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Kristina Shinkareva: Pioneering the Middle Eastern Tech Landscape as a Young Female Leader

An Exclusive Interview with the Chief Operating Officer of Reputation House
The tech industry is known for its challenges, but being a young woman navigating the tech sector in the Middle East presents a unique set of obstacles. According to recent statistics from the World Bank, women in the Middle East accounted for only 19% of the workforce in 2022. In this interview, Kristina Shinkareva, the Chief Operating Officer of Reputation House, shares her experiences and insights on thriving in a conservative business environment as a female leader.

Introducing Kristina Shinkareva

After graduating, I was determined to pursue a career with unlimited growth opportunities. My interest in marketing, particularly in its digital form, led me to a role at a top regional IT-focused agency. Here, I discovered my passion for simplifying and improving people's lives through technology. At 23, I am now the Chief Operating Officer of a leading reputation management agency in the Middle East, where my professionalism and experience prove that age and gender are no barriers to success.

Captivating Tech Trends

As a member of the smartphone generation, I am intrigued by the advancements in modern voice assistants, chatbots, and application ecosystems, especially in banking. From a professional standpoint, artificial intelligence has my undivided attention. Its rapid growth and ability to solve operational problems make it a powerful tool for businesses.

Navigating the Challenges of AI

While artificial intelligence offers numerous benefits, I am concerned about its potential impact on human development. As AI becomes increasingly integrated into our lives, it's crucial to ensure that it complements, rather than overshadows, our creativity and thought processes.

A Passion for the Arts

Outside of tech, I find solace in the arts, including instrumental music and visual arts. I enjoy painting and visiting conservatories, theaters, and art galleries. My work in client service shares similarities with art, as I strive to understand the nuances of each client and convey their intended message effectively.

Overcoming Challenges in the Tech Industry

As a young female leader in the tech industry, I have faced three main hurdles: ageism, the pressure to prove my expertise, and finding the right communication approach. I address these challenges by staying observant, maintaining a positive attitude, and focusing on effectiveness.

Navigating Misogyny and Discrimination

Throughout my career, I have faced gender discrimination and sexism from management. However, I have learned to recognize unhealthy work environments and prioritize my well-being by leaving such companies.

Embracing Failure and Growth

Every failure I have experienced has presented an opportunity for growth, encouraging me to improve my skills and develop new strategies.

Building a Strong Team

Managing people requires constant self-improvement and a deep understanding of individual perspectives. Balancing a friendly atmosphere with a professional hierarchy has been a significant accomplishment for me, resulting in positive feedback from my team.

Reducing the Gender Gap in Tech

The current gender gap in the tech industry may be a result of historical trends, but societal evolution is enabling newer generations to perceive the world more progressively. To reduce the gender gap, it's essential to approach tech as an opportunity rather than a challenge, and not let negative comments affect your determination.

Finding Inspiration and Support

While I don't have a specific tech idol, I respect hard work and dedication in the industry. My advice for aspiring women in tech is to approach the field with confidence and not let stereotypes or negative comments hinder their progress.