Meet Kristiina Omri, Director of Special Programs for CybExer Technologies

Kristiina Omri

Kristiina Omri is Director of Special Programs for CybExer Technologies Business Development team. Before joining the team at CybExer, Kristiina spent a number of years as a career diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and represented Estonia in Estonian Embassy in Berlin as Counsellor for Trade and Economic Affairs.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background, and your current role

Prior to the current position in CybExer I used to work as an Estonian diplomat. Among other duties I was posted to Germany at the time when Germany was pushing Industry 4.0 and digital governance. During my service in Berlin Estonian diplomats were doing their best to find the collaboration possibilities between Estonian and German government. In a sense it was like a third higher education in digitalisation and business affairs.

Currently, I develop business and R&D in Estonian founded cyber security company CybExer Technologies and I have learned a lot about cyber and IT. My duties are participation in R&D consortiums, tender processes but also marketing related activities such as speaking at cyber related conferences and seminars. The job also gives me a lot of opportunities to speak with Germans and in German that I enjoy a lot.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I plan my achievements, but I really have not planned my career after graduation. If one wants to achieve something and is willing to work hard then the results will come. Those results will be noticed by others. They will make you career offers, and it is your call if you want to take those roads or not.

My career has been guided by my interests and it has taken me to interesting places.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Most probably everyone has faced challenges in their life and careers. It is always a challenge to take on new endeavours and it demands some bravery. The brave people may fail but they may also succeed. I am a “glass-half-full person” and in turning points I tend to take the risk. Bravery has served me well. Also, creativity and hard work cannot be underestimated. The variety of character of challenges and duties in your future career may be extremely wide. One must keep up the hard work and learn every day.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

One’s career is like a stairway – each step is there to take you to the next one. The secret is that you only know one or two steps ahead. But you can dream! I can honestly say that I have had the luck to have reached to many of my goals. Getting admitted to the foreign service was certainly an achievement – the process had many stages, and the competition was tough.

Later, the career in foreign service brought me an offer to work as the councillor to the permanent secretary of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was a great challenge and interesting insight to the top of the diplomacy – and it was a very intense period.

And then arrived the offer to join CybExer Technologies. I decided to take a leap of faith and jump from public to private sector to this fast-growing cyber security company.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Constant learning, hard work and positive outlook to whatever comes.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

It depends on the position, but precision in details combined with the ability to see the big picture comes in handy. There is a lack of people who can make technology understandable and build bridges from technical details to the functional and understandable explanations. People who can make technology understandable and accessible have better opportunities in technology career.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There are all sorts of barriers (too young, too old, female, someone being too slow or too fast etc). But skills, combined with high work ethics and personal characteristics usually still do the trick. To be honest, being a women can also be an advantage, because you stand out from the crowd of men in tech.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Everyone would benefit from a prejudice-free work environment and inclusiveness in the widest sense. It helps to on-board new people, make teams more diverse and fuel the creativity.

There are currently only 21 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

With a magic wand I would send girls from kindergarten to robotics and coding classes. Also, I would send the tech-savvy women to the tech companies for internship for a month so they could experience it themselves… and overcome the hesitation. In the end, if the income matters to you, it is worth looking at what the tech sector can offer.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I recommend a personal coach or mentor, be it officially a coach or someone you can learn from and practically discuss your work-related questions in a impersonalized manner. This could be combined with various sources of information, books, podcasts etc. The trick is not in following one or the other podcast or attend THOSE EXACT events or to learn all the material before. I would call it the good girls’ syndrome – you must have all the knowledge in the world before you dare to act or at least you work too hard to establish yourself (parallel to Hermione in Harry Potter). It is about constantly learning. It does not end after this book, this seminar, or this promotion.