More and more Israeli career women, who have proven themselves in international companies in the local market, are snatching up opportunities abroad, seeking career experience as far away as Silicon Valley and bringing success stories back home.
"There are certainly differences in management culture and working environment for women here and abroad," said Tali Aben, general partner at Gemini Israel Funds, who was the first woman partner in an Israeli VC, at the The Marker Women's Conference last month. "In the US, it is just not accepted to talk about your children in the work place or to bring them into the work place if needed, but I dared to and brought my baby into the board room and the Americans were shocked."
Aben moved back to Israel after spending six years heading Gemini's Silicon Valley operation. She joined Gemini in 1994 from RadView, then a start-up software company and a member of the Rad group, where she served as marketing director.
From 1990 to 1992, Aben served as marketing director for Mercury Interactive Corporation - then a start-up company - where she established the company's US sales and marketing organization. Previous to that she held software engineering positions at Scitex Corporation and Aitech Systems.
Also speaking at the conference, Aliza Tamir, who also moved back from the Silicon Valley to joining Netafim after working at Microsoft as the most prominent of the Israelis in the senior ranks of the software giant, said that at the end of the day whether here or abroad networking was the key to success.
"Working for Microsoft Israel for 14 years I started to look for a position in the US and applied via the company's Web site without success. It was only when I started to speak to people at work and network that I succeeded and moved to the US with three children," said Tamir, who was 22 when she first set out on the technology road as Microsoft Israel General Manager Arie Scope's secretary when he was still working for Hewlett Packard.
As her career developed, she transferred to Microsoft, together with Scope, to set up Microsoft Israel.
"The difference abroad is in the opportunities you have and sound management culture, which is target-related and results driven, while you also have responsibility as well as flexibility in a balanced working environment. Furthermore the Internet and technology today make it possible, whether a woman or man, to work efficiently from anywhere - work or home."
Dalit Tessel, vice president of marketing at HP who has five children, meanwhile, said progress of women in the labor market is a matter of character and drive.
"I have always had the drive to yearn for a career, I have a lot of will and a supportive partner. I think it is all a matter of character," she said. "But, in general, the technology world is a men's world involving long working hours and international travel."