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Q&A with Hilla Bakshi

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Hilla Bakshi, Founder @HaMeetupistiot

How could you describe your career path in few words?

While I had been on the still waters most of my early years, the course of my career took an unexpected turn when I reached my mid-30s. It was only after years of pursuing a career I thought would lead me to happiness that I realized I ignored or was unaware of the gaps and inequality in the ecosystem I loved so much.

I have held numerous positions over 15 years of career, from content management to product marketing, within large corporations as well as small startups, both in Israel and the United States. As I have progressed through my career path, I have neglected the one fact that was evident - I have worked primarily with men.

During my time in Silicon Valley, I became familiar with the world of professional meetups, and I absolutely loved the idea of growing professionally and meeting new colleagues outside of my day-to-day work environment. As soon as I returned to Israel after a year abroad, I found out meetups had also become popular in Tel Aviv, so I was eager to join them whenever I could and continue my old/new habit from the states.

In 2018, Facebook communities popped up everywhere, and I joined each and every one of them in order to connect with some of the women in the tech ecosystem and learn more about them and their aspirations in this male-dominated industry.

In order to bridge this gap, I decided to create a community of female professionals who believed my mission aligned with theirs and inspired them to join me and work together. We are today one of the most respected and well-known communities in Israel's technology ecosystem. We've helped thousands of women gain confidence in their career and work confidently towards their professional and personal goals.

What was your most challenging experience, and it has changed your mindset?

In my case, the challenge was to throw away everything I knew, leave my comfort zone behind, and start over. The challenge included - managing my schedule independently, becoming financially responsible, dealing with sales, self promotion and self branding, and jungle it with everything else in my life. Although It wasn't very comfortable for me to do all this stuff at the beginning, it did become more and more comfortable as I continued doing so over a course of time and got positive feedback from the community and the entire ecosystem. The true revelation for me was to realize I do have something to give back to the circles that surround me and the community I built.

In some ways, it was a new revelation that was both exciting and terrifying at the same time. After 2 whole years that I’ve built my brand and became one of the most well-known figures in the tech ecosystem, I've tried to work for a company as a community manager, a role I have never done before for anyone else but myself, and I failed miserably. I figured I knew too much, had a diverse experience, and my mindset changed completely. It was no longer feasible for me to work for one product and fulfill a specific role, so I used all my skills and experience to find a way to use all my skills simultaneously, without supervision, and I chose to remain independent. By changing my mindset, I was able to think strategically about what I want to do for the world and how I want to build a business.

When you get surprised by an unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?

It is important for me to stay calm and composed when surprised or challenged.

I think it's important for a leader to be a good listener and include everyone in the mission. I always approach every challenge with confidence, flexibility, and a willingness to seek feedback and take action. I invite my colleagues or my team to join the mission once I have gained a sense of what needs to be done. Having managed people since the beginning of my career, I am excellent at delegating responsibilities.

Since resilience is essential for leaders and entrepreneurs, I try to develop and enhance my resilience with every challenging situation. It's not easy at all, so every challenge is like a new struggle I must overcome and learn from.

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?

Female leadership should highlight all the positive attributes a woman can bring to the image of her peers. Be professional, go-getter, but also empathic and empathetic.

Having a clear vision for your organization or community and inspiring others to work toward that vision are important. You should remain true to yourself and your values. You should project confidence instead of competing with others. If others copy your work - you must be doing something right. Don't fight it - work with it. We can become a stronger force together. It is something I have always believed, even when I was a payroll employee. If you want to grow as a person, personally or professionally, always push others to the top. Support other women’s personal goals and growth. Develop your leadership skills and lead by example. Don’t micromanage others, even if you believe they need closer guidance. Encourage your team to experiment and fail in a safe and secure environment. Discover your team's passion and subject of expertise by getting to know your peers and your employees. Push them to fulfill their dreams, to show their superpowers to the world. Every person is a star. Sometimes, they just need your approval to shine. Help others. People remember. Join a community of like-minded professionals - leadership might be a lonely place sometimes.

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