To mark International Women’s Day, we asked some of Mend’s talented women what drew them to working in technology, their professional highlights and challenges, and insights and advice on building a career in technology. Here’s what they had to say.
Vered Shaked, EVP Strategy and Corporate Development, was attracted to Mend’s leading position in a flourishing domain, as well as the opportunity to lead a long-term strategic journey for the company’s next wave of growth. Additionally, the people-centric approach of CEO Rami Sass was a deciding factor. “Since I tend to value people I work with as a key aspect of any role, when I first met Rami, I pretty much made up my mind,” she said.
For Adi Matalon, software developer in R&D, technology has long been a primary interest. “I was always passionate about technology because it has the power to improve people’s lives and solve real-world problems,” she said. She discovered coding at school, which led her to become a software developer.
Maria Korlotian gravitated toward a career in technology thanks to the influence of her parents, one artistically minded and the other scientifically minded. “Exposure to both types of thinking sparked my interest in technology,” said Korlotian, who leads a development team of analysts, researchers, and software engineers. “To me, computer science is a mix of logical thinking and creativity. I am also addicted to learning. Technology is a field that is constantly evolving, and you must stay up-to-date with the latest advances.”
The fit with Mend was therefore natural for Korlotian. “Mend uses the most advanced tech stack I have ever seen and constantly pushes the boundaries of what is possible,” she said. “Being at the forefront of technology is incredibly exciting, and it offers a clear path for progression and development.”
For Shaked, her first boss in a US investment banking firm was a major influence in her career development. “He was a true believer in giving me autonomy. He enabled me to shape my role, explore new initiatives, and grow as much as I wanted to,” she said. “He created an environment in which I didn’t fear to fail.” With his encouragement. Shaked joined the founding team of one of Israel’s leading venture capital firms, which he led.
Matalon’s studies gave her the opportunity to build an application user interface from scratch, in conjunction with Mend. The results are still being used in production by the security analytics team. Joining Mend was the logical next step to be at the forefront of protecting systems from vulnerabilities and threats.
Korlotian grew up in a village where specific subjects or careers were considered off-limits for girls. In her primary school, computer science classes were gender-segregated. But her parents’ friend taught computer science at another school and encouraged her interest.
Shaked’s professional highlights include becoming a partner of a leading VC fund before turning 30 and leading the creation of a market category for a digital adoption platform company. “But what I’m personally most proud of is my ability to get back to the high-tech market after three years of giving birth to my three children,” she said. “I returned to a highly demanding position in investor relations for a NASDAQ company and went through a secondary offering with three infants at home.”
Matalon, meanwhile, is proud of the fact that her work was put into production and continues to be used as the company’s technology progresses.
Korlotian takes pride in following her chosen path despite the skepticism she encountered about becoming a mechatronic engineer. “Determination and persistence allowed me to stay true to my goals and make an impact,” she said.
The biggest career challenge for Shaked was accommodating the demands of work and family. “Compromising my career was not an option for me,” she said. “High tech is the most fast-changing industry. To be part of a leading team you have to keep up with everything that is happening. For women, maternity leave and finding the right family-work balance is an ongoing challenge.”
Breaking into the industry is also a big challenge for those starting out in their careers, Matalon observed. “I wasn’t sure if it was the right career choice for me, but luckily I found my first tech job at Mend, and I’m confident that I’m in the right place.” She agreed with Shaked that the challenge is to maintain work-life balance, especially for people with families. She said, “It’s important for a company to understand these needs.”
The speed of change is the biggest challenge in tech, said Korlotian. “Technology is advancing incredibly quickly, creating a constant need for learning and adaptation. It’s important to embrace this progress.”
Equality of opportunity is something that begins at home, says Shaked. “My daughter is 19 years old and a sister to 20 and 21-year-old boys. She won’t tolerate any gender stereotypes or discrimination from them, or from her parents, about whether a task is “for boys.” Unfortunately, I feel that many of my classmates at university didn’t realize their full potential. But I think this is changing nowadays because women themselves are more empowered and we certainly benefit from the increasing influence of diversity, equality, and inclusion initiatives.”
Matalon has also noticed a change for the better in the tech sector. “I think that recently companies have strived to create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture. There are now more opportunities for women to pursue careers in technology,” she said. “There are also more female role models in tech, who can inspire and encourage other women in this field.”
The way people work together has also changed significantly, according to Korlotian. “When I started my career, access to knowledge was somewhat limited. I learned programming primarily from books,” she said, “and software engineering was an isolated task.” Now it’s more collaborative. “It requires teamwork and interaction with other parts of the organization.” And remote work creates more career opportunities, as people aren’t limited to specific locations.
Shaked observes that diversity is critical to developing talent and building innovation. “Women add soft skills that are very important in managing people. Diversity and inclusion of people are driving forces behind a creative discussion and brainstorming that leads to great innovation. I’m proud to be working at a company that has 50 percent of its R&D management roles and 40 percent of its executive management filled by women.”
Matalon advised companies to promote gender diversity in leadership, provide mentorship for women, and offer flexible work arrangements to support work-life balance. “Leaders should actively seek out and promote diversity within their organizations by recruiting and hiring from a broad pool of candidates,” she said.
Korlotian urged companies to embrace people’s different talents to get the best out of their teams. She advised software team leaders to “always take the time to learn and be willing to listen. Highlight the unique strengths and talents in your team. Lead by example and empower people to make decisions.”
For people seeking to build a career in tech, Shaked said, “Be passionate enough to seek and learn more than your role. Understand the context, whether it’s a customer use case or the market dynamics, what I call “Zooming out.” Those who make a habit of doing this will gain an extra perspective that I believe is an important driver of success. Her closing insight is “Stay professionally focused. Always seek to add value and go and crush it!”
For Matalon, ongoing learning are key factors for achieving success. “Find a mentor or role model who can guide and support you as you grow in your career,” she advised. “Keep learning, because technology is constantly evolving, so it’s crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest developments.”
Korlotian concluded with a philosophical note that has a real impact in application security: “The shortcut often turns out to be the longest path.”