For the International Women’s Day, we asked five of Gett’s female leaders to select a woman who has inspired and helped them excel in their profession today. Here’s what we found:
Keren Fanan – Chief Commercial Officer
My biggest female inspiration in business: Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder/CEO of Bumble
In 2012, at the tender age of 22, Wolfe Herd joined the development team at Tinder with Rad and Chris Gulczynski. She became VP of marketing and was reportedly behind the name of the app. She has also been credited with fuelling its popularity and growing its user base with brilliant marketing strategies. Whitney got first-hand experience of the dark side when she left Tinder following an acrimonious incident. After leaving, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company. Whitney came under attack by strangers and was being bullied online. It took her months to recover but Whitney did not give up. She decided to do something about what she had experienced. She wanted to change the online experience for women and girls and to rethink social media in the context of kindness. Together with her new partner she created a new dating company, with a small caveat that made a major impact: once the match has taken place, only the woman can initiate conversation. Bumble, which has grown to 50 million users and $200 million in revenue has made Whitney a billionaire. Currently, 82% of Bumble employees are female, along with nearly all of the executive management.
Keren commented: I first heard Whitney’s story on a podcast and was deeply inspired by her narrative. Whitney saw the potential to rewrite the rules of not just dating, but also social interaction. Bumble is a dating app that is designed to make women make the first move. By doing that, Whitney wanted to reduce harassment and bad behaviour. Women are not going to be spammed. And women will be empowered and encouraged to actually be in the driver’s seat. Whitney encourages women to speak first – which is contradictory to expectations over the past hundreds of years of dating. In one of her interviews Whitney said: “Women are taught not to speak first. They’re taught never to send the first message, never to initiate. And men are taught to be very aggressive and really beat down that wall until she says ‘yes’. That’s Disney. That’s everything.”
I was inspired by Whitney’s ability to pursue justice and fight for her beliefs – she proves that women should not wait to be told their place, but should take it. Motivated by this story, I am working on ‘taking my place’ – taking ownership, being proactive and hopefully, driving a real change.
Adi Shalev, VP Finance
My biggest female inspiration in business: Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors
As General Motors’ first female CEO since 2014 and the first woman to lead any major automotive company, Mary has an unprecedented success story as a passionate, hardworking, dedicated and talented woman! When it comes to diversity, she does not follow the trend. Rather, she is breaking the mould. Under Barra’s leadership, GM is one of two global businesses that have pay equality in the top, middle and bottom ‘bands’, as well as no male/female pay gap across the company. She sees it not only as the right thing to do, but also as essential for getting more women through the door and into the C-suite. Furthermore, GM was the first and only automotive company with a female CEO. They are also one of only two Fortune 500 companies with women in CEO and CFO positions. Finally, 6 of the 13 GM members of the board of directors are women.
Adi comments: “A few years ago, Barry was asked to give advice on ‘how to get ahead’. I was inspired by her answer and added her advice to my toolkit. I began doing my best to act upon it throughout my career.
“While planning for your future is great, the fact is, things change. Opportunities will arise tomorrow that you simply cannot imagine today. If you pass on them because they don’t fit neatly into your current plan or because you’re afraid, you could easily miss your best opportunities for growth. That pang of fear you get when you’re given a challenging opportunity is a good sign. See it as a motivator and an opportunity to learn new skills, work with new people, and expand your experience. Embrace these opportunities. Conquer them. Learn from them. They will be important investments in your career and the milestones that mark your progress. Nothing scary about that.”
Tal Kailler, Rider Product Team Lead
My biggest female inspiration in business: Katherine Johnson – American mathematician
Katherine Johnson was a talented mathematician and one of the first African-American female scientists at NASA. She worked in NASA when African-American people ate their meals separately from white people. Furthermore, women were not allowed to put their names on reports. Throughout her life, Katherine faced gender and race barriers, but she always overcame them with determination. Katherine was assertive and always believed in herself. She broke NASA’s glass ceiling and joined white male forums that other women could not join. She demonstrated incredible resilience in the face of challenges and achieved amazing accomplishments.
Tal comments: “Katherine Johnson was a trailblazer and an inspiration. When I think of something as being difficult, frustrating, unreasonable or sometimes even impossible, I am reminded of her and how she took her fate into her own hands and did not take no for an answer.”
Alina Kisina, General Manager Gett Delivery Russia
My biggest female inspiration in business: Irina Khakamada – Russian economist, political activist, journalist, publicist and politician
Born in 1955, Irina was the daughter of a Japanese Communist who defected to the Soviet Union. She went on to university, earning her doctorate in economics. She served in the Russian Duma from 1993 to 2003 and ran for president of the country in 2004. She was considered for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Irina currently leads a new Democratic party called Nash Vybor and focuses on building a civil society in her native Russia. She has a great talent for encouraging women to aim high: “Learn to dream, to set high goals and go for it while getting a rush from the end result and the process. And if you manage to find and develop this energy, you don’t need any effort, everything will develop by itself – as well as dreams, career and love.”
Alina comments: “Irina has inner strength and persistence. Although not everything always goes as we expect, I learned to never give up and to keep on going! This mantra helps me to see the positives and opportunities even in challenging times.”
Diana Akchurina, Head of Marketing Business Solutions, UK
My biggest female inspiration in business: Grace Kelly – American film actress
Grace was a master at prioritising being a royal figure (she was married to Monaco’s Prince Rainier), placing her royal duties before her Hollywood career. She became an amazing politician, public figure and charity volunteer. She was able to lead people and make the world a better place.
Diana comments: “Balancing your own interests and ambitions with being a good mom and wife is important.”
As you celebrate International Women’s Day, remember that it was only in 1920 that women earned the right to vote. It was in World War II that many American women entered the workforce to support mass production. Over time, women have penetrated more professions, but they still have to advance in their leadership roles in the technology sector.
At Gett, we believe everyone should have the ability to reach their full potential – regardless of their gender.
There are 1,000+ employees at Gett, of whom 47% are women and 45% of all managers are female. With more and more women taking key leading roles, the company is on a path to reach full gender equality.