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We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us what we are. In this post, meet Rossitza Fakalieva, part of the Developer Tooling Product Development team and a passionate supporter of many tech initiatives.
Rossitza is a Director of Software Engineering on the Developer Tooling Product Development team and leads a team of 60 software engineers, developing components and tools such as Telerik UI for Xamarin, UWP, WinForms, WPF and Telerik JustMock. Rossitza has been working on our Progress Telerik tools since 2006.
Alongside with her work at Progress, Rossi is dedicated to different tech initiatives. She is part of the leadership team of the Bulgarian edition of Women Who Code, a global organization that supports women in the tech industry to grow and develop. Rossitza is also an organizer and a mentor at CoderDojo, an initiative that helps children take their first steps in programming.
Q: You are one of the directors of Women Who Code Bulgaria, part of the global initiative aiming to inspire women to grow and develop. Tell us more about that.
Women Who Code is a global nonprofit organization that has a mission to inspire women to excel in technology. Progress brought the initiative to my attention in 2018 and ever since I have recognized the cause as mine. We all know that there are significantly fewer women in the tech industry than men, so I believe it is important that we support each other. One way of doing this is by organizing events where we gather, share our professional experience and challenges, discuss the latest tech trends and how we can become better and better. You can find more about our events on Twitter, Facebook and Women Who Code’s official website.
Q: How did you become passionate about helping women in tech to grow? Have you ever felt in an inferior position only because you are a woman? Or the opposite – you have positive experience and want to spread it?
I have always had passion for stories with strong female leads in them. These stories inspire me not only in my career, but also in every aspect of my life.
At Progress, I have never felt in an inferior position. I feel that at Progress every opinion is heard, and people are important. Still, being a woman, I know that sometimes we are those who put barriers in front of ourselves, and we need a little more confidence to get over them. Moreover, for us it is more difficult to balance careers and staying up to date with technology and personal life, especially if you have children.
What motivates me to be part of Women Who Code is not only the opportunity to inspire other women. The events help them follow industry trends and are a source of technical expertise. Participating in those events boosts their confidence and helps them advance their careers.
Q: In what way did Progress support you in growing as a person and a professional?
The short answer is - in every way. Of course, different courses, books and learning materials can really help, and there are a lot of them, which is great. What most matters to me are the people I can learn from. I work with a lot of smart and interesting people, who challenge and inspire me to grow every day.
We all learn most from the challenging situations that make us get out of comfort zone. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned at Progress is how to handle difficult conversations and how to approach different situations. Overcoming challenges is the most effective way to grow and something that brings me personal gratification.
Another thing that is invaluable for one’s growth is the freedom to be creative and realize your ideas and aspirations – something we can boast with at Progress. I’ve had the opportunity to organize several events in the office with the Women Who Code and CoderDojo initiatives as well as some internal events such as Creative Days and live watch parties of global conferences, including .NETConf and the Visual Studio 2019 Launch. This is one of the things that differentiates Progress as a great place to work.
Q: In addition to your women in the tech activities, you also lead a programming course for kids, ages 6-10, part of the global CoderDojo initiative. What inspired you to start off that?
I learned about CoderDojo from social media and what inspired me was the opportunity to reveal the technology world to kids, and show them that they can create everything they want. It is so inspiring to see children taking their first steps in programming and experimenting with this whole new world for them!
Technology and programming empower you to achieve so many things. Every kid should have the opportunity to experience that and get to know the tech world and the wonders it brings. I believe that a part of our mission of being humans is to support and motivate others to develop themselves and this is my way of doing that. I started as a mentor for several Dojo initiatives, and so far I have organized one CoderDojo at Progress in our office. My friends from Progress attend courses every time and bring along their children. I am thankful to have their support.
Q: You seem to be quite a busy person. How do you balance your work, social activities and personal life?
The truth is I do not always succeed in that. I am lucky that some of the initiatives I’m involved in and organize overlap with my personal plans. For example, my kid always attends the CoderDojo courses we organize during the weekend at the office and he already knows the office space very well. My colleagues are my friends and they always support me in my social activities. I like the way things are.
Magdalena Nonova is part of the Global Communications team at Progress. She is focused on external communications and organizing events. Passionate about technology and writing, she loves bringing out the best news and stories about Progress.
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