In the Women in Business edition of Coinslot, our Marketing Director, Diana Theodoridi shares her view along with other key women in the industry in a comprehensive series of interviews.
Coinslot: With IWD gaining traction year on year, are you seeing a shift in trends as far as prospects for women in businesses are concerned and are attitudes noticeably changing in favour of a more equitable dynamic?
DT: Clearly, during the last few decades we’ve seen many positive changes in terms of opportunities as well as representations of women in the business world. Without a doubt, the current landscape shows some positive signs which will help to shape future decades to come. And while discrepancies still exist in terms of representation and equality, a lot of progress has already been made on these fronts. What I’m seeing in the payments industry as well as in the gaming and casino sectors is that although there are certainly challenges that women face, there are also plenty of positive to focus on. These include a totally new approach to leadership – it’s the soft skills that can make a difference and believe me we score high on nearly all emotional intelligence competencies. – adding more to diversity and inclusion while also changing social norms.
Coinslot: Last year, contributors to Coinslot’s Women in Business feature gave the industry a “can do better’ report. So, have we done better? Where are we seeing progress and how can we break the glass ceiling in more resistant areas?
DT: Absolutely – we have done better. This is what I am experiencing in the organisation that I’m an active member of and what I’m seeing in payments, fintech and across the gaming landscape. At OKTO more and more women are joining the company in every different function and in senior roles – from software engineers and digital marketers to payment and banking experts as well as compliance and legal specialists. Actually, what I’m seeing is that there is no gender-dependent position, but it is the skills of each member that empowers each position.
Regarding the perceived ‘glass ceiling’ from my perspective this simply doesn’t exist. I have never treated my job as a woman’s position but instead as a person’s position. There are certain career goals that each of us is trying to reach. If a man can have it, we can too, and I’m sticking to this attitude, and I believe everyone should follow this regardless of gender. We need to consider ourselves equal players in the game – this is a state of mind. And if we follow this, it will become a reality.
Coinslot: Returning to some of the questions we posed last year, it would be interesting to see what’s changed over that time. From a personal perspective, do you still see gender challenges in action, and how do you manage them now?
DT: I will double down on what I said last year – one of the biggest challenges is the lack of self-confidence. This can hinder professional success. The specific challenge is a result of what was happening a few decades ago due to gender bias the unfavourable business environment and timidity but also the connection between the balancing of responsibilities and the fear of failure. But all these are now in the past and we need to leave behind what is known as impostor syndrome. After all, all of us regardless of gender need to own our ideas and accomplishments, celebrate our success, and help ourselves to grow professionally and stay focused on our goals by embracing and facing our fears.
Coinslot: Last year we asked about your personal aspirations and visions for the future. Have your horizons and ideas changed over the year?
DT: My vision and aspirations remain very similar: it’s always important to broaden your horizon, push for new frontiers and constantly develop yourself whether that’s developing leadership and experience skills or academic aspects of your life.
For me, it’s important to step out of my comfort zone and seek new experiences. Many people remain stuck in relationships, jobs, or habits because they believe the grass will not be greener on the other side. However, for me, it is clear if you hold yourself back, you will miss out on important experiences. So yes, there is a change, to challenge ourselves every day, to expand our horizons.
Coinslot: We wanted so hard to keep the focus for International Women’s Day solely on women in our industry. But it is difficult to ignore the elephant in the room … men! As industry works its way towards equality and equity, what positive contribution can men make to this process and how do you think they can engage to help drive the momentum on?
DT: I feel that we have entered a period of “better together” with gender equality to be on really good levels. This is at least what I’m seeing in my working environment at OKTO and in the industry in general. Gender equality won’t be achieved without significant male engagement. I’m seeing men from leadership positions helping to increase female representation across the workforce. And this is happening across geographies and sectors to finally positively affect business outcomes. It’s clear now for everyone to see that organisations with greater diversity have greater retention, higher levels of employee advocacy, better performance and faster growth.
When gender equality is treated as a strategic priority, with top-down support to setting aspirations and developing programmes, the make-up of the boardroom and executive teams can change. Even in male-dominated industries, in which the workforce can be about 80 per cent men, companies that commit to diversity such as OKTO, are finding gender parity within their reach.
Coinslot: And finally, the perennial question: how would you like the landscape to have changed for women in business when we revisit the subject this time next year?
DT: Women in business and in leadership are evolving continuously, and the upcoming year is going to be a major stepping stone. More and more organisations have already adopted an equal approach across all dimensions, and this should be extended across more industries.
After all, diversity in general drives inclusion, which leads to engagement, which leads to innovation, which drives the bottom line and I’m pretty sure that now we are on the right path.