‘AANA 2022’ Julie Stefanja offers advice to women working in tech

Women’s representation across every industry is a hot topic on the political agenda. Specifically, women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields and tech management roles,according to Australia’s STEM Workforce Report 2020.

As a tech entrepreneur, Julie Stefanja is a shining example of women breaking down gender barriers in professional roles.

At AANA 2022 RESET Live, Stefanja, co-founder of cult activewear destination Stylerunner and app Her Black Book shined a light on how tough it is for women-led startups.

Over the last 10 years of operating her two businesses across her 10-year career, Stefanja said: “There has been a little bit of improvement, but I still say that we are lightyears away. And I think that one of the biggest problems is representation.”

“When I grew up, I never thought I’d be a tech entrepreneur. Because I never saw one, I never really knew what it was.

“I certainly didn’t see a female entrepreneur, it was always a male protagonist.

“I found myself going into it because I saw a gap in the market and not because I thought that would be a great read to consider.

While “we’ve seen more representation of female tech founders, the (high) numbers are absolutely not there.

“And part of the reason that women choose to solely start a female-founded business is because of the input, there are just lower numbers, to begin with. But then certainly the conversion rate is still lower again.”

Stefanja also offered advice to side hustlers who are looking to do life and while building a business.

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“When we started Stylerunner, the hours we were doing were insane and because we have such a small team and we were bootstrapping it, to begin with.

“Before we got the investment to grow our team, my sister and I had a couch in a small office and we would work until sometime two in the morning.

“We would nap and then get back up to keep working. It was crazy.

“We were fueled by adrenaline, which is not sustainable long term.

“So that’s not a model that I recommend, but the thing that absolutely helped us was staying active.

“I know I sound biased. But really get your run in or go for a walk to get some fresh air and some vitamin D.

“That was probably the biggest thing that helped us feel healthier and feel more alive it was getting those workouts in.”

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