As part of International Women’s Day we thought it would be an idea to have a chat with one of our inspirational women entrepreneurs who has left the LSE family to join the world of the startups and become a successful female innovator!
Eva is a graduate of MSc Media and Communications (2015) where she focused on human-computer interaction and strategy. Usually seen in women-in-tech meetups, walking around Clerkenwell taking photos, or reading magazines, Eva also works at one of London’s most exciting startups, Lost My Name, during the day (the co-founder of which is also an LSE alum – so keeping it in the family!)
Her entrepreneurial projects include side projects (currently creating a brand and co-developing a website for a photographer) and her ideal type of project would involve her contributing to the community, especially the underrepresented in technology, by organising workshops that unite strategic comms, web development, and human-shaped solutions. As if that wasn’t enough, Eva’s work ethic and inquisitive nature has also motivated her to take programming classes and she is fast becoming an avid coder.
Want to know more? We thought you might!
Eva, describe your entrepreneurial career path in three words
Learning, process, team
What is the best thing about working for an exciting start up like Lost My Name?
It’s the amazing people you get to work with! The startup world is one of closely-knitted teams and cross-team collaboration which is, in my view, the best thing about working in this sphere.
It feels as though you’re part of a large family, where each person is selflessly collaborating with a diverse set of colleagues to create successful outcomes. Both at Lost My Name and my previous team, a Swedish startup accelerator Fast Track Malmö, I’ve been surrounded by super friendly, smart individuals who are doing their best and are happy to help. You’re encouraged to solve problems both autonomously and through collaboration.
What’s the worst thing?!
Your work bears great responsibility, especially if you’re part of a small team. We’re a team of two in PR and sometimes things get busy, especially when it’s time to launch Christmas campaigns. Working in a startup can be chaotic but the quality of knowledge and experience you can gain throughout is, in my view, unmatched. Continuous assessment of opportunities and risks, and making productive decisions are part of our everyday tasks. On the other hand, wellbeing is vital and some companies address this too. At Lost My Name we do yoga class on Mondays which is one of the ways we keep centred and calm.
Have you come across any observations or experiences as a woman in a male-heavy tech-driven industry?
Yes, both positive and negative. This is an area I’m very passionate about.
Recently, a chilling blog post by a former Uber engineer has gone viral which you might have seen. Her depiction of the toxic work environment she’d experienced, served as a reminder for tech companies to look into their practices and improve the conditions for females, males, everyone really. It’s important to realise that gender encompasses not just females – and it exists in intersections with other identities like race, ethnicity, sexuality, therefore solving gender-related issues is a compound process.
There’s a couple of observations I’ve come across in the industry. Some are subtle indicators of power dynamics like a lack of female bathrooms, to direct indicators like inappropriate comments and the few women in managerial roles. Yes, gender inequality is an industry problem. It’s also a societal problem which isn’t limited to the tech-driven industry.
In fact, positive trends can be spotted which might be uncommon in other industries. For example, the flexible working hours that tech companies like Lost My Name offer are especially helpful for working mothers, enabling them to return to full-time work. We still have many glass ceilings to break but this a step in the right direction. Other initiatives in the industry include coding classes that facilitate the growth of a diverse tech community, like Codebar and Rails Girls London (these are free too!) As a regular participant, I highly recommend these events. They’re an eye opener and many females who were previously discouraged from technical tasks – say, due of the lack of female role models (for now) – are loving it!
Creating an environment in which we all feel appreciate, valued, and respected is a joint responsibility. Change is on the rise, but there is still a long way to go.
What would be your top advice for any female entrepreneurs thinking about launching their own startup?
Launch your product-service and see what happens. This will be a good test in itself. However, I also strongly recommend researching how your idea feeds into people’s practices prior to launch. Is this something the audience you envisioned would use? I’ve seen some startups fail. A few of those produced technically sophisticated products but those weren’t used by their target audience. I believe that a human-centered approach to product development and strategy can help remedy such gap, by revealing potential users’ actual needs, wants, and practices.
Also, there’s an amazing community in London and elsewhere that can support you. This brings me to another bit of advice which might sound obvious: if you come across an interesting professional, contact them! People are happy to share experiences and generally have 10-15 minutes to spare.
Did anything from your time at LSE shape your career decisions?
The focus of my degree alone. Focused on human-computer interaction, I wrote my dissertation on how to research users’ interactions with technologies. This experience-driven approach is something that informs both my daily work in strategic comms and projects like an app proposal we did with a couple of colleagues (also at LSE, more information about the app is available in case you’re interested). LSE offers cross-field opportunities. Pivotal to my career decisions was LSE Generate, courses in comms, coding bootcamps, and most importantly – people! During my time at LSE, I connected with ambitious, like-minded people and we keep in touch.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Also, I’d like to contribute to the community by organising workshops for aspiring individuals, especially the underrepresented in tech. These would be designed to help more people enter the tech world, by offering cross-field workshops in the areas of strategy, experience-led approach, and web development. My aim is to go beyond coding classes and offer insights into the variety of possibilities that the tech world offers. Another outcome would be connecting the participants with the community and supporting new project launches.
And a little PS from Eva:
Hey, reader, if you have similar interests, do contact me. I’m always excited to meet new people!
There you go – there’s your first lead!
Happy International Women’s Day everyone!
We have a whole day of exciting events off- and online as part of International Women’s Day – check out CareerHub for booking details and event information and hopefully see lots of you there! #BeBoldForChange #lsegeneratewomen