The main character in the next episode of our people stories is Anna Szwiec, who has worked at Sabre for 6 years and contributes to the Women in Technology community in our organization.
- In your journey with Sabre for over 6 years you have changed business units and roles, which is very inspiring. Tell us how was the experience?
My adventure with IT and programming began over 10 years ago. As a child, I was never a geek raised in a virtual world. So when I got to know the domain better, I got absorbed completely. I was so engrossed that I could write a program until 5 in the morning. Even after that I could still see more potential to improve the program with newer functionalities.
I remember my first IT conference years ago. A great conference hosted by one of the technological giants. I was excited by the number of paths, technological innovations, great speakers. One aspect that surprised me – the fact that out of over 3,000 participants, I could only spot a dozen or so women. Surprised because so far around me there have been many amazing women who love math and programming. Surprised because for me my choices of technical faculties were obvious. Why then were there so few of us? It was the first time I felt that “something is odd here”.
2015 was a turning point for me. After my first years of work and experience in the IT world, I saw that a lot could be changed. Then I joined the organization – Women in Technology Poland. Also around the same time, I started working at Sabre and initiated the internal Sabre Women in Technology community.
Here I met people who inspired me to do many activities and supported me. It was very important to me (and still is) that Sabre supports and sees the value of the communities within the company.
In my work here as a programmer, I had many opportunities to develop and explore new technologies, work on multiple projects. A year ago, I decided to change my path from a technical track to a leadership track. It was and still is a big learning opportunity for me. I changed not only my position but also the product area. I am the Supervisor of the Technical Product Managers (TPM) team in the field of Air Offers. I am still absorbing product knowledge in this area while supporting the development of the Sabre TPMs Community.
- What motivates you to look at different roles as you progressed in your career?
Honestly, I think this is one of my character traits that has changed over time.
At the beginning of my adventure in IT, I wasn’t quite convinced. Seeing how few women were present in the industry and knowing about the disparities in almost every field, I tried my best to change the perception.
Later, seeing the positive effects of my effort, managed locally and, attempted at a larger scale by the Women in Technology community, I felt a surge of positivity replace my initial skepticism.
Mindset shifts, career reinventions and releasing potential (not only through the Women in IT community) – allowed me to go beyond the framework defined , gave immense satisfaction. It was a win-win for individual and for the organization.
I could see positive changes in my team, which is important to me, and I consider them the best team in Sabre!
I have briefly described the above to help explain my approach on leadership and my career.
Observe, analyze, don’t be afraid to take risks and go beyond your own comfort zone – because that’s what gives you true satisfaction.
This is one of the drivers for my decision to join Sabre in a similar role as I have in WiT – releasing potential in people (including myself), having consistency in my professional life and fulfilling my goals in all aspects.
- How would you advice people who want to consider internal moves like you have done?
Give it a try! I believe that work should have a purpose – bring us satisfaction and give meaning. The worst thing we can do is stay in a role and take on responsibilities that burn us out. That won’t make you happy. However, if we try and even if it doesn’t work out at the beginning, sooner or later you will find meaning and do it will renewed energy.
I know that Sabre supports internal transitions, giving team members the opportunity to return to previous positions or take on newer roles. In my opinion, these are very safe conditions to test new development paths and what we want to pursue in our career.
Since I am a great believer in mentoring, my next piece of advice is ‘get yourself a mentor’. It could be through an organized mentoring program or someone you would like to learn from, someone who is already on the path you want to pursue.
- What has been your biggest learning as you worked through different business teams?
I have trained the skills to listen to people and learn from their experiences. But mot of all, I have confirmed the belief that diversity is a great advantage.
Thanks to different personality types, characters, and cultural codes, it allows us to not only to adapt to different styles of work but above all, it releases positive energy and gives the opportunity to create unconventional ideas.
Therefore my team is like the greatest lesson I could imagine: 17 amazing people, full of passion, curious, committed, demanding the best from themselves and others, and highly competent. I really appreciate their diversity, both in terms of personalities, ways of working, areas of interest as well as development needs. Thanks to such diverse features, they form a well-coordinated team, always willing to support each other, help, and share experiences.
- What’s the best part of Sabre that you like?
Passionate people who want to go beyond their daily duties, share knowledge and experience, support others, build communities, engage in initiatives for others. It creates a friendly space conducive for effective work, development and generates amazing energy.