In the April 2018 issue of WiFi HiFi Magazine, we highlighted excerpts from our interviews with several influential women in the tech industry in Canada. We published our full Q&As with each of these women, and are now highlighting additional women in Canadian tech. Here, we chat with Tamar Bercovici, Senior Director, Engineering at Box, a cloud content management and file sharing service for businesses
Name: Tamar Bercovici
Job Title: Senior Director, Engineering, Box
Years in the Industry: 10+
The Quote That Most Inspires You: "Don't leave before you leave" (Sheryl Sandberg)
What drew you to a career in the technology industry?
Both my parents have PhDs in Computer Science, so it was very natural for me. There was a while there when I thought I would come up with a better idea, but I ultimately had to concede that they had actually gotten it right.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
No, I haven't.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
Authenticity is very important to me, and although that is not unique to being a woman, it also means that I've never felt the need to hide or modify who I am. As a leader, being authentic demonstrates to my team that they can also be authentic, and that their unique perspective will be valued. We even have a corporate value for this at Box, "Bring your ___ self to work." It's one of my favourites.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs in order to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
It's important to remember that Computer Science was not always a male-dominated field, and that in fact, many of our earliest pioneers were women. Showcasing them as well as women technology leaders today starts to shift the narrative around who a technologist is. In addition to attracting women to the field, we need to focus on retaining and investing in the women we have. One area that is impactful is focusing on how to best support parents. This can span improvements to leave and childcare benefits, educating managers on how to support new parents, and most importantly, creating a culture that affords flexibility and values over hours in the office. These types of investments are beneficial not just for parents, but for everyone, and ultimately make for a healthier and more engaged team.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
I wake up every morning and get to go work with an incredible team of smart, motivated, passionate people tackling interesting and hard technical challenges, building a product that benefits millions of people. It's an amazing experience, and a great privilege.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you? If so, why? If not, why do you feel that is?
Many! But none more so than the amazing women I get to work with every day at Box.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
I am very much an optimist. We've already come so far in leveraging technology to remove barriers, provide access to information, connect people, and increase the speed of innovation. We have hard problems that we need to tackle, but we also have more and more people able to channel their creative energy into pushing us forward.