Andre, Founder of Tutti Frutti Women, on the Tech Industry and Moreby@tfw
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Andre, Founder of Tutti Frutti Women, on the Tech Industry and More

by AndreiaSeptember 20th, 2022
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Andre, 30, has a career in ICT Industry, she is also the Founder of [Tutti Frutti Women], an NFT project built on Ethereum blockchain. From her own experience, Andre says that as a woman you need to put an extra effort to prove that you are capable to bring outstanding results on the table, that you can be an excellent leader, that you can take strategic and hard decisions. She has a special interest in psychology, philosophy, environment and women’s health, with a focus on cancer awareness. Andre: "For me, it looks like in 2022 few people talk about it. Are we thinking that cancer is so rare and we are untouchable? In 2020, worldwide we had 10M deaths, these are not figures, these are PEOPLE. "

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Tell us about yourself!

I’m Andre, 30. I have a bachelor's degree in Law and two master’s degrees, one in Law and another one in Diplomacy and International Negotiation. I have a professional background in a leading ICT Corporation and I still take notes on paper.

I started my career as a Corporate Immigration Law and Policy Specialist.

I’ve got some fast learning skills, which come from my eagerness to know more and from my fear of not failing myself or/and others’ expectations, so this, among other skills as well, contributed to fast professional growth and brought me multiple awards as well.

Shortly, I was promoted to Project Control Manager in charge of Account Managers and Directors projects’ performance and supporting all managers involved with these projects, which was quite intimidating at first, as most of them were men with much more experience than me, obviously.

This position led me to another department where I worked as a procurement engineer manager. This one was the most challenging from all points of view, and at the same time, I was so afraid to take it.

Can you guess why I accepted it? Because I was so scared, and I try my best to do what scares me the most. Fear kills dreams and shuts opportunities.

Currently, I’m the Founder of Tutti Frutti Women, an NFT project built on the Ethereum blockchain, which was born to empower women in the fight against cancer and to raise cancer awareness.

Together with my team, we are planning to bring this progressive social mission to the Metaverse, implementing all the phases of our Roadmap which is followed by a long-term vision.

What tech are you most excited/passionate about right now and why?

Well, considering that I started building on blockchain technology, using the power of the NFT ecosystem and intending to expand it to the Metaverse through Web3, those are the new technologies that lots of people and businesses are excited about, including myself.

This excitement comes from this technology concept whose purpose is to be a digital space available to all, where people can communicate and create without limitations, censorship, or big corporation interference (funny that it comes from me).

The idea that the power is back in the people’s hands is exciting for everyone, and we all waited for it without knowing that it would be possible that soon and developing so fast.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of tech?

I love spending time with my friends, trying new dishes together, reading, traveling, and running.

I have a special interest in psychology, philosophy, environment, and women’s health, with a focus on cancer awareness.

I dedicated a big part of my time contributing to a healthy environment as a volunteer in an NGO; my bachelor thesis is also related to the fundamental right to a healthy environment.

Good health and well-being are on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN. A few years ago, I took part in a week-training at the United Nation in Wien.

I would like to see more and more people taking regular actions for their own health and for raising awareness about health concerns such as cancer as it is one of the leading causes of death.

For me, it looks like in 2022, few people talk about it. Do we think that cancer is so rare and we are untouchable? In 2020, worldwide, we had 10M deaths; these are not figures, these are PEOPLE.

Let's talk about breaking the glass ceiling. What were the biggest challenges you faced as a woman in tech, and how did you deal with them?

If there is something, is that the companies are still mostly led by men. As a woman, you need to put extra effort to prove that you are capable of bringing outstanding results to the table, that you can be an excellent leader, that you can take strategic and hard decisions, etc.

Any questionable misogynistic story/situation you faced/handled, and want to share with the HackerNoon Fam?

In such a big company, unfortunately, there will be someone at one point to make even a “joke” that is not appropriate.

In my case, once I discovered some mistakes in a big project. When I asked for clarification, the Project Director remarked: “you are a woman, you don’t understand”. This phrase haunted and frustrated me for a while.

I understood that it was an intimidating method that some people, not only men, use to cover mistakes, human errors, etc.

What was the biggest setback/failure that you faced, and how did you manage it?

In terms of my tech career, I did not have such a big failure, but the only thing which comes to my mind is that my performance result as Project Control Manager was not excellent.

My knowledge and skills in that area were poor in the beginning, counting the lack of support, and training as well. I had to do a lot of self-learning.

Meanwhile, I got a certificate in Project Management to cover the gap, and the final result was satisfying but still not excellent.

What's your biggest achievement that you're really proud of?

In the tech area? Well, I’m proud that I earned my seat at the table, working with the executives and having a word to say and decisions to make in a company predominated by men.

Personal area? I’m proud that I never gave up even when I felt like I can’t keep going; that I’m my best friend and my worst critic.

In your opinion, why do we see this huge gender gap in the tech industry, and how can we reduce it?

Some research shows that one of the big barriers to women in tech is education level. Historically, more men than women have chosen to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

In my opinion and from my own experience, is that we grew up with an education saying that women should study soft (nontechnical) subjects while men shall study technical ones based on the preconception that women are housewives and men are the providers for the family.

However, we tend to confuse that working in a tech company requires being an engineer or other technical field. Big tech companies have various departments with positions suitable for everyone with a bachelor's degree in any field.

Happily, in the past years, we have witnessed the gap getting smaller, and I trust that in the near future, this will not be an issue anymore.

In order to achieve this, tech companies need to refrain from restricting women to routine and mundane tasks that show they’re diligent but do not help them express their strategic skills.

As for the public sector, it should provide strong legal and policy incentives to encourage and, why not, mandate the gender balance in decision-making positions in businesses and reform organizational culture that will highlight women’s leadership.

Who is your tech idol? Why?

Apart from Mr. Musk (strictly on tech), my tech idol is Robi, the co-founder of Tutti Frutti Women who is also the developer of the project and my friend.

At his core, he is a Software Engineer. In 15 years of his ICT career, he brought us a new era of connectivity, speed, and possibility.

I admire him for his perseverance, innovation, critical and strategic thinking, capacity to take the best decisions, leadership, and curiosity as well.

Everything he does, from leading an ICT company to building new technologies, makes everything seem so natural and easy, when in fact, behind the scenes, there is a lot of sweat, stress, and white nights.

I’ve learned from him that in order to “Make it happen” you need to take proper actions with no fear and no excuses.

Do you have any advice for aspiring girls who want to join the field?

Right now, I’m thinking about all the girls who are struggling, who lack support from family, school, government, and many other obstacles, and I would like to remind them that this should not stop them from doing what makes them proud of themselves.

If they want to join, no matter what field, my advice would be to not be afraid to try. The first try should not be your last one.

Believe in yourself and make it happen!