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8 min read

WomenXTech - Meet Melanie

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At TimeXtender, we strive to be part of the change we want to see in the world. Diversity and inclusion are essential elements of our company culture. We are excited to launch our WomenXTech series, spotlighting remarkable women at TimeXtender whose work is making a significant impact. Through their experiences, we aim to highlight the importance of gender diversity in driving technological innovation and creating a supportive work environment.

Meet Melanie Schneider, a Solution Specialist and an experienced colleague we were thrilled to welcome as part of the recent Exmon acquisition. Let's hear her thoughts on diversity in the tech industry:



"If I tell someone about my life, I normally start with the most drastic change: moving to Iceland. It wasn't just a goodbye to friends and family; it marked the beginning of an entirely new chapter for me and my career, about a decade ago. Not only did I step into a fresh role as a project lead in a tech company but I also experienced a completely different culture and environment, and I haven’t even started talking about the weather yet … Furthermore, I had to adapt to a new family situation, living with two small kids every other week. So, all in all, quite the change.

Being Swiss, I used to plan every single hour in my calendar. Understandable, that moving to Iceland, where things are never planned for more than a few hours ahead, brought some challenges, but also a great deal of new learnings. I started to love and embrace the challenge of living in a place where spontaneity rules and plans are made on the fly and people live more along the pleasure principle than the practicalities.

10 years later, I'm a proud Mom juggling two small boys, aged 1 and 6 (fun fact, both born on the exact same date), alongside my Viking fiancée and our two bonus teenage kids. Life in our blended family is a whirlwind of love, laughter, and occasional chaos, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Throughout my career, I've worn many hats, from leading an education tech company to co-founding a global learning platform. Now, as part of the TimeXtender team, I'm all about fostering collaboration, making partners love and understand the Exmon suite, and helping others succeed in spreading the word about our fantastic solution. Off the clock, you'll find me seeking thrills on rollercoasters or driving occasionally over the speed limit, as I am addicted to adrenaline. And coffee, I can’t be considered a person until I had my first sip of coffee in the morning. But I also treasure quiet moments lost in the world of crime novels, playing the piano and singing old classics with passion. With four amazing kids under one roof, free time is a luxury, but every busy day adds to my happiness.

Me in a nutshell: I am an incurable optimist, and my life motto is “seize the day”, so I try to find beauty in all the little things around me.


Melanie with family

My favorite people


1. What inspired you to pursue a career in tech and was there a particular moment or person that motivated you?

In a different chapter of my life, I was a teacher. Yet, it didn't take long for me to realize that it wasn't my lifelong calling. What got me thinking were the outdated practices we were forced to follow in the modern world – writing attendance on paper, letting parents sign grades on tests, and communicating mainly through letters and e-mails. During those years of wrestling with outdated systems, I often asked myself: Why couldn't things be better? Why couldn't they be more efficient in modern society? I would have a lot of ideas about how to make things a lot easier…

But there was a major hurdle – my lack of technical know-how. That's when I decided to dive into the world of technology and started to study business IT engineering. At that time, it was a completely new field in Switzerland where I was lucky to be one of the first students, being trained on bridging the gap between IT and business, a role that surely held a lot of future promise.

If I were to mention a particular moment, it might have been the day at the career consultancy coupled with the news that aired the same evening. The news report highlighted a shortage of 40,000 business IT engineers in the market within a few years. That revelation stuck with me, and I knew that was the way to go forward for me.


2. Can you describe a specific challenge you faced as a woman in tech and the strategy you used to overcome it?

Luckily, I have rarely encountered any specific challenges related to being a woman in the tech industry. However, there have been a couple of instances that I would like to mention.

One memorable situation occurred at an event where I was manning (or shall I say womanning) our booth. The head of a notable school district approached us, and following a demonstration of our solution, he expressed immense interest. However, when he asked to discuss business matters directly with the CEO, my colleague pointed towards me. He then asked me if he could talk to the “real” CEO. Clearly, he wasn’t expecting it to be a younger woman.

Furthermore, on some occasions, I've experienced being offered significantly lower salaries than my male counterparts. Whether this was due to their negotiation skills, habitual expectations, or a more determined appearance, I don’t know. This taught me the importance of equity in compensation and appreciation in general. Moving forward in my career, I stayed committed to ensuring fair salaries for all female staff members, actively addressing, and discussing any irregularities that arise.

On all these occasions, I never viewed these encounters as hindrances, but rather as opportunities to prove that gender is no barrier to delivering excellent work and should be rewarded accordingly.


3. In your experience, how does diversity within tech teams impact problem-solving and innovation?

Living in Iceland has the unique benefit of diversity being more common in the tech sector, rather than exceptionally rare. In my experience, working with diverse teams in IT has been incredibly insightful. I've had the privilege of collaborating with developers, designers, analysts, and testers from varied backgrounds, each bringing their unique perspectives to the table.

It's hard to say whether the effectiveness comes solely from diverse backgrounds and a company culture that allows for open communication. Each person adds a unique view to the conversation, offering fresh insights and uncovering hidden aspects of problems.

My belief lies more in diversity of character and working styles than in gender diversity. While gender diversity of course matters, it's the diverse thoughts, experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives that truly make a difference in problem-solving and innovation in tech teams.


4. How do you manage work-life balance in a demanding tech role? Any tips?

I can pretty much sum it up in four points:

Stay True to Yourself: Maintaining a work-life balance for me has a lot to do with authenticity. I've experienced some incredibly tough situations in the past, but no matter how challenging things got, I always found peace in this: I never lost sight of my core values. If I sense that I'm compromising my authenticity - whether it's due to pressure from superiors or working excessive hours that strain my ability to be present for my family - I would adjust my approach.

Free Your Mind and Never Stop Learning: Embracing a curious and open mindset is vital. I am an insatiable reader, constantly seeking fresh insights and perspectives. This continuous thirst for knowledge not only enhances problem-solving skills but also enriches personal and professional growth. When overwhelmed, disconnecting from technology and immersing myself in the serene beauty of nature provides clarity and renewed energy.

Seek Other Perspectives: Actively seeking out the opinions of others is indispensable for me. Engaging in open dialogue and seeking second opinions fosters a healthy exchange of ideas. Whether it's discussing with my partner, coworkers, or friends, embracing collective wisdom enriches decision-making processes and strengthens personal and professional relationships.

Don’t Take it Too Seriously: I find it crucial to maintain a sense of humor and perspective. I've learned the value of being able to laugh at myself, embracing the child in me, and not taking every challenge or setback too seriously. Sometimes, it's essential to take a step back, acknowledge that not everything is within our control, and simply let things go. Embracing this mindset allows me to keep moving forward with grace and lots of positive energy.


5. What's one piece of advice you would give to young women considering a career in tech?

Prepare for a chilly office environment, as in my experience, men tend to prefer significantly cooler temperatures than women at their workplaces... So that would be my advice: "Dress warmly". Not only to prepare yourself for the ice-age-like office experience, but this German saying also symbolizes readiness for discomfort and potential challenges. Given the stories I heard of women all over the globe having difficulties in navigating in a male-dominated tech world, proactive preparation trumps being caught off guard.

But I would also like to emphasize that gender shouldn't dictate your journey. What truly matters is aligning with a community that shares your aspirations and a career that works towards your goals. Instead of fixating on gender norms, focus on connecting with like-minded individuals driven by a passion for technology, and surround yourself with good, genuine people.


6. Do you have a mentor? If yes, can you share a success story from your mentoring experience?

In my career, I've been fortunate to have had a mentor who played a pivotal role in shaping my journey. I had the privilege of teaching his daughters back in the day and despite lacking the required IT experience to be accepted to the study, he recognized my passion and went out of his way to facilitate my enrollment in the program. His unwavering support and belief in me were instrumental in my pivot into IT. This is my personal success story, because, against all odds, I mastered a study with absolutely no previous knowledge, just through hard work, immense learning, unwavering commitment, and the support of great individuals.

With that said, my biggest mentor today is undoubtedly my partner. His unwavering belief in me, unconditional support, and valuable insights have been enormously helpful for my growth and development. I love nothing more than coming home after a full day at work, sitting down with a glass of red wine, and discussing several topics that have crossed my mind during the day. As a developer, he would often have good answers to all the technical challenges I faced. As a human, he has a completely different way of thinking which often completes my perspective. His constant empowerment and engagement in my doing, smaller or bigger, inspire me to strive for greatness every single day, driving me forward on my path.

This principle applies to both professional and personal relationships, you can never surround yourself with too many exceptional people!


7. What role do you believe male leaders should play in mentoring and sponsoring women in tech, based on your own experiences or observations?

I believe male leaders have a crucial role in mentoring and sponsoring women in the tech industry, not only in sponsorship and salaries but also in overall recognition and support. Based on my own experiences, I've observed instances where gender discrepancies persist, particularly when money is involved.

I think, male leaders who mentor and sponsor women should prioritize fairness and talent over gender. Their support should extend beyond monetary compensation to genuinely seeing the individual, valuing their contributions, and acknowledging their worth as equals worthy of recognition and support. It is all about fostering an environment where competence is the guiding principle and individuals are valued based on their abilities and achievements rather than their gender.


8. What changes have you observed in the tech industry regarding gender diversity during your career?

I have experienced Iceland as a pioneer country in gender diversity within the tech industry, but also in other sectors. While I'm encouraged by the progress here, I, unfortunately, haven't observed the same level of change globally. However, I often read about campaigns for fostering gender diversity in various countries. Efforts to attract more women to tech studies and campaigns raising awareness among young women about the opportunities in the tech field signal a positive direction for the industry worldwide. This is a great development and hopefully results in a higher percentage of women in tech.


9. How do you see the role of women evolving in the tech industry over the next decade?

I anticipate that the role of women in the tech industry will continue to evolve positively over the next decade, and this globally – I really hope so! There is no need to say that we bring the same skillset to the table as our male equivalents, that assumption should be a given. As gender diversity becomes increasingly recognized and valued globally, more opportunities will open up for women to thrive and excel in various tech-related roles. The business world should be a place where gender is not a barrier to success."


Stay tuned for more stories highlighting the contributions of women in tech. Thank you, Melanie, for sharing your journey and being a role model for aspiring technologists.


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