SHEleader in a SHEll Sets the Dialogue on Leadership in the Age of Automation

Тhis is the blog of the open network EDIT, launched by MOVE.BG. The articles are also available on the official website of MOVE.BG.

The Bulgarian Center of Women in Technology (BCWT) and MOVE.BG have organized a special online forum SHEleader in a SHEll, which has united key female leaders and has set the dialogue on leadership in the age of automation. The event took place on March 19 –  the original date of the second international SHEleader@digital conference, postponed with respect to the measures for limiting the Coronavirus. But postponed does not mean canceled and the initiative will take place after two months.

SHEleader in a SHEll was broadcasted worldwide live on the social media channels of MOVE.BGBCWT, and our media partner so that everybody with interest in digital transformation can watch the dialogue for free while #stayathome.

“SHEleader in a SHEll is only a glimpse of our discussion in May with three female role models coming from three different domains. Leadership is not just a position in our CV, leadership means much more than that. To be a true leader needs a mindset that embraces responsibility in all domains of life: workplace, family life, and society,” said Irina Obushtarova, Managing Director at and moderator of the online forum.

The age of automation

The automation is deepening the divide between male and female professionals in the digital industry, a McKinsey study states. According to the analysis, between 40 million and 160 million women globally may need to change jobs in the age of automation, often into higher-skilled ones. It is nearly one-quarter of all women employed today. 

“The age automation is a period of a fundamental disruption and creation at the same time that needs the talents, ideas, and commitment of everybody in the society, both women and men. We not only read the statistics but also know the answers and through SHEleader@digital we want to give seven answers to those processes and to help they would not happen within this scale,” said Sasha Bezuhanova, founder of BCWT and MOVE.BG.

Automation is part of the current fundamental transformation in which we live in: a societal change with serious disruptions and contradictions between old economic, political and social models and the emerging new world that comes with a new structure, noted Ms. Bezuhanova. According to her, we need a new type of leadership and entrepreneurs that come with a culture of collaboration and openness.  

“We need more feminine attitude in the leadership with more inclusiveness and impact. I personally believe that women who carry the instinct to give a new life – they are to play a key role in the birth and growth in that New world. That’s why we need to talk, to work and to promote in an active way a balance between men and women in the leadership and to stimulate that feminine attitude in the leadership.”

According to Irma Mentzer, who is a head of IT at World Bank Group Sofia Shared Services Center, flexibility and agility are the skills that leaders need in the time of digital transformation. But the most important is the responsibility, said the guest because when you are responsible, it drives you to make decisions right now, today.

“Leadership is not about something where we do what somebody else does. It is about authenticity, to be authentic and not to be afraid to make a decision. Leadership is responsibility – to self, to the team and to those around you. For me, womanhood is part and parcel of being a leader and a decision-maker,” said Ms. Mentzer and added:

“It is nice to talk about innovation and digital transformation. But at the end of the day decision-making is critical. A bad decision is better than indecisiveness because indecisiveness will lead to circumstances determining what the outcome is but when you make a bad decision you have an opportunity to correct it.”

In the current transformation, artists must combine several professions including a producer, a promoter, a composer and even a social media expert in order to bring their products, their art to light and to be noticed, explained Mariya Karakusheva, a contemporary classical composer and pianist. Therefore, one of the main tasks for art leaders is to create a team that understands their vision.

“The world is constantly changing, it is dynamic and we have to be very flexible and never stop learning. One of the reasons why I am highly collaborative is the interaction between the different spheres, knowledge, and visions that teaches you a lot and refines you.”

According to Ms. Bezuhanova, stimulating creativity is key for success in a time of transformation and leaders should be much more open and leave a space to colleagues and employees in order to stimulate their creativity and at the same time to keep the system running.

“Why I am stressing on creativity? Because we are living in a very dynamically changing environment and new models of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship wisdom are absolutely needed in order to progress ahead.”

SHEleader@digital 2020

SHEleader@digital is an annual international conference taking place in Sofia that provides a platform for a focused discussion on the women’s roles in the digitally connected world we live in. It aims to outline solutions for attracting more women and girls to take on professional and leadership roles in the ICT and digitally empowered economy. The Conference also examines how women’s authenticity and the application of female values contribute to the development of sustainable and balanced organizations with high potential and prosperous societies.

SHEleader@digital brings together key female leaders from the business sector, non-profits, and public institutions from across Europe to engage in a dialogue on how we can effectively address those challenges and more importantly, set the tone to act upon solving them.

SHEleader@digital 2020 is organized by the Bulgarian Center of Women in Technology (BCWT), MOVE.BG and Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The Conference will be held under the official patronage of Mrs. Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The official partners of the event are the World Bank, Visa, Dell, VMware Bulgaria, Cisco, Progress, Uber, Lidl Bulgaria, Experian Bulgaria, HeleCloud and Easy Consult.

Reserve your place for SHEleader@digital on May 14. Register here.