Interview by Marija Butkovic @MarijaButkovic
Marina, tell us a bit about your background and your projects so far.
My name is Marina, I’m 27. I graduated in economics with honors from the Budapest Business School and even during my years at the university, I worked at Sanatmetal Ltd, a Hungarian medical device manufacturer company, as an intern. That is where later on I became director of the company’s new startup division, the WIWE mobile ECG, and so this is the chief project I have been working on. WIWE is basically a business card sized wearable, a medical diagnostic device, that pairs with the user’s smartphone or tablet to assess their risk for Afib stroke and sudden cardiac arrest.
How did you get into this industry?
I had been interested in digital innovations and given that the company I was working for established a new division in 2014 to build a heart monitor based on digital sensors, I was happy to say yes, when I was asked later on to head it up.
What does your current job role entail?
My tasks include the overall management of the division, such as sales, marketing, customer care, manufacturing and logistics. My main focus is generating new leads and strengthening existing partner relations to increase revenue as well as to develop the WIWE brand. Right now I’m evaluating this year’s results and making business plans for 2019.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
The project is called „WIWE”, which is the above mentioned mobile ECG and heart diagnostic device with genuinely unique features making it the most advanced of its kind in the world. I am working on strengthening its market position on the international market.
How has your career progressed since your degree? Has it been an easy industry to get into or have you had many challenges?
It was not at all easy to get into this industry and into the position I currently hold. Actually, I was working in catering at weekends even during my high school years so hard work was nothing new to me and I did not have „pink dreams” about opportunities and challenges I would have to face on the job market after graduation. I climbed the entire career ladder at Sanatmetal Ltd. I had started out as an intern at the sales division - I was lucky, though, that I was not given the usual tasks such as photocopying, or making coffee. I worked and studied hard and I was given tasks with increasing responsibility, such as creating reports for the director of the sales division.
After graduating I was offered a full-time job at the company as sales assistant to one of the sales directors and when they realized that I worked fast and managed things nicely, I was asked to assist two directors. After that I was made assistant to the sales director of the entire holding and later on I was made assistant to the CEO. As a result, I was also made the head of the entire secretary department where I was given long-term strategic tasks and from that position I was made director of the Diagnostic Division.
How long did it take you to be where you are now?
It took three and a half years.
What was the biggest obstacle?
I needed and need to learn something new every day, there was and is always some new challenge to face so it’s been a constant effort to improve myself. The company’s profile is very unique and it actually requires this constant effort from my part to be able to go forward. I would say, the biggest challenge was to make others realize and recognize that despite my young age I worked very hard and efficient to get to where I am at and it did not happen by chance that I was made director of the division: Things do not just happen, it takes constant effort from my and my team’s part to progress.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
I would say my greatest achievement was to make myself, being in the role of a young female director, appreciated and recognized by CEO’s of venerable partner companies and even by other managers in the company. Some of them admitted that they were pleasantly surprised by and expressed their appreciation for how great I have been doing as a director. I am also proud of my success in managing the WIWE team, helping each member with my guidance, support and decisions to achieve our common goal and become a successful division in the company.
What does the #WomenInTech movement mean to you? What are the challenges of being a woman in wearable tech / IoT?
This segment is definitely more attractive to men than women and it is true, that it is not easy to satisfy the requirements. Girls may often think that we just do not have a feel for modern technology. But I think more and more of us are interested in technology because this is the future and we have the same knowledge base, we can have as good ideas and visions as men do.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all women in this industry out there?
You can learn to do anything! If you are smart, you can make it in any field! Go for it, girl!
In your opinion, what will be the key trends in the wearable tech and IoT industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
I believe, it is to merge as many functions and features into standalone devices. The more advanced a device becomes because of its manifold features, the less there will be market for a multitude of cheap gadgets and the more we can do with standalone devices. And just like it is seen in smartphones, AI will have a leading role in the field of wearables too. And then only sky’s the limit…
Who are your 3 inspirational women in tech?
Julia Taylor of Cheek of Everly Well because I’m also pushing on in the health industry, Payal Kadakia Pujji of ClassPass, because I regularly work out and Jenn Hyman of Rent the Runway, because I love shopping for clothes☺.
This interview was conducted by Marija Butkovic, Digital Marketing and PR strategist, founder and CEO of Women of Wearables and co-founder of Kisha Smart Umbrella. She regularly writes and speaks on topics of wearable tech, fashion tech, IoT, entrepreneurship and diversity. Visit marijabutkovic.co.uk or follow Marija on Twitter @MarijaButkovic @Women_Wearables @GetKisha.