and data-led reporting.
My advice for anyone studying a similar course would be to:
- Search and explore the resources and opportunities your university/college is offering. This can include anything from watching Professors and PhD students delve into their latest research, to searching for classes offered by different departments of your school (i.e. informatics/finance/marketing etc.). You’ll be able to really understand how broad the field is, and what interests you the most.
- Try to work on a broad range of skills: from statistics, to programming, to soft skills like communication and presentations. Everything will likely prove to be very useful in your role in the future. Find what you are most passionate about and work towards it! The possibilities of working with data are endless!
Venkata Saripella – Software Development Engineer in Test/SDET
Tell us about your role and any advice that you’d give to others seeking a role in tech.
As a Software Development Engineer in Test, I work closely with developers, project managers, and the rest of the development team to ensure the quality of an application and identify any issues with the software before a product is launched. I regularly suggest improvements to our systems and deploy effective test automation solutions.
The advice I would give to others seeking a role in tech:
- The tech industry is often described as a difficult place for women, but in many ways, the tech industry has a lot of qualities that make it ideal for women. The flexibility offered in our industry is unlike anything I have seen in any other industry. In many tech companies, it is commonly accepted that people can work on their own schedules and often work from any location. This makes a big difference when trying to have a career and a family.
- Tech is a great way to make your ideas happen. Everything today involves tech and is accelerated by tech.
- Keep your mind open so you can learn something new every day.
May Abrantes – Junior Support Engineer
What advice would you give someone wanting to become an engineer?
Don’t be afraid of anything, of being wrong, of failing, of not being smart enough, because that will happen eventually, but that does not mean you won’t be an amazing engineer. Engineers learn daily and that means we’re never 100% knowledgeable, there’s always something else to learn and by embracing this you will be the best engineer you can be.