For the final edition of our Women in Tech series, launched to celebrate some of our talented female Amdarians, we spoke with Vesela Nikolova, the Bulgarian Centre Director of Amdaris. In honour of International Women’s day, we asked Vesela about her experiences as a woman working in the STEM industry, and her thoughts on how we can encourage more women to make a switch into the field.
Vesela discussed her varied career path which led her to the STEM industry and her hope of inspiring and motivating other women who are also looking to make a career change. She highlights the importance of creating educational programmes and opportunities for women in tech and emphasises the need to mentor and support women when they are moving into a male-dominated sector.
Q: How long have you been working in the STEM industry and what is your current role?
I am the Centre Director of the Bulgarian office at Amdaris. My STEM experience started a few years ago when I previously worked in an international esports platform. I am very excited about my new role at Amdaris and I hope I can motivate those who are afraid to join the STEM field because they feel like they don’t have enough industry experience. I haven’t spent a long time in this specific industry either, so I hope that people can see that anyone can join if they have the right passion, skillset, and determination. My current tasks include strategy, growth in the region, and implementing and maintaining appropriate standards in our new Bulgarian Centre. I am also responsible for leading and supporting operational business functions including HR, marketing, and finance, and preparing the floor for our exceptional team in Sofia!
Q: Can you tell us about your career journey?
I am a finance graduate and one of my first roles was as an investment fund administrator. I co-founded the Bulgarian branch of the world’s largest consulting NGO and have also previously worked as a teaching assistant at Maastricht University. I later joined an esports media startup as a Finance and Business Development Manager and co-founded an ecommerce business, where I was a Managing Director. I am grateful to all the people I have met throughout my journey, and I believe my varied career history and experiences add a lot of useful value to my growth in the STEM industry.
Q: How was it making a big career jump from being an Entrepreneur and working in finance and consulting to becoming the Bulgarian Centre Director at Amdaris?
My career path is varied because I was always keen to join different industries, meet people from diverse backgrounds and experience the best of everything out there, including working in start-ups, NGOs, and being an entrepreneur. I feel motivated by making a career jump into STEM and I am really looking forward to the future. I don’t think people should be scared to change their career path and challenge themselves to try something new – it’s the best way to stay inspired and never stop growing.
Q: What made you interested in joining the STEM field?
I have always been interested in the STEM field, I just didn’t have the chance to join it until recently as I was previously working in finance and business. Due to my previous experience, it was difficult to imagine what strategic value I may add to the industry. But when I met the leadership team at Amdaris, I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of the team and support the amazing vision and growth mindset the company has.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of a STEM-based career?
One of the best things about working in STEM is the fact that you are always ahead of the game and are surrounded by the newest, best, and most productive technologies. Tech is the fastest growing industry and if you are part of it, I believe you are a part of building the future. There is an unprecedented need for software development services, as they make our lives easier and help us reach the next level of innovation. The industry also creates positive changes in society not only through work but also through different initiatives such as sustainability and women in tech.
Q: In your opinion, what is the best way for women to support other women in getting into the STEM field?
We can already see female underrepresentation in technical universities, which plays a vital role for women looking to join the STEM industry. A good way to solve this issue is to present opportunities and introduce the tech industry to young women through education programmes, mentorship sessions, and networking events. Moreover, we need to help women with the challenges they might face, such as the isolation they may feel in a male-dominated space and the self-doubt that might be stopping them from applying to STEM jobs. We need to host more mentorship programmes and events on the topic, where women from the industry talk about their experiences and answer any questions from females looking to join the industry.
Q: In your opinion, what is the best way forward to achieve a better gender balance in business?
I believe removing stereotypes makes a big difference in creating change. Men outnumber women by a large amount in the Bulgarian STEM industry and the sector is associated mostly with male talent. Therefore, I think men should play a role to welcome women into their teams and be open to their experience, knowledge, and creativity. Women that are already in the industry can also play a key role in encouraging more females in the sector. We need to grow diverse and inclusive environments in order to have great results, and the lack of diversity may lead to a loss of talent and creative ideas.
Q: What are the key goals of women at Amdaris and what milestones has the initiative achieved since its inception?
We are actively supporting women in tech at Amdaris through our mentorship programmes, workshops, and networking opportunities with female tech leaders. We are on a mission to lower the gender gap as much as possible. You can see our success so far from the significant number of women working in Amdaris, which is increasing on a daily basis. We are proud to say that 30% of our technical specialists and leaders are female, which is much higher than the industry average.
Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
When I was young, I remember International Women’s Day being celebrated like another Mother’s Day in Bulgaria. This has since changed, demonstrating that women are no longer believed to be the people who solely stay at home and raise their children. Women today have the choice to choose their own path – whether that means being a stay-at-home mother, a business leader, or a professional. I really like the positive change of this celebration, as it truly represents women nowadays and shows that we can leave gender stereotypes in the past.
Looking for a career in STEM? you can view our careers or contact us using the form below. You can also view our second blog in the series Q&A with Ana Nan, Portfolio Director of Amdaris Romania.