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The origin story of CyberMagnolia

A short time travel and the origin story of our tech collective.

Daria Grudzien

4-Minute Read


CyberMagnolia is a growing community of women working in the field of technology in the Czech Republic. Our goal is building connections going beyond a particular tech stack or job role, and helping bring visibility to the awesome work done by women in tech. Today I wanted to take you for a short time travel and share with you the origin story of our tech collective.

It was 2013 and I was living in Budapest, Hungary — a lovely city full of passionate and energetic young professionals. Together with a few friends we started organizing networking sessions and workshops, and I remember some of them in detail until today. In one of the first sessions the fantastic Anita Veszeli guided us through her workshop on “Communicative Leadership” — an intense 1.5 hour session which she usually delivered to Ericsson’s top management. As juniors we were very lucky to receive top-notch training and make friends with impressive, super-skilled women that would otherwise be out of the reach of our network. Many of us found mentors, mentees, and role models that we may have otherwise missed.

The belief in building strong networks going beyond the current experience level and role has only gotten stronger as I moved to Prague and transitioned into a role in software engineering. One of my favorite memories of the past years was the Ladies’ Hive Talks meetup which I organized in the Apiary office with the support of my awesome colleagues, and our lovely panelists. We talked about transitioning into tech and followed up with brainstorming sessions on how to make that change. I distinctly remember lots of heated discussions going on late into the night, and still remember many smiling faces saying that we need more of those events.

The final drop that gave me the motivation is an experience I’m not particularly proud of. As a one of the co-organizers of Apiary’s Hive Talks meetups I was looking for speakers for one of the events. At some point I realized that apart from our Ladies’ Edition meetup, all other events hosted only men as presenters. You can imagine how frustrated I felt — here I am, one of a handful of women working in site reliability engineering in the Czech Republic, and I can’t think of women speakers?! How can I ask other organizers to have a more varied speaker representation if here I am myself, frantically looking through my contacts and blanking out?

And that’s why I’d like to help build a community for women working in tech in Czech Republic that will connect all of us, and help increase the visibility of the fantastic work done by the women in the field. There are many great organizations that are well established, like PyLadies or Rails Girls. I have been lucky enough to participate in some of them as a meetup or conference co-organizer. I’ve also met a few impressive ladies organizing regular meetings for a few friends to chat about work.

But what I’m totally missing is a community which is not limited to a particular technology or programming language. One that would also welcome those of us who don’t have a dedicated group yet, and which will address the needs of seniors in our network. Already at this point CyberMagnolia connects women who are experienced managers, those who are just getting their feet wet in leadership roles and those who are just getting started in their first jobs. We work in cybersecurity, quality assurance, site reliability engineering, front-end, data science, project management and more. Whatever question one of us has — be it keeping up with the demands on continued learning, pitching to investors, reframing one’s professional objectives after making a move from an individual contributor to a team lead role, figuring out website monitoring solutions — there’s someone who has the knowledge or experience to share.

I think there’s space in Czech Republic for a community that crosses the boundaries of job titles and programming languages. Space for women who love to learn and grow, and see the value of bringing each other up. For juniors and seniors to exchange their experiences. And I’d like to bring back that energy of a room full of energetic, driven women passionate about the cool work they do. If you’d like to be a part of it as well, join us today :)

CyberMagnolia is a growing women’s tech collective in the Czech Republic. Our community goes beyond the borders of programming languages, tech stacks or job descriptions. We’re there for each other creating a space in which every member feels confident asking hard questions, seeking advice, and offering to share their knowledge and experience. If you’re one of us — come and join us!

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CyberMagnolia is a Women's Tech Collective of women working in technology joining together to share knowledge and experience, support each other and grow professionally in a friendly environment.