We’re celebrating International Women’s Day with Technology Scotland. Over the last year, we’ve grown our team and welcomed 3 talented women to the organisation.
Technology Scotland interviewed us to find out more about why we chose our current roles, what we love about our jobs, and what piece of advice we would give to women looking to work in the photonics sector. Here's what we said:
Anastasia Bombrys - COO - UniKLasers
Why did you choose the role you are in? UniKLasers is our family business, which I started with my father Fedor Karpushko. Seven years on, our team is 18 strong and growing.
I had very much ‘physics and lyrics’ upbringing with my physicist father and my ethnographer mother. Growing up, photonics was this mysterious business of making impossible possible. Now, it is particularly exciting to be part of high-tech innovations.
We have just recently launched world-first single frequency DPSS UV laser at 349 nm wavelength long awaited by semiconductor manufacturers, a few years ago we were the first company in the world to introduce single frequency DPSS red laser at 640 nm wavelength widely used in holography and other applications.
We are participating in six ground-breaking Quantum technology projects with Fraunhofer UK, University of Birmingham and other partners. My goal is to see my father’s technology used to foster high tech innovation in industries from semiconductors to LIDAR to Quantum Technologies.
What do you love about your role? The variety of being COO and Director of my own company requires me to truly multi-task. Every day is different.
In early years I would have been raising investment in the morning, managing purchasing during lunch, acting as a mechanical technician in the afternoon, and working on accounts in the evening. In the process I had to relinquish all self-doubt – I just had to learn and do it – there simply was no other way. I had never raised investment for a business before. I just had to go out and do it out of necessity to grow our business. I became better at it as the business grew, and as I learned from my experiences and developed relationships with investors.
Operating the business has become a bit easier now, as we have a team of great people, all experts in their areas. I learn a lot from them. Being a COO in the photonics sector is an ongoing technological discovery – this evolving sector never stays still.
What piece of advice would you give to women looking to work within your sector? Don’t doubt yourself! If you are interested in a career in Photonics in either engineering or a supporting role, go for it. Women are lateral thinkers and are natural in multi-tasking; every day we find solutions to problems without even noticing it. Photonics needs women – diversity drives creativity which drives innovation. And when you need a bit of a boost as a woman – listening to “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy, despite being written in 1971 or, perhaps because of it, often does the trick.
Nicole - Purchasing Manager - UniKLasers
What do you love about your role? With UniKlasers, I feel I am an integral part of the team and I contribute to the overall business objectives. Every day brings new challenges, and no 2 days are the same. I am a very curious person and I like to understand how things come together and I love that I can confidently do my role whilst having the opportunity to learn all things photonics.
Most importantly, I love the team that I work with. Everybody within the company always has time to answer any questions I have and are happy to help develop my knowledge, especially when it comes to the technical terms. Being part of a growing business, gives many opportunities to learn the industry.
What piece of advice would you give to women looking to work within your sector? Believe in yourself. Know what you want to do and look at ways to get it. Understand that you may not start where you want to end up but putting yourself out there, showing willingness to develop your career, you will get there. Don’t be afraid to speak out, ask questions, tell people your objectives. Don’t see yourself as a woman in a man’s world. Strive to be the best you can, not for anyone else but for you. If there is something you don’t like, you have the power to change it.
Carly - Office Manager - UniKLasers
Why did you choose the role you are in? When deciding to move from London to Edinburgh, I wanted to ensure my new workplace was both innovative and engaging. Fortunately, at UniKLasers, each day I’m witness to the dynamic collaboration between our proficient engineers and discover more about their processes and the level of skill required to accomplish their goals.
Though my role is administrative rather than technical, through the relationships UniKLasers has developed within our different departments, I feel I’m an important part of our team.
What piece of advice would you give to women looking to work within your sector? Don’t underestimate yourself. Believe in the skills you have and work hard on those you don’t. Focus on your past achievements to remind yourself of how you struggled before succeeding. Don’t be afraid of offering your opinion.
Lauren - Marketing Manager - UniKLasers
What do you love about your role?
I love that every day is a school day. Any role within the technology sector involves growing your understanding of technical information, jargon, and multi-step abbreviations. At UniKLasers I get to learn the technical side of things from industry leading engineers and researchers while putting my own experience to use in my day-to-day activity. I get to flex my marketing expertise while learning my laser ABCs!
What piece of advice would you give to women looking to work within your sector? Demonstrate your value. Communicate your achievements and share what you have learned from your mistakes. In fact, mistakes are your best friend. Tackling your errors shows resourcefulness, problem solving skills, and a drive to learn and grow. At every stage in your career, this builds the credibility and confidence you can bring as a valuable member of any team.