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In honor of Women’s History Month and inspired by the United Nations theme of “Women in Leadership: Achieving An Equal Future In A COVID-19 World,” we’ll be featuring five of Codility’s inspirational leaders. Each week in March, we’ll share these Q&A sessions to inspire, encourage, and support anyone in tech looking to elevate their leadership skills.
Our ever inspirational and supportive CEO, Natalia Panowicz, kicks off this series below!
1. What is your role at Codility, and what do you aspire to do in tech?
As CEO, my role is to define our company’s ambition and direction. My main job is to build and nurture a high-performing executive team. I feel responsible for shaping our values and standards. I build relationships with investors, fundraise, and represent our company externally.
Since I met our founder Greg back in 2012, I fell in love with the problem that Codility is solving, namely how to help engineering teams scale efficiently and quickly. We’re here to help increase the world’s problem-solving capacity by helping our customers scale their engineering organizations and build high-performing, diverse teams. We’re leveling the playing field for engineers from underrepresented groups and non-typical backgrounds since it’s their pure ability that matters, nothing else.
Beyond Codility, I hope to encourage as many people as possible to build workplaces where everybody can be their full, best self.
2. What advice would you give someone who is aspiring to grow in their leadership responsibilities?
Focus on the purpose and nurture a high-performing team; it shouldn’t be about you. What we know from a vast body of research is that high-performing teams have both a high degree of psychological safety and accountability. Make sure you help your team advance in both.
In parallel, the more you grow as a human being, the more you are free from dysfunctional patterns and blind spots, the better you can serve your team. Personal growth is painful but worth it. Nourishing relationships in your private life, kindness, and a healthy body and mind help a lot. You may also want to find a mentor, coach, or therapist to help you on this journey.
3. What has been a challenge in your career, and how did you overcome it?
I joined Codility straight from business school in my mid-20s. My job has always been bigger than my skill set, and I had to grow quickly and constantly. In recognizing my limitations, I’ve always strived to build a strong team around me that consists of people with deeper skill sets and experience. My focus has been to create an environment for my team to perform at their best.
4. What are some strategies you’ve implemented that have helped create a safe environment that fosters diverse ideas & promotes authenticity?
It’s a process and needs constant nurturing. As an organization, at times, we’re doing great – at times, we’re falling short and need to change course. From my experience, it’s so helpful when leaders are kind, genuinely curious about other people, and allow themselves to be vulnerable. This way, everybody else on their team feels safer to bring their real selves to work.
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