#InspireHER: Celebrating Women in Tech

8th March 2024

Blog post

As we celebrate International Women's Day 2024, we are thrilled to introduce our new series, #InspireHER, dedicated to spotlighting the journeys, experiences, and insights of women making waves in the tech industry. In a field traditionally dominated by men, these remarkable women have shattered barriers, overcome challenges, and emerged as inspirations for others.

Our inaugural interview features Mandana Khamanaee, Dynamics CRM Analyst at RED Global, whose journey into tech began unexpectedly. 

Throughout her career, Mandana has navigated challenges common to many women in the industry, from finding a sense of belonging to advocating for herself in male-dominated spaces. Instead of succumbing to these obstacles, Mandana sought to build communities and support networks, emphasising the importance of collaboration and shared experiences.

Mandana's story highlights the need for organisations to create inclusive environments and provide support systems for women in tech. She emphasises the value of mentorship and the importance of pursuing one's passion regardless of challenges.

Join us as we delve into Mandana's journey, her insights on diversity and inclusion in tech, and her advice for aspiring women in the industry. 

Let her story be a beacon of inspiration for all women in tech, reminding us that with determination and passion, anything is possible. #InspireHER


1. Welcome Mandana to our inaugural interview for InspireHER, our series dedicated to celebrating Women in Tech.  Can you share with us how you began your journey into tech?

It was completely accidental actually. At 22, fresh out of university with a degree in Filmmaking, I was hesitant about diving into the world of filmmaking as I found it quite daunting. 

So, I held off on filmmaking and got a job at a cinema. Initially, I managed cinema operations and later transitioned into a sales admin role, which involved handling the CRM system. I found myself drawn to the intricacies of CRM management and gradually developed a passion for it.

This is where my appreciation for collaborative working developed, as well as my desire to understand exactly how things work. This led to learning about Dynamics and kick started my tech journey as I took it upon myself to learn the system to support my team better. 

As I delved deeper, I realised my affinity for working with people and fostering collaboration through CRM.

2. As a woman in a male dominated industry, have you faced any challenges related to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

It’s hugely important for me to be in an environment where I know I belong, without having to change who I am as a person, and without feeling conscious of my gender.

So, a big challenge for me has been finding a professional environment that allowed development and offered a sense of belonging. 

A recurring challenge for me previously was the belief that I was the problem when work environments weren’t right. I couldn’t recognise that external factors, such as workplace culture or industry norms, were contributing to the challenges I was having in the workplace. 

Sadly, many women leave the tech industry due to unfit environments, lack of support, or limited development opportunities.

Rather than leaving though, I sought to build a community with women to share experiences. I connected with both women and a few close male colleagues, initiating conversations about shared challenges. It often revealed disparities, where male colleagues found things easier, offering advice that didn't always align with my experiences. Through this I learned to trust my instincts, stand up for myself and move on from organisations where I felt I could not make a difference. 

3. In your opinion, what initiatives or strategies could organisations implement to encourage more women to pursue careers in tech?

I think organisations need to provide for the needs of women in the professional environment. We all struggle with work-life balance and the lack of flexibility in working can greatly affect the choices women make when it comes to their career. I think organisations should offer adequate maternity leave time and flexible working hours to allow women the choice to have children as well as a career in tech. 

4. Can you discuss any mentorship or support networks that have been valuable to you in your career?

Having friends in the tech industry, like my housemate who also works in IT, helps in having that supportive environment where we can discuss shared experiences. My other friends work in different sectors like cinema management and insurance, but their perspectives still offer valuable insights as women face common challenges across many industries.

While I'd love more female friends in tech, it's rare due to the industry's dynamics. Moving from a job to another often means losing touch with former colleagues turned friends. However, having a support system, even if it's small, is important for navigating the tech industry as a woman.

5. Can you tell us about a recent achievement that you're proud of?

Joining RED Global has been a big achievement in my career. My current role has given me the opportunity to join a fantastic and welcoming team. My managers, Noe and Manu have given mentorship that has helped me develop and grow into a role I found daunting at first. Right from the interview stage, I felt a connection with Manu and Noe. They were upfront about the challenges ahead but assured me of their support. Despite being in a mostly male IT team, I felt at ease from the start.

Working at RED really challenged my belief that I didn't belong in the tech world. I became confident in my abilities and discovered my knack for connecting with others. Before RED, CRM was just a job; now, it's a passion intertwined with my identity

6. How do you think diversity and inclusion impact innovation and success within tech companies?

Diversity and inclusion have a big impact on the culture of an organisation. Without this organisations risk creating a limited environment that lack creativity and nuance. 

What's great about RED is the diverse backgrounds of my colleagues. It makes you feel like you belong to something bigger. 

7. What do you believe are the most exciting opportunities for women in the tech industry today?

I think there are exciting opportunities in every tech sector, whether these are for leadership positions or engineering roles. I personally believe there are a lot of amazing opportunities in the CRM industry such as CRM Project Management and Solution Architecture roles, that I find particularly interesting.

In the CRM industry there are endless development opportunities. Whether you're into project management, solution architecture, system design, or consulting, there's a niche for everyone. The beauty is that you don't need a specific degree or engineering background to join and it's open to diverse backgrounds. I think it’s important not to create unnecessary barriers and make people feel like they don't belong based on certain criteria, as seen in more engineering-focused tech jobs. The entry path is open for anyone passionate and willing to learn.

8. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the tech industry?

I cannot comment on the tech industry as a whole, but for the industry I am a part of, I rely on online communities and forums both for advice on problem solving and what is next in CRM technology.

9. What advice would you give to young women aspiring to enter the tech industry?

This may sound slightly cheesy….no matter at what stage of career or life you are at, it is never too late or too early to join the tech industry. Do not doubt yourself by the challenges that may be ahead and follow your passion! 

Thank you, Mandana, for sharing your insights and experiences with us. Your voice is an invaluable addition to the #InspireHER series, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate the achievements of women in tech.

Watch this space for more Women in Tech interviews. 

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