Tahmineh Tayarani

Inspirational Woman: Tahmineh Tayarani | Operations Shift Lead, Starship Technologies

Tahmineh TayaraniTahmineh immigrated to Estonia from Iran in 2020, where after a year she joined the Starship team as a field assistant.

She quickly progressed, moving from a role in the mapping team to a robot operator and now to her current position as operations shift lead in one quick year.

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

My name is Tahmineh Tayarani and I’m 33 years old. I’ve worked as a customer service and marketing specialist for 10 years, with a background in management and a degree from the University of Tehran in Iran. Throughout my career, I’ve always been curious about technology. When I first came to Estonia and saw Starship’s autonomous delivery robots in action, I was fascinated by this exciting technology. I started researching the company and did my best to seek out an opportunity that would allow me to become part of it. At first, the COVID-19 pandemic made this a challenge, but I didn’t let it deter me and I applied again the next year and this time was successful!

My first role was as a mean Robot Operator for Starship Technologies and I loved it – I felt like I was dreaming. Every day was a new day for me as I started learning about tech and robotics. With time, my skills grew and now I’m working as an Operations Shift Lead at Starship.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

A career plan is an integral aspect of your career growth – that plan is like having a path that you want to walk down to achieve your career success. I’d also say that whilst it’s important to plan your career, it’s equally important to make the move according to the situation, whether that’s something you envisioned or not. Sometimes there are opportunities that we need to grab instead of insisting we stick to that original plan.

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

Yes, I’ve moved from an operator and field assistant to an operations shift lead position, which was one of the biggest challenges in my career. I face a new challenge with each shift in prioritising what to focus on. I try to do my best and prepare for the next position.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

For me, each step of my career is an achievement in itself and every new chapter or event is something to toast. For example, speaking in an interview with a platform like WeAreTechWomen that helps support women in our industry is a huge achievement for me – it’s an honour and a pleasure to do so.

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

One factor that I feel has helped me achieve success is my positive mental attitude. I believe that engaging in activities in a positive, confident, optimistic way helps you to become so and live the best life possible.

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

First of all, be confident. That is the most important factor that goes into being successful and progressing in your career. Also, be yourself and do your work with dedication; enjoy it and be passionate about it.

For me, happiness is key to performing to the best of my ability at work. Never stop learning; keep up with current industry news and develop your knowledge. I like this quote from Steve Jobs: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do – if you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

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

Unfortunately, despite the international conversation around diversity in tech, women are still underrepresented. Still, in my opinion, if women want to do it, we can do it! Too often, women have been made to feel unconfident or underestimate their skills.

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

I believe one of the most difficult things for companies is to address workplace culture which has been shaped by unconscious bias. As long as women are considered the primary caregivers of children, we will never achieve gender equality in the workplace. Companies can work towards remedying this by taking action around gender equality in the workplace. As a woman, I would say women need to be in visible leadership positions.

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?

I would remove the fears and anxieties that some women can harbour around their capabilities and qualifications to work in the tech space. You can do it!

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

Tech ladies, which is a community of some 100,000 women in tech. Also, I would say that no matter who you are or where you work, I encourage you to learn something new. LinkedIn is also one of the most powerful resources.


Inspirational Woman: Kadri Salu | Mapping Technicians Team Lead, Starship Technologies

Kadri SaluKadri started her career at Starship as a Robot Handler back in 2017, walking behind robots on the street to ensure they are safe.

Kadri was the first individual to work full-time in this role, walking around 35km a day. After a year, Kadri applied to join the mapping team, working first as a specialist, then as a coordinator and now as a team lead within Starship’s greatly expanding team – all within four years.

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

Despite working in a tech role, my background is actually not related to tech at all.  At university I studied youth work and worked in that field for years. I’ve been an activity leader in a basic school, fire prevention specialist in Estonian rescue service, youth worker in various youth centres and a manager in one.

I also studied textile works. It was during those studies that I quit youth work and started to wonder what I should do next. It didn’t take long for me to find the ad for a Robot Handler position at Starship. I’d always been interested in technology, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

The most planning I have done was during high school when choosing what to study at university. After that, I have mostly intuitively ‘gone with the flow’. Plans always change, especially in today’s world, so I don’t spend too much time mapping things out.  You can never be sure what will happen next week, or even tomorrow, let alone in a few years.

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

Having worked in several roles and industries throughout my life, there have certainly been some challenges along the way. One of the most important things is to remember not to stress about things you can’t change. It’s necessary to find out what the issue is and then to decide whether it’s something that can be changed/fixed or perhaps it’s just better to start looking for new challenges for yourself – both very viable options.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I think that would be my current position. I started from the very bottom – when joining the company, I knew nothing about robots but I’ve worked hard and learned a lot along the way and I’m very happy where I currently am.

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

I’d say my stubbornness, conscientiousness and good work ethics. When I have a goal or target, I work hard to make it happen. I hate when something is left unfinished or done halfway. Another one of my strong beliefs is that communication is key – for everything.

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

For a person like me, who has no tech background, I’d say don’t be afraid to step into something completely new. It’s good to start from the bottom because you really can learn a lot along the way and that makes moving forward easier. Take the time to learn things deeply and work hard to improve yourself and to contribute more. And once again – communication is key!

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

Whilst it’s different for everyone, in my experience, there haven’t been. I believe that, for the most part, if one puts their mind to the matter, they can achieve anything. I feel that it’s primarily still dependent on one’s personal contribution and motivation.

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

Equal treatment seems obvious but when women are heavily outnumbered it’s important to remember their specific needs and, crucially, their differences.

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?

I’d encourage the women to take the plunge and be more daring, looking past the old norms. It could still be very different based on countries, cultures and different work environments, but acceptance in all regards is so important, not only regarding women in tech, but among all sorts of minority groups. For example, women in higher positions can definitely have their influence.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I’d be interested to hear some good examples myself!