Gender inequality? This is something Eva Kostiuk, the 2017 CDN Woman of the Channel Honouree, has never experienced. And, Kostiuk came to Canada from Poland and English is not her first language. But Kostiuk said IT is very equalizing for women compared to any other industry.
“It was easy to move to Canada from a job and career perspective because of technology. If you had a STEM degree, the choices in front of you were numerous then if you had just an arts degree. There is opportunity in technology. I’m an immigrant and my English is not 100 per cent but technology does not care. So, it was easy for me,” she said.
Before founding Lanworks, a solution provider with expertise in life cycle management, security, IP communications and collaboration, Kostiuk started working for HP Canada a week after landing in the country.
She started Lanworks after seeing a business opportunity developing with the trend to interconnect computers. Lanworks became one of the first Novell solution providers in Canada “It seemed impossible at the time, but it was becoming a big thing,” she added.
2017 also marks the 30th anniversary of Lanworks. “Many of us at the company cherish the differences. In the past those things we thought were impossible are common place now. 30 years in technology is a very long time. The business is different today, but one thing is very common to me and that is to take care of the customers, employees and vendor partners. That stays the same and it has kept us in business for 30 years,” Kostiuk said.
Running her own company was also a source of personal freedom for Kostiuk. I’m the boss and so I could build a company that I would want to work for.”
At Lanworks equality and diversity are not even questioned and the company has kept most of its employees for more than 20 years. This staff has become experts in their field, which is something Kostiuk is very proud of.
In terms of gender imbalance through the IT industry and the channel community, Kostiuk advises that young woman need to stand up to the challenges this space has and they need to deliver. The image of IT for women is different in Canada than in Poland. “Here the image is to be sexy and to stay quiet and look after the kids. Those women do not tend to look at STEM. In Poland, the image of science and technology appealed to me. There was this Russian movie where women were wearing white lab coats and I remembered that and the image appealed to me,” she said.
The theme for this year’s CDN Women of the Channel event is “Find Your Tribe”. For Kostiuk finding her tribe was very hard to do in Canada. “I found myself working with lots of men. If I went to school here I probably would have found some women in IT but I came here in my 20s and the industry was dominated by men,” she said.