Celebrating International Women’s Day: Anna Rygiewicz

Today marks International Women’s Day – a day which celebrates the many triumphs of women and our ongoing journey towards gender parity. However, it is also a day to acknowledge the gaps we still have in equality, and encourages us to take action in whichever ways we can. This year’s theme, #ChooseToChallenge, is all about challenging ourselves to do better and aim higher.  

Diversity and equality are integral to our culture at First AML – we love celebrating all walks of life and showcasing the amazing talent we have here that’s helping drive our company forward. We speak to some of the incredible women in our business about what IWD means to them.

Today we chat to software developer Anna, to hear about her journey so far and her take on this year’s theme.

What does a typical day look like for you?
On a workday – I wake up, drink coffee, eat a healthy (well, most of the time) breakfast, hop on my motorbike and enjoy the ride to the office. Then at work – some meetings, planning my tasks for the day and of course, coding. In the evenings I’d normally go for a run and chill at home.

On the weekends, I try to spend as much time as I can on exploring new places around Auckland, meeting with friends, or going on motorcycle trips somewhere a bit further and enjoying this beautiful country.

What motivates you to go to work everyday?
Definitely people and the atmosphere at work. It may sound like a cliché, but I genuinely think we have a really positive and encouraging work environment here!

What is your biggest achievement that you’re most proud of?
I’d say changing careers and becoming a Software Developer. I originally finished linguistic studies, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with what I was doing after that, so I started learning to code.

I put a lot of extra effort to get where I am now and I’m pretty sure I’ve finally found a career path I’m excited with.

What importance do you place on gender diversity in workplaces?
In the beginning, most programmers were women. Making hardware was perceived as a more masculine job. Later on, that changed and IT became a predominantly male industry overall. So now, It’s great to see more and more women being involved in IT again. It’s always good to have a diverse team, exchange different ideas, approaches and experiences. That’s what makes us go forward.

What do you like about the working in tech?
It’s never boring! Things are changing and developing so quickly that you need to constantly learn to keep up.

What does IWD mean to you?
The first thing that comes to my mind is a simple thing – getting flowers and candy – that’s a nice tradition on 8th March in Poland, where I come from. But on a more serious note, I’ve had the luxury of living in countries that enabled me equal opportunities, personal development and didn’t limit me, both here in New Zealand and back in Poland. Unfortunately, not all women around the world have such a luxury, so for me, IWD is a day that hopefully makes people aware of women’s rights and the still-existing gender inequality.

Tell us about a woman who inspires you and why it is you think she’s awesome.
My mom! She basically “sacrificed” her career to raise me and my brother. After being a stay-at-home mom for several years, she went back to work and finished university, because she always wanted to.

On the one hand, she’s a very kind person, and on the other, she knows what she wants and fights for it if necessary. I had constant support in her and was encouraged to develop. I’d say, a good role model for these times! 🙂

And if you could ask her a question, what would you want to know?
How to raise such awesome and modest kids? XD

And lastly, what’s your favourite book, movie and song?
My favourite book is “Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions” – nah, just joking – “Pride and Prejudice”! I also love Star Wars Ep. IV-VI and my favourite song would have to be Viva La Vida by Coldplay.

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