Alexandra Mechkova is the Executive Director of Telerik Academy.Alexandra is responsible for the overall vision of the Academy and the strategic development of its IT career start and professional development programs. She has over 13 years of experience in the technology sector. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication Management
from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Social Sciences from Jacobs University Bremen in Germany.

Meet Alexandra Mechkova – the CEO of Telerik Academy who has over 13 years of experience in the tech sector. She is the driving force behind Telerik Academy’s strategic vision. In her role, Alexandra is also responsible for the development of Telerik Academy’s IT career and professional development programs. Her work has had a profound impact on Telerik Academy in the first few years of its establishment as an independent organization. Alexandra led the marketing, business development, and partner network activities of the company. Before joining Telerik Academy’s team, she took various roles at the marketing team of Telerik (later acquired by Progress). In Progress, she worked as a Senior Manager “Global PR”, where she was responsible for the company’s external communication across diverse markets like the EMEA, Latin America, Africa, and Australia. Alexandra received a “Most Valuable Player (MVP)” recognition for her work at the time. Moreover, she participated actively in the foundation of Campus X and its establishment as a leading flexible office hub. Alexandra has a Fulbright scholarship and holds a MA in “Communication Management” from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, and an “Integrated Social Sciences” Bachelor’s degree from Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. In her view, personal and professional life can’t be fully balanced – one can dominate the other depending on the circumstances. Yet, she believes it’s vital to switch off and practice digital detox from time to time.

“There are no roles that are typically “male” or “female” and in which we have to promote diversity.”

Favourite clothes?

Alexandra Mechkova, CEO of Telerik Academy

T-shirt, jeans and sneakers.

Highheels or low shoes?

Low, definitely low.

Which is THE thing you never go out without?

A phone.

Favourite lipstick colour?

Nude, simple and neutral.

Which is the feminine quality/duty that you don’t possess?

I don’t like gender stereotyping.

Which cause would you support/ Are you currently supporting?

I’ve been supporting Animal Rescue Sofia for years because of everything they do for animals, their dedication and love for the cause, despite all the challenges, rudeness, and violence they face on a daily basis.

Share something about yourself that we can’t find on LinkedIn.

I’ve been a fan of automobile races ever since I was little. I like fast vehicles and for me, the car has always been more than just a means of transportation.

Have you ever faced challenges in your career regarding the fact that you are a woman?

I believe that we should be judged by our actions, and I’ve always strived to give my best in everything I do. So, if there were any challenges related to my gender, I’ve never noticed.

Do you know how many women work in your position?

Although I can’t name an exact number, I’m glad that Bulgaria leads the ranking of women in leadership positions, according to (the latest?) data from the European Institute for Gender Equality.

Do you think that the problem with gender inequality still exists in Bulgaria and globally?

It would be frivolous to say that it is non-existent. At the same time, however, I believe that there are different dynamics between industries, geographies, and even organizations. In my daily life and I hope in the lives of my colleagues and Telerik Academy’s students, I do not think that inequality is an issue. We work in an industry, which values good ideas and dedicated work. The greater a person’s contribution is, the more successful they are, regardless of gender.

What policies does your company follow regarding diversity?

For each role in Telerik Academy, we choose the best-prepared candidate, who also fits well into our culture and team. There are no roles that are typically “male” or “female” and in which we have to promote diversity. As mentioned above, I don’t like stereotypes and this is not something we follow or avoid.Meanwhile, I’m a firm believer in meritocracy, and it, at least in my eyes, has no gender.

Read More Inspiring Stories for Women in Tech in WRTech here.

Telerik Academy is a well-balanced organization with a 50:50 ratio of women and men, including in management positions. The latter came about naturally, without being a goal in itself.

Do women’s vision and charm help you be successful in a professional way?

I believe that being authentic, brave, ambitious, purposeful, empathetic, and respectful is what shapes people, regardless of the roles they’re taking . . Gender and appearance do not matter. 🙂

How do you get along with men in your company? Do they treat you differently?

You have to ask them. With the risk of repeating myself, I believe that a person should be judged by their actions and the work they do, not their gender. And labels like “charming women” and “brave men” don’t help us achieve that. On the contrary, they put the focus in the wrong place.

How do you balance your work life with your personal life? Is there any rule that you follow?

For most of my professional life, the balance has always been suffering. In recent years, I have been more consciously trying to give equal priority to both, and it is something that I encourage my colleagues to do as well. I still do not think that the two areas can be completely differentiated, so my rule is that according to the situation and the period, one can prevail over the other, but it is important in the context of the bigger picture to balance each other.

 

Which sources would you recommend to us? (podcasts, webpages, influencers, youtubers, etc.)

I digest a lot of information on a daily basis so my recommendation will be a little different – always strive to have periods of digital detox. I’ve been thinking about a day of the week without access to electronic devices for a while, but I admit that I haven’t had the courage to do it just yet.

Which are the most important qualities a CEO must possess?

The CEO should be humane to those they work with. The CEO should be authentic (which is a good quality) and should show respect to others. Respecting others is of great importance. Also, they should be ambitious and brave to make decisions and thinking a few steps ahead. And last but not least – the CEO should possess a sense of humor. That helps too.

What kind of changes were made during the year of COVID19 regarding the learners at Telerik Academy?

It’s been a transformational year. When we first faced the global health pandemic, our learners were affected by the stress of our new lifestyles and the fears for our health. But as time passed, they got used to learning online and now I think this format isn’t a new thing to anyone. As an organization, we introduced many innovations related to remote education. Due to the new formats and practices, we managed to keep and advance all the elements that make our programs so successful. Now our students can benefit from 120% more practice as part of their programs. Last but not least, many of our graduates start working in a fully online environment – something that distinguishes the IT sector. During our 6-month training, in addition to acquiring the necessary technical skills for a successful career start in the IT sector, they also work in a near real-world online environment. On top of the tech training, we dedicate 20% of the program to polishing their personal and teamwork skills so that they can succeed in their professional life.

What inspires you professionally and personally?

I’m inspired by the numerous successes within the ecosystem we have built at Campus (Telerik Academy is a part of the Campus X community). Also, I’m inspired by the people of my generation, with whom I grew up in Bulgaria. Many of us went to study abroad but came back here. I sincerely believe that we are changing Bulgaria for the better – one step at a time. Personally, I am increasingly inspired by the way of life outside big cities – nature’s slow pace and the quality of people’s relationships there. The people there are more successful in escaping the rat race and the stress of their busy schedules and responsibilities.

Which are the qualities a professional, stepping into the technological sphere, must possess?

Being ready to accept that there are always v2, v3, and so on. To me, that means two things. Firstly, to be ready to work fast and to achieve the best he or she can do at this point, and to be in peace with that. Secondly, to be flexible and to be able to embrace the constant change, to learn from it, to not be afraid to be in constant competition with time and the worldwide companies. I would like to add creativeness and affinity to new and innovative decisions.

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