Bulgaria urgently needs a special structure for coordination of the green agenda and sustainable development, write MOVE.BG, WWF Bulgaria, Greenpeace-Bulgaria, and “Institute for Circular Economy”.
We have met with Sarah Gerweck, founder and the Chief Architect of big data technology company AtScale Inc, hours before her appearance at Bulgarian public. She was named one of the top women entrepreneurs in cloud innovation for 2018 by CloudNow.
Sarah will tell us her inspirational story as the new guest of She is Me - an evening talking format of Bulgarian Center of Women in Technology (BCWT) on April 3 (Wednesday) at 19:00, at MOVE.BG, 20 Str Serdika, Sofia. MOVE.BG is the co-organizer of the event.
AtScale would invest between USD 20-25 million for opening a new office in the Bulgarian capital Sofia and would hire around 40 people.
Sarah Gerweck has been interviewed by BCWT’s Gabriela Nikolova and MOVE.BG’s Marin Marinov.
- Please, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Oregon, before coming to California to study Math and Physics at UC Berkeley.
Before AtScale, I spent several years at Yahoo! working on their platform for data processing and analytics. Our mandate was to provide the data that decision makers needed to get the right content to the right people and make smart choices for the business. When your data is the activity on one of the five biggest sites on the Internet, you have a lot of really interesting challenges!
- What has sparked your interest in technology?
As a child, I always liked puzzles and learning new things. A career in technology is full of endless opportunities to learn new things, try things out and see them do something real and useful in the world. I find a career in technology gives you the opportunity to learn new things every day and always challenges you to think and adapt.
- Who are the women in your life that have inspired you the most?
I look especially at women like Emmy Noether and Marie Curie who used their skills and knowledge to bring something new and unique to the world. This is especially impressive in a time and environment when women were in no way encouraged to pursue those kinds of interests. These women had a unique talent and used it to change forever the way we think about and understand the world.
In recent years, I have to respect the work of women like Sheryl Sandburg, Malala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama, who are all—in their own ways—tackling the problem of encouraging and enabling women in the world. We still have a long way to go in terms of encouraging women to explore their abilities and interests fully , and each of these women is trying to address that in their own ways.
- Do you believe that you have the same opportunities as men in tech?
I think we all have a unique set of opportunities and challenges.
We all fall into categories of identity whether due to age, race, gender, religion, disability, etc., and we know that, statistically, those categories provide us with advantages or disadvantages. The evidence that there are no perfect meritocracies is quite clear.
However, none of us is a statistic, and every human life has a unique set of circumstances behind it.
It's important to recognize and address the structural issues and to identify when they may be operating in our own lives, but we each have to chart an individual course through the obstacles we face.
- Why have you decided to found your own company?
Primarily, a combination of opportunity and need.
When we started AtScale, we saw a unique set of opportunities. Data sizes were increasing rapidly as companies scaled and digital technology further integrated into people's lives across the world. The emergence of public and private cloud computing was transforming the way people stored, accessed and shared that information. My cofounders and I came to understand that the existing technical solutions were no longer adequate, and there was a big gap emerging between what people needed to do and what the technology could do.
We saw this opportunity opening to solve a real problem and a market for a solution. Most important, we had a clear idea of what needed to happen to solve that problem, and I was confident that I had the understanding and skills to develop an effective solution. All the pieces were in place to try to really make something happen.
- What is your advice to young women, who want to start their own business in the technology sector?
I have a lot of thoughts here, but I'll try to keep it just to a few:
Identify the things that make you unique. Understand your strengths and challenges, both as a person and as a business.
Figure out how to build people and systems that allow you to focus on your strengths and allow others to complement you to mitigate your challenges.
Don't wait for someone else to give you permission: believe in yourself and be your own advocate.
Don't imagine that successful people you see are anything but other people who had their own doubts and weaknesses.
Let’s speak with Sarah on April 3 (Wednesday) at 19:00, at MOVE.BG, 20 Str Serdika, Sofia.
* Please, confirm your presence and save your seat by registering here.
She is Me by BCWT
She is Me by BCWT is a new evening format, an exclusive series of events addressing the challenges of the time we live in. It aims to create an environment in which, through the example of successful ladies, we encourage those who do not believe they can achieve success.
The format is of strategic importance for the positioning of women in the technology, entrepreneurship and science sectors. Ladies who have proven in these sectors will be presented to the public to be promoted and turned into role models with a wide range of responses.
We will have the opportunity to understand how to overcome the challenges of the road, especially those that men do not encounter, to get answers to their questions and to meet others like us who want to develop and look for ways to make it worthwhile.