The Polish Chapter of Women in Localization just opened last month. The timing could not be better, since Poland is becoming a very important hub for the localization industry in Europe. Anna Pietruszka is the Chapter Manager for WL Poland and she tells us something about herself, something about our industry in Poland and what she is planning for the newly minted chapter. She is a very impressive professional who has kept nourishing younger women because she values education and mentorship and knows what a difference they can make at the onset of someone's career. We need more women like Anna, so read on about how she does it and then find your tribe with Women in Localization!
1. What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Anna Pietruszka and I am in charge of strategic business growth and mergers and acquisitions at Summa Linguae. My company develops organically and by mergers and acquisitions, and I am in charge of synergies of implementation and stability. Summa Linguae is headquartered in Krakow, Poland and I am based here, but I travel between our offices in Bangalore, Bucharest and Warsaw.
2. What did you study and how did you get into localization?
I studied Political Science and Project Management and got my first job in localization at Argos. I was lucky to meet my first boss and mentor Kimon Fountoukidis, founder of Argos, and that is how I entered the localization industry in Poland 15 years ago.
3. In your position you must do a lot of traveling. Where do you travel and is it all for business?
Yes, I do travel a lot, but always come back to Krakow as I have my family here. Taking care of mergers and acquisitions I regularly visit different countries and then I travel to Summa Linguae’s offices in Europe, USA and India. Although I already travel a lot for business, I am really passionate about traveling and visiting the rest of the world so I travel a lot even for leisure.
4. Really? Where do you travel and why?
I travel a lot for my cycling trainings, I do triathlon and as you can imagine, Poland is quite cold during a big part of the year, so I visit other countries where I can do cycling all year round.
5. That’s very interesting, a localization executive and an athlete! Poland is coming up as an important center for the localization industry in Europe. Can you tell us something about that?
Poland, and specifically Krakow, is one of the world’s main outsourcing centers. A lot of international companies are opening offices in Poland, from operations, to localization and marketing. The competition from emerging markets is very strong and our sector is no exception, but companies know that here they can find specialized workforce, especially for localization. This is what has contributed to the expansion of the localization industry in Poland.
6. You mentioned before that your first boss was also your mentor and that is how you made it into the localization industry. How important do you think it is for women who are just approaching our industry to find a mentor?
Yes, I think this is very important. My experience is that every stage of your professional development has different needs of support. Having a mentor who will be able to support you and make you develop is a key.
7. What is your experience as a woman in our industry? Did you face challenges, discrimination, etc.?
I was lucky enough to meet very professional coworkers and bosses, starting from Kimon, CEO at Argos, Andrzej, CEO of XTRF, and now Krzysztof, at Summa Linguae. I was lucky to be mentored and to establish relationships based on partnership and mutual respect. I guess my biggest gender-related experience is connected with women empowerment. In my career I sometimes meet women who are unsupportive and unnecessarily competitive. This approach is very toxic as it creates dynamics that in the end are worse for all. I decided to act in the opposite way and to do everything possible to empower women who will stay in the company in the long run and maybe even become my personal friends. This is my personal goal, to empower women in a positive and productive way.
8. Women in Localization's values and principles are centered around mutual support, empowerment and mentorship. Is this what brought you to Women in Localization?
Yes, what attracted me to Women in Localization is that I felt I had common values with this organization of incredibly accomplished and supportive women. I think this is very important. My experience is that at every stage of your professional development you have different needs in terms of support. Having a mentor who supports you and helps your professional development is a key factor. Many times in my career during job interviews, I encountered very shy young women who did not believe in themselves. But I knew that they will be great leaders - and later on I worked with them and turned them into leaders and business professionals. Seeing them grow up and become accomplished professionals with my own eyes was the best experience ever. I keep in touch with many of them, even now that I am no longer working with them. They still call me or email me to ask my opinion. This is how I think real support translates into real empowerment for fellow women.
9. You are a very accomplished professional in our industry. What do you consider your biggest success, Anna?
Contributing to the creation of successful professional women is probably my biggest achievement. This is why I wanted to share it in our industry as there is strong need for this type of support and mentorship. Too often women place their own professional development as the lowest priority, but my goal is to create a space and time for them where they can focus on their development and grow professionally. As you can see, Women in Localization's values are very connected with my own values.
10. Poland is our newest chapter and you are in a place where our industry seems to have really taken off. What is your plan in terms of events and how do you want to manage your chapter?
I am very happy that we managed to put together a team of women who have the same values and goals. I will work along with Joanna Tarsiewicz, Iwona Bąk, Iga Piwowarczyk, Marta Milewska to set up events and meetings in our industry in Poland. For now, we are planning three types of events:
- Meetings in connection with our industry conferences. The first one will take place just after the TLC conference in Warsaw on March 24th, 2018.
- Networking events once per quarter both in Krakow and in Warsaw.
- Industry know-how sharing events for experienced localization professionals as well as for students or newly graduated women who are evaluating their professional choices.
Our goal for the first quarter is to establish awareness about Women in Localization and our chapter. The localization industry in Poland is very spread around, so it will be important for us to be very active on social media and share knowledge, articles, etc. so that even women who are from different cities and might not be able to attend the events, can still benefit from our knowledge and organization.
11. Wow, that looks like an amazing plan! You make me want to move to Poland and network here. When is your first event and where is it going to be?
On March 23rd we will have a booth at the TLC conference in Warsaw and we will give a presentation. Right after this conference, on March 24th, we will have our first networking event in Warsaw. Then the next one will take place in Krakow mid-May.
I am very excited about this new chapter of Women in Localization. With the chapter management team we have weekly teleconferences and we already have a lot of fun, so I hope we'll continue to grow and reach all the women professionals in our industry.
Anna, thank you for your time and for sharing your story, your knowledge and your plans about your chapter. It looks like you have assembled an incredible team and you have an impressive line-up of events. So, good luck and keep up the amazing work you are doing for yourself and other women!