Digital SHEro Liliana – a quarter of a century as a woman in the ITworld

Women at valantic - Interview with Liliana

“Identify what really inspires and motivates you, invest in continuous education, and have confidence in your skills.”

More than 25 years ago, Liliana worked on AI in her doctoral thesis, and today she works at valantic as Head of Engineering for the Payments division. In between lies an exciting career path and a move from Romania to Germany. In today’s interview, Liliana tells us more about her career and personal experiences as a woman in the IT industry.

Hello Liliana, we are looking forward to meeting you in Frankfurt today. Can you introduce yourself briefly?

Thank you very much for your visit. My name is Liliana and I have been part of valantic since 2000. In recent years, I have held various positions. I started as a software developer, and after a while I took over the leadership of a team. I am currently Head of Engineering for our payment applications in the Transaction Automation division.

You have already moved through various stages in your career. What motivated you to enter software development?

I originally came from Romania and my dream job was to be a mathematics teacher. Even in my childhood, I had a penchant for logical and abstract thinking. Later, I discovered the fascinating world of technology and decided to study electronics and telecommunications at the University of Bucharest. After completing my studies, I worked as a professor at the University of Romania, specializing in expert systems and programming languages. I completed my doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence more than 25 years ago. During this time, I developed a passion for the German tech landscape, which led me to emigrate to Germany in 2000.

Wow! More than 25 years ago, you were dealing with a topic that everyone is talking about today. What did AI look like at the time?

Artificial intelligence algorithms have existed for a long time. Of course, today’s processors have a lot more power, so there a lot more options. In my doctoral thesis I focused on neuronal networks, which I use for controlling the speed of electric drives. At that time, there were only a few people who focused on this area. Today, AI plays an essential role and is present in many areas of application. It is very exciting for me to follow current developments.

Portrait of digital hero Liliana
Portrait of IT hero Liliana – valantic

Why did you choose valantic 24 years ago and therefore a job in the consulting field?

I was attracted by the prospect of creative and varied tasks at a consulting company. This field allows me to continue to learn and develop. That’s why I came to Germany in 2000 to work at valantic.

Did you have any concerns about going into IT as a woman?

No, it was natural for me to follow my passions. However, during my career I have been confronted with stereotypes from time to time, which requires some assertiveness.

In all the time you’ve been in the IT world, what changes have you seen in gender equality?

In fact, as a female software developer, I was the absolute exception at the beginning. At first, I was not always taken seriously, but after a while, my colleagues recognized my skills, and I gained their confidence.

Meanwhile, the gender ratio has developed very positively, and about 30% of the members of our team are women. This diversity is very important to me. The variety of perspectives makes collaboration more pleasant and promotes creativity, among other things.

Liliana, what motivates or inspires you most in your current professional life?

Above all, I am motivated by the opportunity to develop innovative solutions, to be at the forefront of the technology landscape, and to be able to work there. Working together as a team to overcome challenges together also inspires me. I am also particularly inspired by the continuous opportunity for further training and the fact that I make my own contribution to the success of the team.

What is particularly important to you in your working environment and in your team?

It is important to me to create a climate of trust and to promote a culture of continuous improvement. Trust creates a positive working atmosphere, while looking for improvements ensures that we can grow as a team and as a company. Openness and respect also enable individual growth and ultimately lead to success for us all.

What advice would you give to other women who are looking for a leadership position in IT?

My advice is not to be discouraged by stereotypes. Every contribution by women to IT or management is extremely valuable and we should be proud to promote diversity in this industry. Identify what really inspires and motivates you, invest in continuous education, and have confidence in your skills. Establish and build on clear, tangible goals.

What would your slogan be as a digital SHEro?

Passion, innovation, and continuous improvement.

Thank you for the conversation and your perspective on the last quarter of a century as a woman in the IT industry, Liliana!

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