International Women’s Day – Elena Fedotova

Women in Big Data is spotlighting 8 amazing women on March 8th, International Women’s Day.
Elena Fedotova is an Information Development Manager at Intel with 20-years experience in technical writing, information architecture, and content strategy. She holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics from St Petersburg State University and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Nizhny Novgorod State University, Russia. Elena is the Director of the Russian WiBD Chapter that was founded in March, 2017, and since then has been regularly recognized by WiBD EMEA leads for “ongoing leadership and setting the bar”.

Elena Fedotova

My career story began many Pentiums ago when I joined Intel in 2000 as a technical writer. And I’m still married to this company and to this profession (here I must say “Look how stable and reliable female employees are!”). Despite my fidelity to the company, I enjoy freedom in my professional relationships since I’m dating two exciting partners: computer science and linguistics. I’ve been living with this combo my whole life: writing poetry and playscripts at school never prevented me from solving trigonometric equations just for pleasure, and getting my master’s degree in philology didn’t stop me from getting the second one in computer science.

Two years ago, I was asked to lead the Russian WiBD chapter. I survived typical doubts many girls go through (bingo!) about whether I was the right choice for this. There was another caveat. I was brought up by a company where diversity and inclusion culture were deeply rooted in employees’ DNA, and I have never felt any inequities or any urge to lead a coup d’etat. But I followed the discipline recommended by the Little Prince to “tend the planet” (yes, I have kids of the school age and have to remember the Little Prince quotes). The very first meetup paid me back with a sincere, proactive response and gratitude from the female audience.

My personal anamnesis with two diverse degrees definitely helped me in my role of the Women in Big Data chapter lead. For our audience, I am one of the witnesses that any radical career twists are possible, whatever your background.

I must say that driving a gender-specific project in Russia, known for its conservatism, is really a challenge. Confronting provocative questions in front of an audience of 200 male engineers and scientists is a challenge. But that was expected. We didn’t count much on the support from (let’s call them symmetrically) men in tech. And this is another bias we happily got rid of. Male support was enormous, and it still is. No fights and competitions. Collaboration and emerging opportunities instead.

In the very beginning of my WiBD journey I was inspired by an idea from Tina Rosario to start making a difference early – from school age. This is one of my personal triggers as a mother of two kids. My daughter is 12 and she has gone through ballet dancing and boxing, currently landing at Math Olympiad and theatre schools. Looking at this “diversity” trend she demonstrates, I won’t be surprised with having another technical writer in the family. But she has a choice that is not pre-determined by the society. This is what our community is contributing to.

According to social studies, many women make their career choice thinking in terms of a global purpose, a humanity in action. A field of data science discovers a lot of potential for shaping the future. Building these development opportunities in Russia, creating a strong professional network, influencing the youth, collaborating with industry leaders on shaping the hiring pipeline is hard work and a high responsibility. Too much for males only. We are always here to share this burden.?

Bio:

Elena Fedotova is an Information Development Manager at Intel with 20-years experience in technical writing, information architecture, and content strategy. She holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics from St Petersburg State University and a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Nizhny Novgorod State University, Russia. Elena is the Director of the Russian WiBD Chapter that was founded in March, 2017, and since then has been regularly recognized by WiBD EMEA leads for “ongoing leadership and setting the bar”.

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