Welcome back to the Bryq Blog, where we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month!
We are excited to bring you the next installment of our Women’s History Month Interview Series. This week, we sat down with the woman behind the Bryq product herself – Bryq’s Head of Product, Manto Papagianni!
Since her arrival, Manto has led Bryq’s product team to the greatest heights they have ever seen. Thanks to her leadership, Bryq has successfully designed, developed, and implemented new product features like our employer dashboard and the Bryq 9-box. It’s clear that Bryq’s talent intelligence would only be what it is today because of her input and hard work.
Take a look at what she had to say below!
What obstacles have you faced in your career that you wish to eradicate for the next generation of female leaders?
Manto Papagianni: Reflecting on my experiences, one of the biggest challenges I encountered was the reluctance to trust a woman’s judgment in business decisions. This became particularly evident in settings dominated by men, where the presence of a dynamic and assertive woman who presented compelling arguments and actionable insights was often met with surprise or even resistance. Because of this, I realized the support of male allies was often necessary to persuade my audience.
As a result, demonstrating my value to upper management throughout my career has been a persistent challenge. Yet, despite these obstacles, I must acknowledge that this distrust is gradually fading, which is one of the many reasons why I appreciate working at Bryq. I feel empowered to freely and confidently express my opinion without fear of judgment and needing external validation to be heard.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about being a female leader in a male-dominated industry?
Manto Papagianni: As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, I derive profound satisfaction from triumphing over privileged opponents. Think of it like the mouse in a game of “cat and mouse.” The mouse inevitably finds a way out, even when faced with a seemingly invincible adversary. The resulting victory holds a greater significance, given the odds against you.
On the other hand, my least favorite thing about being a female leader in a male-dominated industry is the constant struggle to combat gender obliviousness. Especially since many men still believe in the myth of a level playing field and view “gender” as synonymous with “women.” As a result, there is often resistance to corrective measures such as gender targets at work.
What are some small or big ways you believe companies can better uplift and empower their female workforce?
There are several ways in which companies can uplift and empower their female workforce, ranging from small to significant measures. However, I will focus on the most important to me:
- Establish gender diversity targets and hold leaders accountable for meeting them: Setting clear and measurable targets for gender diversity in hiring, promotions, and leadership positions can encourage companies to prioritize gender equality. Additionally, holding leaders accountable for meeting these targets helps ensure the company is progressing toward creating a more equitable workplace.
- Encouraging flexible work arrangements: Flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or job sharing, can help women balance work and personal responsibilities, improving their job satisfaction and productivity.
- Providing family-friendly policies: Family-friendly policies, such as parental leave, on-site childcare, and lactation rooms, can help women balance work and family responsibilities, improving their retention and engagement with the company.
- Offering leadership and skills development programs: Companies can provide leadership and skills development programs that cater specifically to women, such as training on negotiation skills, public speaking, and effective communication.
Companies can help uplift and empower their female workforce by implementing these and other measures!
What strengths do women bring to the workplace?
Manto Papagianni: Women have many strengths that can enhance the performance and productivity of teams and organizations. Multitasking, managing priorities, and time management are some of the skills that women naturally excel at, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency. In addition, effective communication is another critical skill women bring to the table, including the ability to actively listen, provide constructive feedback, and convey complex ideas clearly and concisely. Women are also adept at building strong relationships and supportive networks, contributing to a positive workplace culture and improving teamwork. Moreover, women possess empathy and emotional intelligence, enabling them to read and respond to the emotional needs of colleagues and clients, leading to improved customer service and client satisfaction.
Collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity are intrinsic traits of many women, allowing for more effective team results and fostering a critical yet constructive approach to problems, leading to innovative solutions and new ways of thinking. While these are just a few examples of the strengths that women bring to the workplace, companies need to recognize and value them to create a more inclusive and diverse workplace culture, benefiting all employees and the organization.
Manto is already hard at work planning the direction of the Bryq product going forward into 2023 and beyond. We cannot wait to see how Manto further evolves Bryq in the future!
Tune in next week for the final volume of our Women’s History Month interview series with Bryq’s VP of Customer Success, Lina Valmas!