Natalia Futekova is a managing partner in ERP.BG and is definitely a person you do not think you could meet in the IT industry. For her 20 years of experience, she says that she has encountered difficulties and challenges regarding gender inequality, but still managed to find common ground with all her male colleagues. Natalia believes that if the mind is not “beautiful”, the vision is nothing.

For her 20 years of experience in the IT industry, Natalia shares that she has encountered difficulties and challenges regarding gender inequality, but still managed to find common ground with all her male colleagues and build a professional relationship with them. According to her observations, women in the IT sector are increasing more and more, not only as experts and employees but also as managers and managing partners. Natalia believes that over time, age, gender and any other characteristics lose their meaning because the qualities and value system that a person has are really important. Professionally, her biggest cause is education support. Natalia doesn`t think that her male colleagues have a different attitude towards her. She added that in her opinion, the most important role of women is to listen, understand and show empathy because colleagues appreciate these qualities very much. For her, the maintained vision and the positive appearance, which at the same time is confident, gain the trust and make communication much easier. Natalia is a business owner and says it has been difficult for her to distinguish between personal and professional life. However, she adds that with years has managed to learn that you need to spend enough time on yourself to be in shape for everything else. Natalia’s personal cause is to help people be more aware of their lives and the direction in which they have decided to develop. She shares that over the years she has managed to pass on her professional experience to young people. Natalia adds that it is very important for a person who wants to develop to see successful examples, to be motivated and to know that if he has enough desire and effort, things will happen in the best way.

Favourite clothes? 

I like to experiment and try different things. Perhaps what I like the most is the sporty-elegant style and the clothes that give more freedom in relation to the combinations. I think that they emphasize femininity and I feel most comfortable in my everyday life, in which I combine fulfilment of professional commitments and quality spending of free time.

High heels or flat shoes? 

Definitely high!

Which is THE thing you never go out without? 

A phone, keys, lipstick and money.

Favourite lipstick colour? 

Classic red.

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

Trying to be everywhere at once and controlling everything. Over the years I learnt how to delegate and trust more in both my professional and personal life.

Which cause are you currently supporting?

My biggest cause, in a professional aspect, is supporting education. Since I’m a managing partner in ERP.BG I am in charge of it – the company donates free licenses to universities, as a member of the board of BAIT in the Department of Higher Education, consulting and supporting universities, as well as through our educational organization ERP Academy, where we train students. I meet many different people of all ages in my daily life. My personal cause is to help them become more aware of the way they live and the direction in which they have decided to develop. I believe in people a lot and I hope that with my experience and advice I can be useful to them to build a life in which they are satisfied and happy.

Can you share something about yourself that we can’t find on LinkedIn? 

On LinkedIn, I only share information that affects my professional realization and business development. Maybe your audience will be interested to share about one of the ways I relax – namely, Latin American dances. For me, this is a wonderful way to move, relax and meet very interesting and intelligent people.

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

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

When I started my career in the IT Industry 20 years ago, I encountered challenges. At that time, there were mostly men in this branch and it was more difficult for women to be perceived as serious and responsible experts. My colleagues (men) and I still found a common way of thinking, we complemented each other with knowledge and experience, sometimes we argued, but over the years we learned to listen and accept each other. Thanks to this we have realized many successful projects and we continue to develop more and more.

Do you know how many women work in your position?

I think that women in the IT sector are growing more and more – not only as experts and employees but also as managers and managing partners. This can only make me happy.

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

I don’t think it’s a pressing issue. The world is changing. Increasingly, age, gender and any other characteristics are losing their significance. The qualities and the value system that a person possesses are the most important.

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

It surely helps. The maintained appearance and the positive attitude, make you confident, gain more trust and make communication much easier. But let’s not forget that as long as your mind is not “beautiful”, the appearance can not make miracles.

Which policies does your company encourage regarding gender diversity? 

The number of women is increasing in our country. However, this is not the result of following a particular policy or trend. As I mentioned above- it’s all about the qualities.

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

I would not say that they treat me in a specific way or have a different attitude towards me. Beyond expertise, I believe that the most important role for women is to listen, understand and empathize, and colleagues appreciate these qualities very much. This is very valuable for the effective management of teams and companies in general.

How do you balance your work with your personal life? Are there any rules that you follow?

I managed to create a balance between my personal and professional life. I am a business owner and it was difficult for me to distinguish between these two. Over the years, however, I learned that I had to spend enough time on myself to be in shape for everything else. Today, I prioritize my commitments, delegate my duties and responsibilities, and do not control everyone and everything – this is my formula for success.

I believe in people a lot and I hope that with my experience and advice I can be useful to them to build a life in which they are satisfied and happy.

Which sources would you recommend to our audience? (podcasts, webpages, influencers, YouTubers) 

I would not say there are specific sources from which I get information and which I can recommend. I try to be aware of important economic information, to communicate with business representatives, as well as with many people with different interests. This helps me receive the best information about the current environment.

What motivates you in a professional plan? 

ERP systems help companies understand how their business works, clean and optimize processes, automate and build on a more solid foundation. The industry I work in is extremely interesting and is changing very fast. We all face many challenges all the time, we learn and we get better.

You have been a senior assistant in the Department of Information Technology and Communications at the Faculty of Applied Informatics and Statistics at UNWE, you are a member of the Board of BAIT, managing partner of ERP.BG and participate in many other activities related to technology. How did you decide to enter their society?

Years ago, when I first got in touch with this society, I was highly impressed by the intellect of the people in it. They are people with a vision who do not just follow, but also create trends themselves. I saw a lot of meaning and value in this.

What would you advise your previous self?

Going back, I wouldn’t change anything. Everyone needs to go his own way to learn the lessons that are his own. We have to be patient – everything happens at the right time.

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