Beyond Women’s Day: Kinstanian Women in Leadership
International Women’s Day has had us reflecting on the women in leadership positions within our organization.
What’s their worldview? What advice would they give other women to help them succeed? And what would they tell men regarding how to help make tech a more welcoming space for their female counterparts?
We had the pleasure of chatting with four of the female leaders at Kinsta. We’ll dive into their answers to these questions and more, but not before introducing you to our interviewees.
Quote by David Ogilvy
Who Is Rachel?
Rachel Devine is Kinsta’s Director of Sales Operations. She joined the company back in May 2020 as a Senior Account Executive.
Rachel quickly rose through the ranks: She was promoted to Head of Sales Development after only 10 months at the company, then moved into her current role a year and a half after that.
Rachel played sports her whole life. This passion informed her background, leading her to study Sports Management. She then leveraged her hard-working and competitive nature to shift to SaaS (Sales as a Service) sales. She loves the way effort and dedication have a direct correlation with success in this field.
Rachel originally joined Kinsta because of our CSO, Nathan Bliss, who was her manager in her previous role.
Nathan reached out to her during the COVID era to chat about how Kinsta was booming. He then offered her a unique opportunity: to be the first North American Sales Representative at Kinsta.
While she initially joined the company from the perspective of stability and growth, she ended up staying for her hard-working, helpful, and friendly colleagues; the company’s industry-leading product; and the endless opportunities for growth.
Rachel is a Texas native and resides in beautiful Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Outside of work, she loves outdoorsy activities. That includes riding bikes, hanging on the beach, playing pickleball, and going out on the boat or paddle board.
Rachel’s Identity at Work
When asked how her identity influences how she shows up for work every day, Rachel says, “My identity is the reason it is so important to me to work hard, treat everyone with respect, have a great attitude, and give it all I have every day”
With the tech space as a whole still notably lacking female representation (even more so for women in leadership roles), it’s important to remain empathetic. An invaluable lesson Rachel learned from being a female leader is to value and treasure everybody’s input equally and to ensure that everyone is treated with the utmost respect.
We wanted to understand what working at Kinsta feels like for female leaders as we strive always to build an equitable workplace, foster inclusive leadership, and nurture psychological safety and fairness.
“I’m not treated any differently,” says Rachel. “I have equal opportunity and am proud to contribute to Kinsta. This company has given me the chance to prove myself in a leadership role, regardless of my gender.,” she adds.
Rachel’s Inspirations and Learnings
Her parents made her who she is today. They’re her biggest source of inspiration. It’s to them that she traces back her impeccable work ethic, which they instilled in her at a very young age. Rachel likes to remember how they taught her to be kind and respectful throughout her formative years.
Another precious learning she draws back to them is to not see challenges as roadblocks but as opportunities to learn and grow — a trait that has shaped her entire career and opened her up to a path in SaaS sales.
She’s inspired endlessly by other female leaders around her too, and there are so many traits she sees in them that she values, from their trustworthiness, honesty, ethics, and high moral standards to their warm and friendly openness, helpfulness, and motivation.
Rachel on Challenges and Advice
Rachel shares some essential advice for all the women out there who are striving to achieve success in a male-dominated space: “They shouldn’t limit themselves. It’s easy to feel different, but it’s important not to.”
Resisting this temptation translates into being true to one’s self, and maintaining confidence in who one is and in one’s knowledge and path. “It’s okay not to know everything, too,” she adds. “Ask questions. It’s your opportunity to learn every day!”
The most impactful piece of advice she was given was to surround herself with people smarter than her and “to be the quietest one in the room.”
Female leaders face many challenges… and a tough one pertains to being a mom. That’s a cause that’s close to Rachel’s heart.
“There can be added pressure on new mothers to wonder if they are giving too much or not enough time to their career and baby. The balancing act can be a challenge.
“Also, going away on maternity leave can be a fearful experience, as you are away from a job that you worked really hard to earn.”
In a world in which becoming a female leader is still incredibly hard, champions are what we need more of. Men can help soften hurdles for women who desire to advance their careers.
Rachel shares some words addressing them, too: “Be open to collaboration, expecting and acting upon a basis of mutual respect,” she says. “That’ll be extremely impactful in shaping an inclusive environment for women.”
Who Is Nicole?
Nicole Coetzer joined Kinsta in July 2022 as our Head of Sales Development. Prior to joining us, she spent over eight years at Pentravel, where she held the position of National Sales Manager.
Nicole’s background is in travel management — a field that allowed her to blend her fondness for sales; her enthusiasm for building strong, culture-centric teams; and her passion for traveling.
What got her into Kinsta at first was her thirst for the refreshing feeling of being challenged in a new industry. Since she’s been here, her favorite thing about Kinsta has become “the amazing, hardworking, fun people and the strong emphasis placed on living the Kinsta culture.”
South African by birth, Nicole resides in Cape Town. She loves to travel and has been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries. In her free time, she loves hiking, going on long runs, and reading everything and anything she can get her hands on.
Nicole’s Identity at Work
To Nicole, authenticity is key, and she lets her identity shine through at work. She draws on her values and experiences, her culture, her interests, and her unique perspectives to navigate her profession and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s success.
When it comes to her experience at Kinsta, Nicole doesn’t even think about our work environment as it relates to being a woman. She ties that to the significant focus the company takes internally on diversity and inclusion. “Our phenomenal team,” she adds, “ensures that this is constantly top of mind.”
Kinsta’s belief in the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace helps shape a positive environment for its female leaders. Our company culture values nuanced perspectives and experiences, and it empowers women in leadership roles to share their ideas and take on high-impact positions.
“I also really appreciate that our culture prioritizes work-life balance,” Nicole adds. “This is particularly beneficial for female leaders who may have additional responsibilities outside of work.
“By offering flexible remote work schedules, Kinsta helps us balance our personal and professional lives and feel supported.”
Nicole’s Inspirations and Learnings
When she looks back to the most important lesson she’s learned in her career, it has to do with the influences we allow to shape our lives.
She warns readers, “Only take advice from someone who has been where you want to go. It’s important to distinguish whose advice is actually worthwhile and whose advice you should tune out.”
There’s a plethora of female leaders Nicole is inspired by.
“Brene Brown’s discussions of empathy consistently inspire me, and Mel Robbins‘ mantra of ‘No one will save you but yourself’ has been a game-changer for me,” Nicole said, adding that “Michelle Obama is also incredible when discussing upholding standards and not settling. On top of that, Jacinda Ardern’s way of dealing with intense scenarios with kindness and empathy is simply remarkable.”
In her day-to-day life, Nicole is surrounded by brilliant women who celebrate each other’s successes and offer help when needed.
She mentions some of her colleagues by name, saying: “Rachel Devine may be the smartest person I have ever worked with, but her true superpower is her willingness to share her knowledge. Additionally, I get to work with some phenomenal ladies on my team. Ella Mabrito, Tímea Schnébli, Anabel Tamayo, and Sachi Jain approach the challenging aspects of our job with such enthusiasm and dedication that I often think we are our own team of Valkyries.”
After this insightful parenthesis, we zoom in to focus on Nicole’s favorite female leadership traits.
“Leaders who fix another woman’s crown without telling the world it is crooked are the best. I’m always in awe of leaders who can have tough conversations without sacrificing warmth and friendliness.
“It’s inspiring to see leaders who make a point to mentor their team and, above all, hold the door open for them to walk through.”
Nicole on Challenges and Advice
Her piece of advice for women striving to achieve success in a male-dominated space highlights empathy as the real key to unlock success.
“Many of us are taught that in order to be successful, you have to be intentionally intimidating and hard leaders. Combining genuine empathy, open communication, consistent coaching, and strength creates an extraordinary management style focused on the people.
“After all, what is the point of being this powerful leader if you don’t make sure your people feel valued, supported, and cared for?” she adds.
The most precious piece of advice that Nicole herself has received was that “Standing out means upholding high standards in low moments.”
Nicole believes it is “essential to do a good job even when it’s a task you don’t enjoy. Treat others with respect even if you get disrespected, and do the right thing even if you are wronged. This is how trust is established — by refusing to compromise on competence or character.”
She addresses men, too, on how to facilitate women’s rise into positions of leadership.
“It’s time to take a long, hard look at your leadership teams: if everyone looks the same, has similar backgrounds and voices the same opinions, you are in trouble. Seek balance. You’ll see it provides a much broader outlook. Make access to opportunities genuinely equal, Invite women to the table and be willing to listen.”
When thinking about the future’s impending challenges for female leaders, Nicole sees unconscious bias as the real enemy: “Companies are putting in the effort to make sure that men and women have equal authority, yet unconscious biases persist. These preferences make it much harder and slower for women to achieve high-level positions than men.”
Quote from Adidas
Who Is Viktoria?
Viktoria Korodi has been with Kinsta since November 2019. She originally joined as our Quality Assurance Associate and was later promoted to Quality Assurance Team Lead before becoming Kinsta’s Head of Quality Assurance.
Her background is in software testing, mostly around mobile applications: “It’s a love story that started back in 2010,” she said. She’s self-taught and will always be grateful for the support her developer colleagues gave her when she was just starting out.
Viktoria has always had a certain hunger for change within her, which was only appeased once she encountered a culture that resonated with her own values.
She appreciates Kinsta’s friendly atmosphere, consistently helpful management, and great growth opportunities. She considers it “as perfect a workplace as she can imagine.”
Viktoria is Hungarian and resides in Budapest. In her free time, she loves gaming, reading books, and taking care of her pets.
Viktoria’s Identity at Work
During our chat, we dove right into identity — a powerful tool, she attests, once you know how to leverage it. Viktoria uses her own identity along with her experience to strive to create an environment of collaboration and mutual understanding. She wants everyone on her team to feel “safe, respected, and valued.”
To her, “Working in IT as a woman was not as easy a few years ago. It’s truly empowering to see how, at Kinsta, it feels much simpler than I’ve ever experienced it to be.”
She adds how it gives her hope that considerable changes can be made within the industry as a whole.
“All I’ve ever experienced here was the constant, unwavering support of the company as a whole, as well as my managers. Everyone has empowered me since day one,” she added. “It’s what makes Kinsta feel like it’s deserving of my efforts and dedication, every single day.”
Viktoria’s Inspirations and Learning
The biggest learning she derived from her professional experience is that everyone is equal and should be treated as such.
It’s Viktoria’s mother whose courage and brilliant achievements fill her heart with inspiration. She’s most drawn to female leaders showing the traits of “persistence, consistency, purposefulness, and confidence.”
Viktoria on Challenges and Advice
Viktoria confidently invites our readers to set their fear aside and “Dare to show everyone you are as important as everyone else,” and to not let the apparent necessity to prove one’s worth and experience stop them.
Her suggestion for the men who want to facilitate the access of other women to positions of leadership is to keep their bias in check “Ask yourselves: Is the action you’re set out to take discriminatory or supportive? The right spirit’s team spirit.”
Quote by Oscar Wilde
Who Is Taryn?
Taryn Bonugli is Kinsta’s Director of Talent Acquisition. Taryn joined Kinsta back in September 2021 as a Senior Talent Acquisition Manager and was promoted into her new role one year in.
Taryn has worked in Global Talent Acquisition for various companies across the tech industry for 15+ years. She went to art school in South Africa, moved to the UK, and started working in sales.
She moved into an in-house Talent Acquisition role to broaden her scope and work closely with key stakeholders, and she loves partnering with business executives and technical leaders to develop innovative talent attraction strategies.
Taryn is passionate about relationship management and developing people. She has since gained qualifications in psychology, counseling skills, coaching, and project management.
Web and application hosting is fundamental in today’s technology-driven market; that’s what made her decide to join. Kinsta’s values resonate with her own, and she thoroughly enjoys working with amazing Kinstanians.
Taryn is South African by birth but has lived all over: London for 14 years, Mallorca for one, and Berlin for four. She has recently elected London as her residence again. In her free time, she loves traveling, exploring new places, interior design, painting, playing golf, dancing, and yoga.
Taryn’s Identity at Work
Her background informs the way she carries herself at work: “Being a female global citizen, growing up in South Africa, and living in four different countries has been challenging and often confusing.”
Taryn shares how it helped her thrive in diverse environments. It has made her who she is today and has given her the depth to connect with people from all walks of life.
“Talent Acquisition is all about building relationships and connecting with others,” she then says, adding that her identity has allowed her to adapt to various situations and thrive in ever-changing environments.
To Taryn, Kinsta is the first company she’s worked for that “truly lives and breathes its core values. I thoroughly enjoy working in an equitable, supportive, and inclusive environment.” She even claims she looks forward to Mondays!
When she joined Kinsta as the first Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, she was responsible for building the Talent Acquisition team from the ground up. One year in, she was promoted to Director of Talent Acquisition.
“Kinsta immediately recognized my contribution and valued my expertise,” she says. “I have worked in the tech industry for over 15 years, and it has taken me far longer to get where I am today, constantly competing with male peers. This has empowered me to build a talented and diverse team that focuses on identifying potential and not just ticking off checkboxes.”
Taryn’s Inspirations and Learnings
Taryn’s invaluable lesson? She’s more sure than ever that “Females can progress and be promoted based purely on merit.
“Due to industry norms, it may take longer to climb that career ladder, but we don’t have to ‘play the game’ and shout the loudest to be recognized for delivering great work. Persevere, demonstrate your expertise, and join a company where your values are aligned, and you’ll be rewarded!”
Taryn’s mother is and always will be her biggest inspiration: “She was a lead fashion buyer who traveled the world and constantly had to compete against her male counterparts. She never wavered, dealt with regular setbacks admirably, and achieved top positions across the fashion industry.
“I know she had to deal with more adversity than I ever have, but it never showed; she persevered and enjoyed a highly successful career. A strong and ambitious lady!”
Taryn is in awe of female leaders showing “resilience, grit, empathy, entrepreneurship, perseverance, and adaptability.”
Taryn on Challenges and Advice
Her piece of advice for women striving to achieve success in a male-dominated space is to “Seek out mentors and join relevant communities.”
She adds, “Most female leaders I’ve worked with thoroughly enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise as well as supporting females across the industry to reach their full potential.”
As for the men, Taryn invites them to “Refrain from treating females differently and instead view us as equals.
“After all, we should all have the same opportunities and feel empowered to thrive — together.”
Every woman at Kinsta has a unique background, a different take on things, as well as a distinct voice. We were pleased to share our four interviewees’ thoughts with you, to keep the conversation on women at work alive throughout the year.
We also thank all of our interviewees for taking the time to talk with us and dive deep into the theme of women in leadership.
Discover more about us and our job opportunities for you to thrive in, on our careers page.
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