We met Anja Schumann over one year ago in Mindspace Tel Aviv, where she was part of the family being one of our members.
Her background in Business Informatics led her to work in companies like Lenovo and Tchibo, where she was responsible for transforming business processes with the help of information systems. It was only later on that she decided to join the start up world.
Anja’s innitiative -TechMakers – is about more than 100 women learning how to develop and program, and at the same time creating a strong community of like-minded women. We loved the idea and we decided to host WTM meet ups at Mindspace Hamburg.
Please tell us about Women TechMakers
Women TechMakers is a global program initiated by Google. There are chapters in major cities all over the world to drive the visibility of women in tech and provide them with resources and a supportive community. I started Women TechMakers in Hamburg as a Meetup in January. We already have a great team of mentors, organizers and participants. With Women TechMakers Hamburg, I want to provide the community with the knowledge needed to build a tech start up. In most of the meet-ups we have a hands-on sessions because I believe that learning by doing is the best. I am excited about the strong community feel that we already have.
How did you come up with starting the concept in Hamburg?
I spend some time in Tel Aviv and met with Shecodes there. Shecodes also brings together women and technology, providing at the same time a community all around. I really liked the idea because I have been to a lot of tech meetups and most of the time felt like a stranger being a woman. For example, I was the only woman at the Golang Meetup we just had at Mindspace. Back in Germany, I found out about the Women TechMakers Berlin initiative and was very impressed by their concept. I then decided it was time to organize a community for women in tech in Hamburg too. My goal is to bring more diversity to the tech world. When I see how many women are really interested and are coming to our Meetups, I know it is possible – we just need a different approach.
How did you hear about Mindspace?
I spent last winter in Tel Aviv and was looking for a space to work and get in touch with the local start-up scene. My friends recommended Mindspace and I was impressed by their flexibility, since at the time the other places did not have short term contracts. Mindspace Tel Aviv was my office last year for one month. Back then I was working on a different start-up idea and I really liked to be part of the Mindspace family. The combination of great interior design, a bubbling community that is getting things done and caring management, made me feel like home away from home. I am happy to finally have the same quality of coworking in Hamburg now too; makes you not want to go home. We can really learn a lot from the Israeli start-up ecosystem and I hope Mindspace will bring a little bit of that good energy to Hamburg.
Why do you think Mindspace is a good fit for WTM events?
With Women TechMakers Hamburg I want to help women thrive in entrepreneurship as well as tech. As Mindspace is a start up hub, it is great to bring together women that are interested in tech with people that are already successful entrepreneurs. It is an energetic place where people are working on future solutions.
How do you think the future of work will look like?
The work environment will become more flexible as I see it and a 9-5 type of work at one office will decline. I am thinking of companies like Buffer that are already completely working with a remote team. The classical “career” job is eroding and people are taking control over their own careers by going out on their own and having diversified income streams. So flexible working patterns will become the norm. Coworking can be a home for someone flexible who is looking for a space to work, as well as a solution for companies looking to manage their office spaces with that same flexibility. Coworking can bring together a perfect mix of multidisciplinary collaborations. It can be a great way to meet like minded people. When you are in the right place it’s inspiring, it’s fascinating and it can lead you to higher levels.
Do you see more women everyday taking interest in programming and Hi-Tech sectors?
With Women Techmakers we are creating an environment where women can thrive and until now it has been a big success. There are lots of powerful women that are interested in technology. They are attracted by the good salaries in this industry and by the good feeling that comes with creating something meaningful. The only problem is that the Hi-tech world out there is still a boy’s club, and as a woman you get sometimes the feeling that you are at the wrong place. Nevertheless, if you want to make a change as a woman you have get over this feeling, show up and believe in yourself. The magic happens outside your comfort zone, right?
In any case you can get a lot of support right now. Companies are aware that they need diverse teams to meet the needs of their diverse customers. And this will grow even more in the industry. Women also actually already played a big role in the history of computing and many programmers in the early 20th were female. That is just something we have forgotten over the years. I can just encourage every woman who has a curious mind, likes change and challenge to take a career in this wonderful sector.