Throughout our crowdfunding campaign we'll be interviewing leaders and upcoming women in the UK tech industry, asking how they got involved in tech and the importance of role models.
In our first interview we speak to Marija Butkovic, former legal professional and current Wearable Tech specialist.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you're working on
I'm a digital marketing and business consultant who has worked across a range of projects in different industry sectors, including legal, journalism, tech, IoT, wearable tech and fashion. I am a co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella - a wearable tech startup behind the world's smartest fashion tech umbrella, and Women of Wearables - UK’s and Europe’s first organisation aiming to support, connect and mentor women in wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT and VR/AR.
I'm member of Tech London Advocates - an organisation aiming to support technology startups in finding new investment, new talent and achieving high growth and Women Techmakers - Google’s global program providing visibility, community and resources for women in technology. I also currently work with startup accelerators and incubators in London and worldwide on delivering help as a mentor and advisor.
2. How did you first get involved in tech?
After graduating from the law university and spending eight years working as a legal professional, in 2014 I decided to pursue my career in tech. My transition to tech has been gradual, so I first started mentoring startups and writing for tech and business media titles. In 2014 I moved to London and co-founded Kisha Smart Umbrella, a wearable tech business with five of my friends and co-founders. I instantly fell in love with wearable tech, an industry that has great potential of beautifully merging the visual with tech, and to enhance our daily lives at the same time.
I also decided to direct my efforts to digital marketing and PR, and at that point I knew my real passion was supporting, creating and building communities. My experience as a co-founder of Kisha helped me realise just how difficult it can be for women in the tech world, which is still very male-dominated.
In 2016 I met my co-founder Michelle Hua, and we co-founded Women of Wearables (or just WoW, as we call it), an organisation that supports, connects and inspires women in wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, VR, AR and STEM in general. Our mission, first and foremost, is to encourage more women and diverse teams to participate in building hardware and software products as designers, product managers and developers or to be founders of their own companies, which will create more jobs for women in STEM.
3. Why are role models so important? Can you give us an example of how a role model has influenced you and your career?
Role models are very important for women, especially at the very young age. When we think about role models for young girls, those are very often their mothers and teachers, which makes it even more important to encourage more women into STEM as they could become role models for their own daughters.
A lot of my female colleagues here in London are my inspiration. They are all everyday women who have managed to find their way in the tech world and have achieved so much. Dr Sue Black, for example, who was a single mum living in a women’s refuge, but later graduated with a computing degree and earned her PhD in Engineering. She is a big advocate for mothers in tech, which has led her to start the #TechMums organisation. In general, I’m always inspired by everyday “ordinary” women who achieved so much as mothers, business women and still have time for friends and themselves, yet don’t have whole army of support behind them, I think that’s just amazing.
You can find Marija on Twitter as @MarijaButkovic