In honor of International Women’s Week, we are running a special Insights Series featuring interviews with five dynamic women working at HARMAN. I had the honor of interviewing Liat Ashkenazi, Group Manager, Engineering for HARMAN’s Connected Services division. I enjoyed interviewing Liat and invite you to join me in celebrating her accomplishments by learning more about her story.
Tell us about your role at HARMAN?
I have been with HARMAN for eight months now. I lead the development group of Ignite Core. Ignite is an exciting new technology platform that we are building to serve different IOT business areas. Currently, the Ignite platform is mostly focused on automotive, however, we are trying to expand our business to different applications, including elderly care, by providing platforms for HARMAN Lifestyle audio products. I am very happy to be part of Harman—it’s an exciting time to be here.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
My work begins as soon as I get into the car. I typically have meetings and calls with my colleagues in India, which I take while driving. My day often includes back-to-back meetings and I use the late afternoons and evenings for 1:1 conversations and catching up on emails.
In my role, I wear both technical leadership and managerial hats. It’s very important for me to stay up-to-date on technical details. My team consists of 20 people, including team leaders, with two teams in Israel, one in India and one in Poland. I believe that having strong leaders is crucial and we have an ongoing Ignite Core Development Leadership workshop in Israel this week to continue building an excellent leadership team.
Tell us about some of the challenges of working in an industry that has a lower percentage of female employees?
I have been in the industry for 18 years and I am used to working with men and, so I don’t think about it much, but confidence is key to achieving your potential. I have learned to build my confidence over the years by being assertive, demanding what I deserve, and speaking my mind. I give importance to professionalism and don’t focus on gender and hope that those I work with do the same.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
I think the biggest barrier is related to social norms and making career compromises in favor of raising their families. Men today are more involved with raising their children than in the past, but even women with supporting spouses have difficulties achieving balance. I believe a woman who wants to grow in her career must have “super woman” qualities like having high-energy and drive to be able to integrate career with family.
Any advice for young women entering male dominated professions?
Don’t hesitate to bring yourself forward, speak your mind and don’t underestimate your abilities. You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Set high goals and be independent.
How did mentors influence your life?
I have had many mentors. It’s important to find the right mentor(s) for you because that person/people can be supportive in helping you move forward in your career. I plan to talk to HR about the possibility of starting a mentorship program for women in Israel, where we can mentor women from other departments and have coaching meetings for women in different stages of their career.
What woman inspires you and why?
My role model is not one specific person, but rather successful, working woman as a whole. There is always something to learn from a woman’s success.
Thanks again for reading Liat’s story. If you would like to share your thoughts on the celebration of the accomplishments of women at HARMAN, please feel free to share them below in “Leave a Reply”. And be sure to check back tomorrow for another profile as we continue to celebrate International Women’s Week.