Women in ICT

Meet Ivo Lukas.

Ivo Lukas

Occupation: CEO/Founder / COO & Director of Global Mentorship Programs
Employer: 24Notion / Girls in Tech
Memorable Quote: “We need to keep innovating and then executing simultaneously — we always need to be ahead of the curve and plugged in.”

Ivo Lukas is an advocate for trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, and embracing your inner “geek”. Giving back to the community is important to Ivo – and this shows through her work with 24Notion and Girls in Tech. Keep reading to find out why Ivo believes so strongly in ICT!

What is your current job title and what day-to-day activities does this job entail?
During the day, I am the CEO/Founder for 24Notion, while during my off time – I am the COO & Director of global Mentorship Programs for Girls in Tech.

My day-to-day is always changing. Juggling both worlds of running an agency and working within the non-profit sector is challenging at times. But I manage to make it work. From coming up with visions, planning and brainstorming to executing any number of our projects, my daily tasks vary. I travel quite often, too. We have clients all over the world and it is important to stay connected with them on a face-to-face level. Leading a team is a 24/7 job and constantly making sure that we are growing is a huge aspect of our role. We need to keep innovating and executing simultaneously — we always need to be ahead of the curve and plugged in.

At girls in tech, I run the operational side in addition to global mentorship programs. From developing and working closely with the other officers within the organizations in a rebuilding structure, launching new chapters to manage relationships and partnerships, and as working closely with MDs on our current chapters from all over the world – I wear a lot of hats within the organization. Our officers, volunteers, and managing directors all over the world stay connected via email, Skype, social media and other forms of online communications with all of our international managing directors, as well as 3rd party partnerships. Late last year, I launched the Mentorship Program and am continuing to build our curriculum partnerships, sponsorships and some of the key liaisons to expand the Global mentorship programs as a whole.

What is your educational background (if any)?

My background is diverse — I started out in graphic design/visual communications, then, hopped into computer & information technology early within my career. Therefore, I was able to combine conceptual visualization and Information Technology.

What experiences led you to your current position?

This is almost impossible to explain in just one paragraph, but I’ll try.
I have always been fascinated with technology and creativity and how to merge innovative solutions for both of these worlds. People around me always viewed them separately – you have your ‘techies’ and your ‘creatives’. But, I saw it differently.
So, with this mindset, it has been a natural progression for me to run my own agency while helping support the Girls in Tech community. These experiences have led me to promote trying something different. Throughout my career, I have always been curious about trying new and challenging things. There is so much to do in life and you only get one shot at it! Experience it all – try as many things as you can. It can be within a company or outside. Go volunteer and step out of your comfort zone. I always try to take on challenging new roles within my position or set difficult goals for myself. This ensures that I am constantly growing and improving. It is too easy to get stuck in a comfortable role.

What was the most defining moment of your career?

Building my agency from the ground up. Bootstrapping a company takes courage, persistence and positive attitude. Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of risk, but also a lot of heart and hard work. And not only are start-ups themselves difficult, 24Notion was built with a mission of giving back – my first priority. I stepped out of my comfort zone and into what people would definitely label as a danger zone. Building something from nothing but then also giving back almost everything that comes in shocked the business world, but it has worked. We have stayed close to our mission and have even been voted two years in a row as the 23rd most philanthropic company by Portland Business Journal.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

Working with people from all around the world is incredibly rewarding and stimulating. Being able to gain a world perspective is essential for any business that hopes to grow and any person that wants to take part in the global conversation that is happening today. With so many instant online communications, our conversations are expanding and being able to be a part of this transition and learn from people halfway across the world is enriching.

In addition, because of my passion for the Mentorship program, watching its development has been thoroughly gratifying. See my Huffpost article: Who Are the Next Generation’s Leaders in STEM?

With GITM program, I get to make a difference by inspiring young women to pursue a career in ICT. And at my day job, I get to solve problems that our clients are facing each day with innovative thinking and creativity! Now that’s really cool.

All in all, you asked for the most rewarding aspect of my job, but just like my job descriptions – there are too many to count. Everyday it changes because I am always doing something new.

What skills are most important for your role?

Building an agency at 24Notion:
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Passion
  • Holistic approach to technology
  • Detailed approach to technology
  • The ability to think outside the box
  • Implementation - we can come up with big ideas but getting them off the ground is extremely important.
Building a non-profit and volunteer organizations at Girls in Tech:
  • Organization skills
  • Global thinker
  • Network support
  • Women empowerment in making a difference
  • Open mindedness in day-to-day tasks

There is a common misconception that ICT is boring; can you give us an example why your job is NOT boring.

Definitely not! I get to work with amazing women from all over the world at Girls in Tech. They are smart, bright and we speak geeky language together!

Why do you think women are poorly represented in ICT jobs?

There are a few reasons why the gender gap is huge:
  1. A past misconception of ICT is that it is not a “cool” job. People think – it’s just too “geeky”. However this is changing. Personally, I think it is cool to be called a geeky girl. Misconception; misperception and misrepresented. You could be smart, cool, and geeky and still be a leader!
  2. There is not enough exposure for girls at a young age. Studies have shown that if we do not expose girls by the first or second grade, then most likely they will not be interested. Girls are not given a chance when they feel ICT is completely foreign to them. Exposure is essential.
  3. School/After-School Programs/Mentorship programs: We need more leaders to step out from their comfort zones and give back to the community. You see so many of these “Women in Tech” groups that are so great, but let’s not only have women helping each other in their careers but also mentoring the future generation.
  4. There is an intimidation that comes with a male-dominated industry. I recently encountered a particularly female engineer at the local GIT chapter. She shared with me that she was so excited that Girls in Tech is an organization that brings together women who share common interests — since the only ones that share her interest at work are 15 male engineers. She is the only woman in the entire department.

Why do you think girls should learn ICT skills?

Why not? It’s one of the highest paid fields in the country right now. It is cool and interesting to be a geeky girl. You could code, make money, and work from anywhere. ICT is becoming a more and more desirable job – everything is now online and web-based. Girls should learn ICT skills to stay ahead of the curve and join one of the fastest growing industries.

Can you list ‘5’ ICT jobs that you think our readers would love.

1. Engineers
2. Programmers/developers
3. Technologist/IT
4. Network Managers
5. Lead applications Developer
6. Business Intelligence Analyst

If our readers wanted to pursue a career like yours, what advice/resources would you recommend to them?

• Join our Girls in Tech Mentorship(GITm) programs.
• Contact me at [email protected]
• Follow me @MsSonicFlare.

If you could conjure up one quote to inspire young women, what would it be?

“Be bold, be persistent and never give up! Pursue your dreams in ICT! Technology, coding, programming and other technologies will be the driving force for better living in the future!!!!!” - Ivo Lukas