Gulnaz Khusainova

Tell us your story.

I was always a nerdy kid. When I was 12-ish, I read Dr. Philip Kotler’s “Marketing Management” book, which absolutely changed my mindset. It contained business practices of multibillion corporations, like Coca-Cola, Ford etc. Most importantly the book showed their path from the beginning – how their founders started the business, how they tried to find their customers etc. Reading that book made me realise, that even the largest companies in the world, started as startups. That was the moment, when I decided to try it – start my own company and make it successful.

Of course, I “had to wait”, and, in fact, it took almost 7 years before I was able to make my dream come true. I always wanted to be able make changes, it was usually impossible to do or do fast in companies I worked in. I often felt as a screw-bolt in a huge machine, failing to make things better and different. Starting my own business, where I would be responsible and able to make a difference, felt like a right decision. So I started it when I was 19. I ended up making all cliche mistakes, all first-time founders do. It’s been a great lesson and a learning experience for me, and it made me “addicted to entrepreneurship”.

I like “fixing things” and challenging myself. In my company we help fashion online shops to solve one of the biggest and, perhaps, the most mysterious problems – sizing and fit in clothing. Working in tech for 7 years and running my 3rd company helped me today to be more confident, yet open-minded and willing to change.

What advice to you have to share with other women and young girls?

Despite all potential struggles and stereotypes, working in tech and digital is great. First of all, it’s constantly moving and changing environment. Every day there are new products and services popping out, so to be in “a good shape” you have to follow it. It makes you mobile, open minded and able to accept changes.

Secondly, it allows you (depending on your work) to be in the first row for new technologies, be one of the first adaptors. I personally like this feeling of being a step ahead and being able sneakily see, what people will be using in a few months or years from now.

And finally, it’s people. The tech community gathers millions of creators and people taking chances. Currently this crowd is not that diverse, as I would like to see it, but hopefully it will be really soon.

I don’t think, I have a lesson or a piece of advice to share, but I’m following a few simple rules helping me in my career.

1. Never stop learning. Often women have to prove, that we’re professional enough to do our job, and put more effort in than our male colleagues. It’s always easier to fight with facts against emotions / stereotypes, so I try to be productive and use my time to become an expert and constantly learn something new. I listen to podcasts, read articles and books, and I try to learn something new everyday

2. Surround yourself with the right people. Everyone can have their own definition of the “right people”. For me it’s important that people around inspire me and in general are decent human beings. I also think, that in order to constantly improve yourself, you shouldn’t be the smartest person in the room – choose people, who can motivate you to become a better person.

3. Don’t let stereotypes affect your life. It’s hard to fight stereotypes, but it’s not something that will stop me.

4. Work hard. Nothing can be achieved without hard work.

Pass it on!

There are now more and more women working and starting companies tech in the Nordics and Denmark. Hopefully, this number will be constantly growing with a help of organisations and people in the region.

The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond ‘traditional’ technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively ‘stand up’, be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the ‘tech space’ to get involved.

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