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Career Stories

Kristina Lid

The significant lack of women in IT is no secret.

The information technology sector is already the largest employer in Sweden. Digitalisation will undoubtedly create even more job opportunities, as the field will continue to expand rapidly. From this perspective, it is frightening that only 20 per cent of us are women and that progress towards equality is moving at a snail’s pace. Fluffy teenage beards still dominate 2016’s freshers’ class and girls are still a rare minority at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, at Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University, Linköping University and other technical institutions. This skewed distribution is a growing threat to equality.

 

We need female role models to attract more people into IT. We need more fearless pioneers, more people signing up for courses. Quite simply, we need more people like Kristina Lid, Baseline Manager at Enfo Integration. 

In Kristina, Enfo has one of the strongest female role models in IT; she is committed, establishes her requirements and is incredibly competent. She is one of five women who took the Data Technology exam at Chalmers in 1989, and in the 30 years since, has gained incredible experience with an impressive career that has taken her halfway round the world and throughout Sweden. She is an extroverted, curious technophile, one who doesn't hold back on telling it like it is. 

“It’s both an advantage and a disadvantage, but it’s really hard for me to let things go unsaid. If I see something that’s wrong, I can't just let it be - which has consequences on both sides of the argument! Sometimes it feels like I’m swimming upstream, but it most often results in improvements.”

Where does this outspokenness and self-belief come from?

“My guess would be that it’s from my mother. My mother was American, and it shaped my upbringing. I often hid behind a cushion in embarrassment when I was small - she talked to everyone about absolutely everything, asked questions, was really loud and totally stood out in the tiny town of Strängnäs. But now I’m grateful to have had parents like that to look up to. My childhood was a mix of the KGB and the CIA, so that meant I was clearly cut from the same cloth - asking everyone about everything.” 

What is your philosophy?


“Always keep a promise, come hell or high water. From the very beginning I was interested in programming, maths and the pure technology side of things. But over time it became more about the projects themselves, the team, about launching and managing projects with appropriate goals, to provide a solution to a problem and keep a promise that gives me my dopamine kick.”

Kristina’s top three tips for other women in IT:


1. Stop the self-criticism: Men are evaluated on what they do, and women on what they are, their looks, and how they act. We have to dare to stick out, be different and not be so pretty and perfectly normal. Think What, not Who.

2. Keep your eyes on the prize: I do sometimes think it's easier to work with men, because you more often look at what needs to be done and focus on that, not how it needs to be done. If you’ve got your eyes on the prize, things often get done. The ‘how’ gets solved of its own accord; otherwise it's really easy to get bogged down in meta reasoning about structure and relationships. Begin with what, not how.

3. Be brave: It’s not easy. We have to deal with both the intrinsic and external criticism dealt to us by society. Sometimes you just have to jump in and deal with the consequences later, but hopefully it gets easier and easier; I really have seen a positive difference during my years in the industry. But it can be hard to determine what is due to my own experience and success, and what is due to real changes happening in the industry.


Name:
Kristina Lid
Job: Baseline Manager (Integration architect)
Education: MSc, Chalmers University of Technology, Computer Science
Lives: Strängnäs
Family: Partner Dag, two adult sons Martin, 25 and Anders, 24, plus twins Rikard and Petra, 19, who will soon move out as well
Hidden talent: Creates wonders in glass fusing
Favourite place: A Swedish meadow in summertime
Free time activities: Sailing, gym, gardening, reading, travelling with my nearest and dearest

 

Kr


Kristina's children after 6 hours at Delhi domestic airport, waiting for a flight to Kolkata, India, where they were to stay for six months as Kristina worked for IBM. "Here they had taken a collective decision to go back home before they even arrived," but it got better, she affirms.