Introducing Women in Tech: Meet the Inspiring Women of Customertimes
Customertimes is fortunate to have some incredible women on our team. They’re industry leaders, trailblazers, and technology innovators, and they help us deliver outstanding business results day in and day out.
We’re using this series to introduce them and give them a chance to share why they love what they do. Up first: Mariia Chernova, Salesforce Practice Head for CT.
Name: Mariia Chernova
Title: Salesforce Practice Head
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Years with CT: 6.5
Customertimes: Welcome, Mariia! Thank you for being part of this. Let’s start with your background. How did you end up at CT?
Mariia Chernova: Actually, my background is in the world of science! I have a PhD in Mathematical Physics and a Master's degree in Finance. I’ve had a chance to work in several different fields, and I know that each step in my career has given me experience that helps me in my current role.
I started my IT journey by working as a business analyst while I was getting my PhD. I worked in the insurance industry (which is why insurance agents are scared of me!), and then I became an IT lecturer for medical and pharma students. While I was a lecturer, I ran an event planning company and learned Java. So, lots of multi-tasking!
I joined CT as a Salesforce developer at a time when we only had 10 people working in Salesforce development in the Kyiv office. Before long, I began the CT Salesforce consulting practice in Ukraine from scratch. I helped grow the development team and worked as the Solution Architect on several enterprise projects. In late 2019, I was promoted to CT’s global Head of Salesforce Practice.
CT: What are your responsibilities at CT?
MC: Basically I’m in charge of everything related to Salesforce for all of Customertimes. That includes pre-sale support for the Sales team, new project resourcing, managing and sharing our collective expertise, and supporting the HR and recruitment teams in Practice growth strategy. Practice growth is fairly new for CT, so I anticipate that area will increase over the next year.
CT: Why are you passionate about your career?
MC: Well, I love to build new things and create process out of chaos. And what I love about Customertimes is that I have many opportunities to try out new ideas. It’s exciting to know that innovative ideas are always welcome. They give us space to experiment and implement new things.
CT: Were you always interested in a career in technology, or did you have other plans when you were younger?
MC: I was more focused on science when I was younger, but I liked technology as well. I have no regrets about switching to IT.
CT: Why is technology an exciting vertical right now?
MC: As we’ve all seen over the last year, the world is moving online. You’ll be hard pressed to find any innovation today that isn’t driven by technology. Even in the scientific world, all modern research and discoveries are powered by technology, so being part of the technology vertical puts you on the frontlines of innovation. It’s exciting!
CT: What would you tell women who are considering a career in technology?
MC: Don’t be afraid to be the best! IT is not just a man’s world. If you are passionate about technology, don’t second guess yourself. You are smart and capable, and you can be successful.
CT: What sort of training/education do you recommend for tech careers?
MC: Technology changes so quickly, so you can’t just complete a course and be done: it’s a journey of continuous learning. But it’s critical to have a strong foundation, like a Master’s in computer science or a related field.
Of course, as part of the Salesforce community, I recommend Salesforce Trailhead for anyone who wants to begin a career in IT or expand their existing knowledge.
CT: Is there someone who has been instrumental in helping you reach your current position?
MC: I definitely don’t believe in the concept of a self-made person. Each of us has a long list of people who’ve influenced our career, helped us grow, and given us direction. It’s too difficult for me to highlight just one mentor, but I’m very grateful to all the people who supported and challenged my ideas along the way.
CT: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
MC: This is not an easy task! Usually, we are connected day and night, working with people in different time zones. Sometimes the weekend is the only time I can catch up on work without having meetings scheduled.
But what is sacred for me is my vacation time. This is when I switch off all devices and completely recharge.
There are also two important things I do to help protect my time during the day. The first is how I build my team and my processes. I try to make sure that any one of my everyday tasks can be delegated. That way, everyone isn’t waiting on me to clear up a “task bottleneck.” The tasks that must belong to me exclusively can wait until the end of my vacation!
The second key to my success is my husband! When we’re on vacation, I put everything away so I’m not distracted by anything related to my job.