Women’s History Month: Hear how Udemy enables opportunities for women everywhere
The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” Udemy’s hope is that one day women and girls around the world will be free to receive an education that helps them realize their dreams. As a leading global destination for teaching and learning online, we believe in the power of education to promote hope and provide opportunities for women and girls around the globe.
To honor Women’s History Month and the contributions of the many women Udemates who log on every day to help us further our mission of enabling opportunities for individuals and businesses across the world, we reached out to some women Udemates from our global offices: Nadine Kralovec, Manager of our Scaled Customer Success team for Europe Middle East and Africa (Dublin), Mairóna Finucane, Account and Partnerships Manager – Affiliate Marketing (Dublin), Cansu Atacan Batur, Engineering Manager (Istanbul), and Silvia Seceleanu, Senior Data Scientist (San Francisco). Their thoughts are below, and one consistent response from all four was the importance of representation, education, and creating an environment where all people everywhere feel like they belong.
Enjoy! And if you would like to work with individuals such as these while helping other women around the globe achieve their goals by teaching and learning online, then check out our careers page – we’re always looking for exceptional talent!
How has Udemy supported you in feeling a sense of inclusion, equity, and belonging at work?
Nadine: I’m a proud born and raised Austrian who has been living in Ireland for over eight years. Living and working in a country where you use a language other than your mother tongue can make me feel like I’m at a disadvantage. Yet since joining Udemy, not once have I felt excluded, misunderstood, or ignored for the fact that English is not my first language. This is because at Udemy, we have colleagues from almost every walk-of-life and we celebrate the expertise and diverse perspectives that they bring to the workplace. For example, our EMEA Customer Success team alone includes 15 different nationalities and over 12 different languages are spoken by the team. Rather than all trying to be the same, we leverage each other’s strengths to make the entire company better.
Mairóna: Udemy and all my wonderful colleagues have accepted me for who I am, allowing me to flourish and grow in an environment that celebrates individuality and encourages wellbeing. I’m never afraid to be myself or speak my mind, and this has given me confidence in my abilities – something I have never before experienced in a workplace.
Cansu: From the moment I started my interview process with Udemy, I could tell that this is a company that values its people. Then when I started working at Udemy, I started to see more closely how important and seriously Udemy lives by its core values, even attending several training sessions structured around the importance of our core values – you can check out Udemy’s core values here. Because of this emphasis on values and culture, I quickly began to feel like a member of the Udemy family and had a long-held personal belief affirmed – that our differences make us stronger every time.
Silvia: Thinking about my time in tech as a woman and a foreigner, Udemy has had the most diverse representation when it comes to individual contributors and managers at a company. As a woman in particular, I am inspired to see other women in higher levels both on my team and generally across the business. It makes me proud to work for a company where I know women are supported and able to build their careers. Moving the needle on inclusivity, equity, and belonging can only happen with both top-down and bottom-up approaches.
I greatly enjoy the work I do on the Marketing Personalization Algorithms (MPA) team. A key reason is that our projects tend to be cross-functional and complex, which means we need to tightly collaborate with stakeholders and partners across the company. These cross-functional projects succeed because space is ensured for all voices to be heard. Each team – partner or stakeholder – brings a different perspective, not just by virtue of the department or title, but also the person’s background. Magic happens when you empower everyone to have a say at the table.
How has Udemy empowered you as a woman in the workplace?
Nadine: When interviewing with Udemy Business, I became aware of the fact that we have very strong female leadership in our Customer Success organization. I spoke to brilliant female leaders (Stephanie Stapleton, Vice President of Customer Success, and Caoimhe Carlos, Senior Director of Customer Success) during the process and they totally sold me on Udemy. And since being hired, I work with exceptionally talented and inspiring women during my day-to-day work. Why does this matter? In other organizations, I found myself mostly surrounded by male leaders. As a woman, trying to imitate another gender’s leadership style can feel inauthentic and didn’t sit well with me. As a result, I always had to look outside companies to find mentors and leaders I could learn from. Now, I collaborate with these amazing female leaders every day, so a lot of learning occurs naturally in the flow of work.
Only a couple of weeks into my time at Udemy, I was chosen to be part of our global Employee Resource Group (ERG), Women at Udemy leadership team. I get to work cross-functionally with an amazing group of women from around the globe to bring a broad range of topics that are of interest to women to the attention of all our colleagues. We have the full support and trust from the executive leadership team and are able to facilitate several conversations across the organization. Activities are not just limited to Women’s History Month either. As an example, we ran an EmpowerU event series where we touched on topics such as financial planning with a specific focus on women. It’s extra rewarding when we receive positive feedback from Udemates of all genders.
Mairóna: Udemy has given me access to an abundance of learning opportunities that have enabled me to build key skills for both short and long-term career success. Additionally, I receive encouragement and mentorship from my female peers and colleagues daily that enable and inspire me to excel in my career.
Udemy also provides flexibility and work/life balance as a female professional – offering us all the time and resources we need to help us balance high job expectations, office commitments, tight meeting schedules, and all of life’s duties and responsibilities. We have designated times to set goals, dedicated focus time free from meetings and emails, time to upskill and learn (Drop Everything and Learn Hour), time-off to spend with our families, and one day a month for personal development (U-Day)! We also have many wellness benefits such as Maven (family planning resource), Irish Life Health, and Headspace.
Cansu: Udemy is so focused on the success of its people it encourages everyone to develop their skills according to their personal career path. What’s more, every Udemate discusses their career path with their manager and what they wish to achieve every six months. Because of this, we always feel supported in every aspect of our careers.
I’d also like to echo Mairóna’s point about work/life balance – Udemy gives you flexibility and work/life balance as a female professional. If Udemates are demotivated for any reason, I know Udemy will do its best to support them and make them feel that they belong.
Silvia: There are so many ways in which I’ve been supported at Udemy, both through formal and informal channels. On the one hand, ERGs or our internal mentorship program, MentorU, have been great ways to find community and support. On the other hand, I am grateful to be part of an amazing team, where I have the opportunity to be mentored in soft and hard skills by numerous individuals across the organization, from individual contributors all the way up to our director, and vice president.
Why are you proud to work at Udemy?
Nadine: The culture and people we have here at Udemy are truly special. And we are all united in our mission to create new possibilities by opening knowledge to all, from all. It doesn’t get better than that! As a company in the learning and development space, I can’t remember a week when I didn’t learn something new. Learning doesn’t stop when your onboarding is over! You have so many options that are being made available (from free Udemy Courses, enablement & training on the job, and new demands due to business evolution) to grow and expand your skillset. Learning is at the core of what we do as a business and it’s truly at the core of how we develop our talent as well.
Mairóna: I feel so lucky and privileged to be part of the incredible Udemy journey, and I’m unbelievably proud to work for such an amazing, successful, progressive, and mission-focused company that values and cares for their employees as much as Udemy.
Cansu: Udemy’s culture focuses on equity, supporting people in every way, and enabling them the time to focus on their work and develop their career paths. I think Udemy’s culture is amazing! I am forever grateful to have a chance to work in this environment.
Silvia: I want to make a difference in the lives of people, and I know that education is one of the most potent ways to do so. As an economist, I vehemently enjoy Udemy’s business model in which students can help determine the popularity of the courses being offered by providing feedback and ratings. Creative instructors that have a knack for teaching and an instinct for business will reach millions of students, and conversely, millions of students can access educational resources that they otherwise never could. It’s pretty amazing. I’ll add that I am very proud to work for the Data team at Udemy too! It’s special.
What’s one (personal or professional) accomplishment that you’re proud of?
Nadine: Years ago, I completed an advanced diploma in coaching with Neuroscience. Little did I realize when I started studying again how much of an impact coaching would have on my everyday life. These coaching skills were instrumental in helping me navigate the early days of the pandemic – providing the foundation for self-management to help me navigate the unknown. Equally important is that I leverage my coaching mindset to help my team reach their full potential. I am proud of the ever-growing learning muscle I’ve built, and the strength and resilience that comes as a result of this muscle.
Mairóna: I joined Udemy in August 2020 and worked hard to learn how to perform my job remotely during the pandemic, in a different timezone to the rest of the team, while successfully driving growth and expansion in the United Kingdom and Europe. I learned how resilient and adaptable I am, and this makes me proud.
Silvia: I’m proud of moving the needle for our customer’s lifetime value and personalization initiatives at Udemy. I’ve grown so much with these projects, I’ve met a lot of friends and mentors along the way and ultimately, contributed to making our learners’ experience and career prospects better!
What are you most excited about in 2022?
Mairóna: I’m looking forward to working closely with and learning from the super Performance Marketing team and hopefully meeting lots of Udemates in person in 2022!
Silvia: The Marketing Personalization Algorithms (MPA) team is launching a lot of new projects after we proved last year that email personalization can lead to significant site-wide lift and a much more unified student experience!