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Inside Unit4 International Women's Day

Inside Unit4 International Women's Day Q&A

from  March 8, 2022 | 6 min read

At Unit4, our people are at the heart of everything we do. From coming up with brilliant ideas and concepts to delivering value creatively and passionately to our customers, our people shape how we succeed as a company. Our “People First” philosophy means that we make sure to deliver an extraordinary environment for our people enabling them to really contribute to the business and have a positive impact on their teams as well as on the people we serve as a business. 

 

As we are celebrating International Women’s Day 2022, we wanted to shine the spotlight on our amazing and inspiring women in business who do incredible work contributing to Unit4’s success and growth every day. 

In this special #InsideUnit4 Q&A blog, we sat down with Julie, Adriana, Ebba, Michelle, Beata and Heike to talk about the achievements they are particularly proud of, their growth journey at Unit4, International Women’s Day, gender inequality in the workplace, and more. 

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? 

Heike: I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I have been recognized for the contribution I bring and given chances where others might have not had the same fortune. I am grateful to the courageous women who campaigned for equal rights and paved the road to equality I feel I have been able to enjoy - thank you!

Michelle: It's about inspiration, empowerment, and celebration - continued focus to raise each other up. It's an opportunity to learn from each other and hear real stories of change and impact. 
 

Adriana: I think I could truly go on, on this topic. There are so many things to say about International Women’s Day that even an essay won’t be enough to express what this amazing day means to me. In simple words: without International Women's Day, I wouldn't be here to tell my story nor would I be here to defend women's rights, let alone study or work. This day has saved lives, has given us opportunities. Women fought to give us rights and often we need to remember this and be thankful for it. This day reminds us of it. 
 

 

What would you say to your younger self? 

Heike: You are stronger than you think! Trust in yourself and know that whatever you choose to put your mind to, you can achieve. 
 

Michelle: I have been reading this book by Mel Robbins, The High Five Habit, and it's just a great read on how we see ourselves and how we can become our own cheerleader. I would tell myself to be more gentle and patient - to extend the same grace to myself as I aim to give others. I'd also say: Trust yourself. Stop worrying. Once you decide, it's done. Don't dwell on the past. Follow the opportunities - following your gut is okay - and if you make a wrong turn, recognize it and make a change. Don't worry if you look different, feel different, or think differently - those are the things that will help bring people together. 
 

Ebba: Your definition of success will change as you go and that is normal, your priorities change over time so don't take things too seriously. It really makes me laugh now when I look back at some of the things I spent too much time worrying about in the past. I think it's the classic realization that only comes with age and wisdom. Focus on what makes you happy! 

 

Who is your role model? 

Heike: For me, this has always been about “ordinary” people. My old line manager Jo Schiller is one of the most inspiring women I met. Super bright, focused on guiding others to find solutions for the challenges they face, always smiling and above all, true to her own beliefs. 

Julie: I have many role models. Two that do come to mind are Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth. They challenged social norms around race and gender. Without their commitment to change, the world would be a very different place today.  

Beata: My mother is my biggest role model. At a very young age she left her home country in Poland with nothing but her suitcase and a few dollars in her purse. Through hard work, failure, and perseverance she brought her entire family of 6 brothers and sisters, as well as her parents, to Canada and built a new prosperous life. It taught me that with hard work and determination, even when you can't speak the local language, anything is possible. 

 

How did working at Unit4 help you grow and enhance your career as a woman? 

Ebba: Working in a global role, I have to say it's the diversity and cultural differences among my colleagues that have enabled me to grow the most during my time at Unit4. If people who were raised in similar households and had a similar upbringing were solving a problem, the outcome would probably not bring that much excitement or growth to the team. But if you put a group of unique individuals with different life experiences and backgrounds on a problem, odds are you’re going to end up with a superior solution and personal growth at the same time. 
 

Julie: With Unit4's roots in Europe, I've had a tremendous opportunity to work with fantastic women colleagues and leaders from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures. As a leader, regardless of gender, it's given me access to different perspectives, experiences, and skills which have helped me grow. 

Beata: It has allowed me to work with other brilliant, out-of-the-box thinkers. Working for a company of this size that is still in some ways considered a start-up with huge growth potential challenges me every day.  

 

Tell us about an achievement you are proud of. 

Michelle: I am very proud of the teams I have been able to build, work with and learn from over the years. I always enjoy the element of seeing a group of individuals come together, coalesce, and find a common ground by which to produce amazing results. The people are a large part of what motivates me - if you are lucky enough you find colleagues that you build relationships with, over the years you may find that your paths continue to cross in the future. 

Ebba: During my university studies, I worked part-time at the Royal Swedish Opera with HR-related questions. In this role, I was responsible for writing a report containing action proposals during the MeToo-investigation. You can tell I was pretty proud to watch the biggest TV news show later that day, inviting the CEO from the Royal Opera to present my proposals as their Me-too actions. That really gave me the motivation to make an impact in every workplace I would ever start working in, even if it was just for one woman. 
 

Beata: I am proud of where I am today professionally and personally. Through hard work and very little sleep, being able to manage and maintain a work/life balance is in my opinion my greatest accomplishment. Being a mother, wife, friend, and daughter while advancing my career is my greatest achievement. 

 

Have you ever experienced gender inequality in the workplace throughout your career? 

Michelle: I have experienced inequality in my career in terms of advancement opportunities in the past. Asked to pivot through multiple hoops to get to the same end state made “turnkey” for a male counterpart/peer. This created a challenge, but also an opportunity to break the cycle for those that followed and change the way that the organization approached advancement opportunities.
 

Julie: I did early in my career. From it, I learned that it's important to be self-advocate and to call it out regardless of if doing so makes you or others feel uncomfortable. 

Beata: Gender inequality has been a source of motivation for me. I acknowledge that I needed to work a little harder – sometimes subconsciously – but in a way, I contribute that to my success. I am optimistic that the pendulum towards equality is swinging in the right direction as awareness of the benefits of diversity in the workplace in all respects is becoming more and more apparent. I am proud to be swinging that pendulum a little harder along with the other women and minorities working hard to pave the way. 

 

What’s your favorite inspirational quote to live by? 

Ebba: Care less, you'll be less stressed! 

Adriana: “So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” ― Ernest Hemingway 

Julie: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” - Maya Angelou 

Beata: If you haven't failed, you haven't tried. 

 

If you were an ice cream flavor, what would you be and why? 

Michelle: My favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla - not sure if it's what I would be. It's just the right balance - complex with some of the richness in flavor and sets a good foundation for other flavors to shine through (brownie add-ins, cookie dough...whatever).  

 Adriana: I think I would be Salted Caramel, although sweet because of the caramel and that being the essence of it, I can also be spicy and fierce which matches up with the salt. The perfect balance! 

 Julie: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - it's many tasty treats combined into one delicious dessert 



What is your favorite phone app? 

Ebba: According to my phone’s data it's TikTok. Proud Gen Z! 
 

Adriana: The app I use the most right now is Instagram, so I will go with it as my favorite! 

Julie: Any app that keeps me connected with family and friends - so there are a few. 

 

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