Women's History Month, observed annually during the month of March in the United States, celebrates women's contributions to history, culture, and society. Along with International Women's Day, which similarly honors women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements, it is a time to recognize and support women's struggle for equality, rally for accelerating gender parity, and raise awareness of gender inequality, discrimination, stereotypes, and bias. To that end, the campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. At Litera, it is a time for us, individually and collectively as an organization, to reflect on past efforts and plan to empower the women at Litera.
Today, in this final of a four-part spotlight series that features women at Litera, we sit down with Jolita Rukaityte – Product Manager. We explore her move from Lithuania to the Netherlands and her career evolution from Sales to Product Management.
Could you walk us through three key highlights in your career?
When thinking about this, I realized my main career highlights are always centered around collaboration with people, especially when forming new roles. The first highlight was when I was part of a sales team in The Netherlands; after demonstrating promising results in the role, I was asked to help set up a sales team for our new office in Poland. It was a project where I felt trusted, and the collaboration with the team helped me grow. The second highlight to mention is also at the same previous company; I wanted to move away from sales and explore new positions. I did not see any job openings but reached out internally, and after some lengthy discussions, I was able to shape a new role. It taught me how important it is to ask for help and share when you don't feel positively challenged at work. My last and most recent highlight was when I moved to a Product Manager role at Litera, focusing on Clocktimizer. Collaborating with Product Managers from different legal technology solutions makes for positive and innovative learnings every day.
Have you experienced any challenges in your career due to being a woman? How did you overcome those challenges?
I am originally from Lithuania and found that career opportunities for women there were scarcer. After moving to the Netherlands, I found that's much less the case here. A fun anecdote to mention is when I first started at Clocktimizer, I had an amazing opportunity to cross the Atlantic by rowboat with other women. We wanted to do this to support the clean ocean initiatives and to show other women and girls that they can strive for their dreams. It took extensive preparation and training. I learned navigation, and it would have been a long time at sea. Even though the trip was unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both co-founders were supportive of the opportunity, which meant a lot to me.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
Growing up in Lithuania, I vividly remember every woman would get a tulip on International Women's Day. It was a sweet gesture, but I wish it had given the opportunity for more important conversations. Nowadays, I see International Women's Day as more of a celebration. I feel happy and respected as a woman in the environment that I work and live in, and I believe that calls for some positive reflections.
How do you break the gender bias in your personal and professional life?
As someone who works in tech and in product management, there is still a lot we can do to make teams more diverse. I recently launched Clocktimizer's first Customer Advisory Board, a tool for our customers to feel heard about our product and roadmap. While inviting legal professionals to be part of the board, diversity was a key point I kept in mind. I wanted ideas to come from a diverse range of people so that the product could advance to its best capabilities.
What career advice would you give to other women?
Do not underestimate your skills. As women, we sometimes try to make ourselves smaller or do not believe how great our abilities are, but getting rid of that little voice of doubt at the back of your head is crucial to progress with confidence in the professional world. The other advice I would share is to be open-minded and collaborate as much as possible with others.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
Go abroad! Leaving my home country and exploring the world has truly defined who I am as a person. All the learnings I gathered from my travels and living in a different country have been tremendous in my personal and professional development. So my advice would be to travel as much as possible, whether that is locally or internationally, there is always a lesson to be learned.
Posted in International Women's Day