On International Women’s Day – A Tribute to Unstoppable Women at Pipedrive

This International Women’s Day we want to celebrate Pipedrive’s Maris Heinaru

This International Women’s Day, we want to take a moment to thank all the female Pipedrivers who are driving innovation, enhancing our culture and leading the charge to accelerate the growth and transformation of our business.

At Pipedrive we are committed to creating diverse teams, fueled by equality and inclusion. Our Founder, Timo Rein reminds us that “A culture doesn’t come from talking about it, it comes from each individual being themselves and finding people who align with the company’s character.” Diversity is core to our success and our ongoing commitment to attracting the best women to join our team continues to ​​have impact, with more and more smart and powerful women filling our technical and leadership roles. One such Pipedriver is Maris Heinaru – Head of Web and our very own development and UX pro.

Can you tell us about your role at Pipedrive and what a typical day looks like for you?

I lead the web team here at Pipedrive. We are primarily responsible for the Pipedrive web strategy and the sign-up flow. It’s exciting to lead such multifaceted team – we cover everything from web design, analytics and optimization to content, copywriting and localization. Our team works together with a team of engineers who are developing the web. We follow an agile development framework and work in two-week-sprints, so the work is fast paced. There is never a dull day!

My work primarily involves establishing the workflow and conditions for our great team of experts to succeed. A typical day for me consists of conversations with my team, building plans, optimizing processes and evaluating the results – all to work towards our collective mission.

What’s the main priority?

Our mission is to create top of the line web by continuously experimenting, learning and improving. Web is the window to our product and brand – it uncovers who we are and what we do. It drives awareness, attracts new users and influences the entire customer journey.

We are striving for the highest quality both from an aesthetic and technical perspective. This involves achieving the optimum combination of design, usability, messaging and performance. We aim to do that by continuously experimenting, learning and improving. This means staying curious, taking responsibility, building trust and embracing change. I also believe in having fun while getting stuff done.

Your background was in marketing and PR – that’s an incredible transition! Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do?

Not really. I worked in marketing for years and then I traveled Asia for three months. After coming back, I realized I didn’t want to pursue marketing on its own. I felt that I needed to diversify my career possibilities and started to turn my attention to web development and online banking solutions.

So what exactly sparked your interest in web development and how did you go about transitioning your career?

After my second seven-month-long trip to Latin America, I transitioned to web development. UX and design have always interested me and this is something every marketer needs to understand anyway. When transitioning towards web development, I gradually realized that my real interest and passion lies in tech, not in banking. 

It’s fantastic that you found your true passion. I don’t think it’s any secret that many women in the tech industry have felt their gender has affected the way that they are perceived or treated. How do you think the tech industry could be more inclusive to encourage more women like you to pursue their passion for tech?

I have always believed that if you really want something and if you set your mind to do something different, it’s in your hands to achieve that. I’ve been lucky enough not to experience any real exclusion. But I do believe that the tech industry could become more inclusive by opening up and sharing more success stories and real life examples. I think this would be an effective way to encourage women to try new things and pursue new career paths.

What advice would you give to women looking to break into tech?

To be proactive, to speak up, but also to be really persistent and believe in yourself. Read books written by people in the field and self-educate on industry trends. Be passionate. I don’t believe it’s all about the hours you put in – if you are truly passionate about what you do, then that is what matters. Always strive for greatness. And don’t be afraid to fail – learn from your mistakes and always try again.

Speaking of greatness, what has been the highlight of your career at Pipedrive?

Working with people who are so talented and know so much more than me. The feeling of constant learning, that you can learn something new every week – even every day.

Not only do I have the possibility to work with a great team of experts, but Pipedrive is also inspirational in terms of working together with a diverse and multicultural team. My background is in the financial sector, where a lot of energy is consumed by convincing people to agree to certain new and innovational projects. At Pipedrive the real challenge is to find focus, because the hunger to innovate, grow and constantly roll out new solutions is so strong. This is both a challenging and exciting environment to work in as every day brings something new.

You have an MBA in marketing and management and have held many leadership positions over the years. Can you tell us about your leadership style and philosophy?

I’m definitely very demanding. I expect self-motivation and passion from my team in everything they do. I expect great quality and genuine interest. At the same time, I try to be fair and have empathy towards my people. I admire and respect people who are driven and really want to succeed. I also look to inspire team spirit and encourage my team to support each other, help each other grow and get great work done. However, it’s important not to lose the human touch and have fun! This is something that I have grown to understand as a leader.

It’s clear that you have a great eye, not only when it comes to web design and UX – you’re also an accomplished travel photographer. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience?

Photography and traveling go hand in hand for me. This is how I can be creative and express what I experience. Taking photos while traveling represents a possibility to discover and gain an in depth understanding of different countries, cultures and real-life situations. It’s an incredible way to experience and get close to beautiful moments.

What is the best advice you can give to women who want to excel in leadership careers, without compromising their passions?

Work hard, but also make and take time for yourself. Work is important, but life is not all about work. Live your life with your eyes wide open.

It’s also important to take care yourself and live a healthy lifestyle. I have chosen long-distance running and I am currently preparing for my tenth marathon.

That’s an amazing achievement. As Pipedrive’s resident web pro, what do you foresee as the biggest disruption to how we use the web in 2018?

Before joining Pipedrive, web for me was primarily about design, UX and messaging. While working at Pipedrive, our focus has shifted to growing the business through web. This involves testing everything. It’s a very rational take on what you direct users to see and experience when using your website, and it all comes down to data. Web development will increasingly rely on conversion, optimization and analytics. The content and the design have to go hand in hand and support each other.

It’s important to create a web experience based on real business and customer needs. Design trends are ever changing, but when the majority of your business is driven through the web, the focus has to be on achieving business goals and speaking to customer needs. Getting this right involves constant optimization based on real data.

Pipedrive is proud to support International Women’s Day and will always do whatever it can to #PressforProgress

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Aoife O'Mullane

Aoife is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a passion for content and storytelling. Aoife specializes in B2B marketing, business transformation and digital media, working with brands to generate awareness and drive engagement online.