“The number of women starting tech companies nationally has doubled in the past three years. This is our chance to change the game,” explained Natalie Azhdam, team lead of partnerships at a start-up company by the name of Peek.
The company, Peek, is a venture backed by the executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, and the co-founder of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey. The activity based platform focuses on bridging the gap between real-time mobile bookings and SaaS tools for the small business owners.
Prior to working at Peek, Azhdam graduated Indiana University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in business. She worked as a sales consultant at a financial company for two years before she purchased a one-way ticket to San Francisco and dove into the world of technology.
“We live in a rapidly changing, technology driven world, and I wanted to understand firsthand the mechanisms that power this growth,” explained Azhdam. “I was particularly fascinated with the ways that technology is challenging the long-standing status quo in so many different industries.”
Scaling a venture-backed technology company requires a diverse team, from engineering to sales, informatics, finance and marketing. Azhdam finds that the most important skill to develop while working for a technology start-up company is the ability to adapt and evolve at a pace that keeps you ahead of the innovation curve.
“I have learned that problem solving, prioritization, persistence and organizational skills are paramount, regardless of your functional expertise,” stated Azhdam.
Azhdam’s college education taught her to be sensitive to the greater implications of an action and how to understand and internalize other people’s perspectives. As a former IU student, Azhdam recommends current undergraduates to take the time to discover their strengths and passions.
“Regardless of your trade, but especially if you are looking to pursue a career in technology, your versatility will make you an indispensable part of any organization,” explained Azhdam.
As a female in a male-dominated field, Azhdam strongly believes that negotiation and conflict resolution are critical skills for career advancement, especially for women. She advises women to find a mentor, male or female, and use their prior experiences as guidance.