HackerNoon editorial team has launched to celebrate their achievements and share their struggles. We need more women in technology, and by sharing stories, we can encourage many girls to follow their dreams. ! this interview series with women in tech Share your story today Tell us about yourself! I’m Dana Sydorenko, a Ukrainian entrepreneur best known as the co-founder of , a platform designed to connect gamers globally. Before my ventures in the tech industry, my background was in classical business. Also, I served as a paramedic in the Ukrainian Army and later transitioned my experience to the business sector by creating one of the largest military supply companies in Ukraine. I established myself as the founder and CEO of a few successful businesses and startups. GameTree Why did you choose this field in the first place? My way to tech was unexpected and fast. I served as a paramedic on the front line when I was 18, and after I got back to civil life, I felt very isolated and depressed. I started to play more MMO games, and they became my safe space, but often, instead of a safe and friendly community, I faced toxicity and harassment. I decided to change that. I believe there is nothing else like technology that could change the world and make it better. I fell in love with the idea of using algorithms to improve people's communities and connect people better. That's why I’m developing GameTree. It is not about games; it is about bringing people together. What tech are you most excited/passionate about right now and why? Right now, I'm enjoying the speed of the changes, and I am a futurist, dreaming about a world without government, without physical money, with self-driving cars and space travel, where we have more time for each other. A time when there is no inequality, sexism, racism, or wars. And if you say it’s impossible, I will answer that there are thousands of people building it right now. And some of us will succeed. Then, everyone will live in the new world that we are building for the next generations. What tech are you most worried about right now and why? I am concerned about how tech affects human social skills and mental health. Levels of diagnosed depression and suicidal rates go up every year. People need people, and technology should be here to help, not to make it worse, especially with everything moving toward AI interactions. I wonder if we're losing touch with the human element, and it will make us more isolated. What are your hobbies and interests outside of tech? Away from the tech world, I have a deep love for techno music; its rhythm and energy are a perfect escape for me. I also enjoy horse riding as I believe it is the best training for leadership and emotional intelligence, and also it is the best break from the digital life. Lately, I find happiness in sharing with others my experiences and mentoring in startup and tech programs for students, transferring my knowledge and insights to raise the next generation. 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? I’ve often felt like I had to prove myself more. I felt that when you are a girl and you look too attractive, some people don’t take you seriously, so you need to look more like a man, think like a man, and behave like a man. Over time, I don’t have the energy to be concerned about people's thoughts and perspectives that much, rather, I show what I am worth through my actions and results. Hopefully, one day, it will be easier for girls like me to not be occupied with these situations or feelings at all. Any questionable misogynistic story/situation you faced/handled that you would like to share with the HackerNoon Fam? At the beginning of my career, I worked for a company with a very sexist boss, and I shared how difficult it is with a very inspiring woman, my mom. I asked her how she handles sexism when faced with it, and her answer became my credo. She said that she doesn't care what they think of her or her gender; she doesn’t care how they look at her or what they talk about behind her back. She does what she needs and what needs to be done and leaves people alone with their opinions. It's so simple, but it always works. What was the biggest setback/failure that you faced, and how did you manage it? I can’t say if it is my biggest failure. Probably, my biggest failure is still in front of me, but it is a situation that is hard for me personally and causes a lot of pain. As a war veteran in Ukraine, I served for a year as a paramedic on the front line, and when the Russian invasion started again, I felt a big responsibility to go back to the army, but GameTree really needed me too, and it was not an easy choice to make. It is a situation where all decisions lead to pain and loss. I still ask and blame myself for not fighting with my people. What's your biggest achievement that you're really proud of? I am proud of the teams and communities I was able to build. It makes me smile to see how the right people working, talking, or playing together are able to multiply each other’s strengths and cover each other’s weaknesses. My previous company became one of the largest military suppliers in Ukraine without me, and I am proud of them and proud I was able to bring these people together. Furthermore, GameTree's success belongs to the incredible people on the team. It is remarkable to see how together we are creating technology and products that change people's lives. We are receiving dozens of emails and messages about how we helped people meet someone who became their best friend or found the love of their life, and this is what makes me proud. I am honored to create these amazing teams and groups of people who, together, are able to do amazing things. In your opinion, why do we see this huge gender gap in the tech industry, and how can we reduce it? I see it is getting better, and I think the gap is about culture and stereotypes. Culturally, we are overprotecting girls and teaching them to be less risk-taking. Startups and Tech are is not just for men but for dreamers, for the bold and creative, those who are ready to take the initiative and be responsible for victories and mess-ups. We need to show young girls that tech isn’t just a 'guy thing.' It's about creativity, solving problems, and making a difference. Today, we are changing this by being visible role models and encouraging girls to go for it with us. Who is your tech idol? Why? My tech idol is not technically from the tech world (sorry for wordplay), but she inspires me a lot: Marie Curie. She broke barriers in science, showing the world what women can achieve against all odds. Her courage and determination are what I admire the most. As I mentioned before, one of the most remarkable women I know is my mom, a woman who taught me how to take risks, how to not be afraid of problems and complications, and how to be strong and unstoppable but smart and flexible. It is absolutely crucial to be surrounded by strong women so we can inspire each other and show how to get through difficult situations as a woman. Do you have any advice for aspiring girls who want to join the field? Follow your curiosity. Don’t let anyone tell you tech isn’t for you. You belong here as much as anyone. Your ideas, your creativity, they’re needed. Be messy if needed, be a troublemaker, be a rebel, make mistakes, and take risks. Be brave and look directly into the problems and difficulties with a beautiful female smile. We are waiting for you on this side.