Women in Tech: Svetlana Makhlysheva
What does it take to have a successful career in tech? The women of Customertimes are here to help. Our team is made up of some incredible women who happen to be industry leaders, trailblazers, and technology innovators that help us deliver outstanding business results every day.
This series gives them a chance to introduce themselves and share why they love what they do. Up next: Svetlana Makhlysheva
Name: Svetlana Makhlysheva
Title: Project Manager/Senior Business Analyst
Location: New York, NY
Years with CT: 10
Customertimes: Thanks for joining us, Svetlana! You’ve been with Customertimes for 10 years already. What brought you here?
Svetlana Makhlysheva: Well, 10 years ago, I graduated as an engineer-physicist and started my PhD in theoretical physics. At the same time, I was looking for a job. I didn’t know anything about IT! I assumed that I could only get a job in IT if I knew how to write code: I didn’t know that IT also included business analysis, project management, quality assurance, sales, marketing, etc.
Fortunately, CT found my CV on a job site and invited me to interview for a position in the sales department. I didn’t know anything about CRM or Salesforce, but I really liked the people I met at the interview. They were open, friendly, and passionate about their jobs. Plus, they had that air of IT mystery around them, and I thought that I’d really like to join them. I fell in love with Customertimes and Salesforce at first sight, and here I am now!
CT: Tell us about your current role. What are you responsible for?
SM: I spend a lot of time in meetings with customers and my technical team. With the customers, we discuss their needs and goals, and then I communicate their requirements to the tech team. We work together to create a custom solution. As project manager, I’m responsible for the project timeline, resources, and budget, and I make sure communication between all parties goes smoothly.
CT: What do you enjoy most about your job?
SM: I enjoy the process of creating something that’s extremely helpful. I love to meet with the technical team, brainstorm solution options, and then get positive feedback from the customer about the job my team and I have done.
CT: Did you ever think your career would look like it does now?
SM: I was never interested in technology before I joined CT! And it was actually quite difficult to explain to my parents what I did at work. When my relatives hear that I work in sales at an IT company, I think several of them imagine me going door to door to sell something like a vacuum cleaner.
CT: Why is CT an exciting place to work right now?
SM: The company keeps growing, and we have lots of opportunities for the people here to grow along with it. You can get expertise and experience in many different areas and work with customers that are the best in their industries, and all of that is at the international level.
CT: What would you tell women who are considering a career in technology?
SM: If you’re interested in IT, don’t hesitate to give it a try! Be brave and curious – it's not nearly as difficult or complicated as it seems from the outside.
If you don’t have years of formal IT education, that is ok. Join the IT field as a sales, HR, or marketing person, and then figure out how to switch to a more technical role. You can also take short-term courses that will allow you to work as a support agent or a QA engineer.
CT: Is there someone who has been helpful in your career development?
SM: Roman Khudyakov, CTO at Customertimes, taught me to be bold when I’m trying to achieve a goal, and he also taught me a lot about customer relationship management. My colleagues here taught me about IT from scratch, and I’m very grateful for that! I’m also grateful to my customers for trusting me and empowering me to keep doing what I do.
CT: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
SM: Let’s be honest – I'm a bit crazy about my work, so finding work/life balance has been challenging for me. After I became a mom last year, my priorities shifted significantly: now I shut down my laptop 5 minutes before the babysitter leaves so I can disconnect from all work tasks. I think that being a working mom taught me how to set the right priorities at work and in my personal life. It wasn’t easy to get to that point, but in the end, I became a better version of myself. And when I have free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading books, and dancing Argentine tango.
CT: What do you think is key to being successful at your job?
SM: It’s simple - you need to love what you do. When you love what you do, you’re highly engaged in it, you do your best work, and you pursue new learning opportunities, which is critical right now. The people you work with will see your attitude, and the career growth and the promotions just come along.