'I want to inspire women to be the best version of themselves'

Watch Hilla Bakshi on February 22 at the Women Leaders Summit

 Hila Bakshi (photo credit: Courtesy)
Hila Bakshi
(photo credit: Courtesy)

For many Israelis working in traditional sectors, landing a job in high-tech is the ultimate dream. According to ecosystem leader Hilla Bakshi, the secret of achieving such a goal is simple: be prepared to start from the bottom and climb your way up.

“I did exactly that,” she said. “I started from the bottom of the ladder and adjusted. I was excelling in my job. And every time there was an opportunity they would offer it to me.” 

For those looking to transition into high-tech, her advice is to be flexible.

“Be an office manager, be the one who welcomes guests, be a clerk, start from there. And then just grow,” she added.

Hilla Bakshi will be part of a panel discussion on February 22 at the Women Leaders Summit - watch live on jpost.com. Learn more about the summit - www.jpost.com/WLS23.

'The biggest accomplishment of my life'

After accumulating almost 20 years of experience in various roles for several different companies, including product, marketing and community manager, Bakshi found her calling in what has become her life mission: promoting the role of women in high-tech, specifically by creating the conditions to increase their numbers at tech conferences and meetups.

“A few years ago, when I attended these kinds of events, there were very few women that participated,” she recalled. 

For this reason, she started HaMeetupistiot, an initiative that she describes as “a community of professional women from the tech industry that seek to learn, grow and evolve through meetups and business events in a non-formal way." Her Facebook group has more than 18,000 members.

“Today, when you go to tech events, you see that 40% and sometimes even 50% of the participants are women,” Bakshi said. “This is the biggest accomplishment of my life.”

According to data released by the group “Power in Diversity Israel” last month, women represent only 34% of the high-tech workforce in Israel, an increase of just 0.4% from 2021. In addition, only 24% of them hold managerial positions and only 27.8% are in technological positions.

'All you need to do is call them'

For Bakshi, what is holding women back is deeply rooted in culture and society.

“It starts when we are very little, and our parents, our teachers, our environment tell us that as a woman, you need to be gentle and not to raise your voice,” she said. “There is an idea that for women it is good to be hidden.”

In addition, women tend to think that the priority is focusing on doing their job well and that promoting themselves is not necessary.

“Many think that in order to do their day job properly, they do not have time to spend on their own development, because it is not important, but this is not true,” she said. “Sometimes in order to make sure that women show up at tech events, all you need to do is call them, invite them, offer them to be part of a group and a community, and this is what we do.”

Today, Bakshi is proud of her role as an ecosystem leader.

“I want to continue inspiring other women to become the best version of themselves, to leave their comfort zones and try new things, and to work on advancing all the time,” she said. “I want to tell women not to be shy, to raise their voices and to express their passions.

"And, at the same time, I want to tell the system that more emphasis needs to be put on developing women."

The Women Leaders Summit is sold out. To watch it live, visit www.jpost.com on February 22. To learn more: www.jpost.com/WLS23.