Updated: Apr 11
Selina Bieber heads up the MENAT region at GoDaddy – the world's largest and trusted domain registrar. Alongside building the brand and business, she's also a proud mom who picks up her son from school every day. Here she shares valuable life and leadership lessons, inspiring all crunchmoms to aim a little higher.
You have a diverse background, can you share a little more about yourself?
I like to think I’m a cosmopolitan. I was born in the UK, in West Yorkshire, to a Turkish mother and German father. When I was about 10 years old, we moved to Australia and that is where I really grew up and completed my studies. In 2007, I got an itch to push myself into something new, so I made the move to Istanbul.
I started out in the infrastructure industry, building the marketing communications department from scratch. After a few years, I decided to move to the agency side to get additional experience, and led accounts such as Facebook, Verisign and Euler Hermes. My next move took me to the Netherlands for a high-profile natural gas pipeline project where I headed up media relations, before then making the move to GoDaddy.
With GoDaddy, I have been fortunate to be exposed to the full scope of business operations. I started managing marketing communications across focus EMEA markets, but expanded my scope into business and product management, before fully transitioning into a business role managing the MENAT region.
What advice would you give to regional tech startups, particularly women in tech?
Create a solid network: Surround yourself with mentors and advisors who believe in you and your start-up idea. Facilitate conversation, advice and gather feedback.
Keep a customer-centric focus: We hear that the customer is key, and depending on the type of solution or product you are offering usability should be a big part of your focus when reviewing your customer experience.
Stay positive: the path of an entrepreneur takes grit and resilience. You will be juggling ideas, priorities and tasks. Not every decision or initiative will work so learn from challenges and mistakes.
How do you think tech companies can encourage more women to enter the tech space?
I think transparency and open discussion is a good starting point as it facilitates a pathway to internal reflection, uncovering unconscious biases and encouraging employee engagement.
Beyond this, women continue to remain under-represented in the tech sector. We need to open the door to promising female candidates who may not have had the traditional experience that tech companies have been used to looking for in potential candidates.
Another aspect is encouraging the importance of female mentorship in the tech industry.
We also need to remove obstacles which have contributed to lessening the involvement of young women in STEM by identifying what influences secondary school girls' choice of subjects and place encouragement of STEM curriculum.
What advice would you give to women aspiring towards leadership roles?
Communicate transparently: Ask questions, speak up and facilitate open communications where possible. Understanding your team, allowing them to speak up and raise ideas, concerns or questions is crucial to facilitating a positive growth environment.
Be a confident decision-maker: Taking on a leadership role means having the confidence to make informed decisions and drive a team to execute on those decisions. Some decisions will be easier to take than others, but whether the outcome is positive or negative, your team looks to you to assess the reasoning behind these decisions and own the outcome.
Enjoy the road: there is a poem called Ithaca by Constantine Cavafy, and this line rings so true for me: And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.
It’s important to keep your eye on the prize but also recognize the journey that you are on to get there. You are the key to your own development and success, own what you achieve.
How do you think COVID 19 has impacted the startup space in the region?
The past year has been full of unknowns and changes for many people across the world, impacting startups differently. For some, they have had to pivot their ideas like Little Miss Rosie who took a step back during the pandemic to understand what her customers needed and pivoted her business.
Businesses were forced to move online to stay visible and reachable because 2020 was about survival for a lot of small business and entrepreneurs. Digital became front and centre because being online truly became a lifeline for consumers and businesses alike.
Overall, I think we truly see a shift to digital and the importance of solutions – both improvements on existing and new innovations – is top of mind.
What advice would you give to moms about balancing work and family?
You draw the line, don't expect anyone else to draw it for you. It's taken me too long to realize that, but now I have more defined boundaries and I plan.
Speak to your child about your job and what you are doing. I try to involve my son in what I'm doing. I explain anecdotes or tasks in a way that he can understand and feel like he is a part of my work world, if even for a moment.
Take time out – true time out – to enjoy the small things. Something as simple as going to pick up my son from school and blocking that time on my calendar forces me to take a 45-minute break each day and it really helps.
Accepting that some weeks or days I'm a better mom than others. If you have a busy week, compensate the week after.
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can't do everything, and you shouldn't have to.
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