Our B2B marketing powerhouse, Maria Bruk, is an exemplary female leader at Scratch, always sharing thought-provoking insights, delivering the highest-quality work, and driving top-notch results for clients. And she does all that with the attitude and air of confidence that translates to, “nothing can stop me.” You can’t help but admire that!
For this segment of our Women’s History Month Q&A series, Maria provides insight into where she’s at in her career, what enables her to feel empowered in any setting, and where she seeks inspiration from other women (hint: there’s no wrong answer).
Q: Being a woman in tech isn’t easy. What challenges do you face in a male-dominated industry?
A: I don’t see myself as a woman in tech. I see myself as a marketing leader who drives kick ass go-to-market strategies to accelerate growth for companies…that happen to be largely in B2B technology. It certainly means I need to keep up with trends across the tech landscape, but it wouldn’t matter if I weren’t well-versed in how to bring stories to life in a compelling way.
Q: Being the only woman at a meeting, how do I know I’m good enough to sit at the table?
A: This is an interesting question. I don’t remember ever questioning whether I didn’t have a right to a seat at the table. In my younger years, it was always more around seniority and confidence and becoming comfortable with my voice and sharing ideas. It’s likely different for women who are in heavily male-dominated functions or spaces, like sales or law enforcement or finance or science or engineering. But all of that has changed dramatically in the two decades I’ve been pursuing my own career. There are more women with seats at the proverbial table, more diversity.
This isn’t to say, however, that there weren’t those who viewed me as a female counterpart instead of just a colleague. And it showed. I’ve had to point out the obvious and make it understood that me being a woman wasn’t something that mattered. That I wasn’t “cute.” That my “baby” plans were no one’s business. That having to scramble out of the office by 4:45 or 5 to get to daycare in time didn’t make my contributions or work ethic less. I’ve also deflected lots of harassment over the years. But I’ve never felt like a victim. I’ve always felt empowered to stand up for myself.
Q: For those of you who are mothers, how do you balance being a mom and having a kick-ass career?
A: There’s something that Carla Harris once said (and I think I’ve heard it from several other sources since): You can have it all, but not all at the same time. And as much as I don’t want to accept it as truth, it kind of is. There are times in your life when you have to make choices on what your priorities are. But you can’t be 100% for many things all at once. So, I practice presence. When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids. It’s been tougher during the last 12 months when all the boundaries have blurred, but I do my best.
Q: What women in history have inspired you?
A: What women in history haven’t inspired me? Authors and artists. Innovators and game changers. Political activists. Educators. Nurses. Doctors. Athletes. Mothers. You name it. Every single one has brought us one step closer to wearing pants. Getting the right to vote. To earning our own money. To not being viewed as property. To receiving degrees.
Q: What would you tell your younger self? Or other young women?
A: Say yes to (or at least seriously consider) projects that terrify you; the challenge will help you grow. Apply for that job, even if you can’t tick off every bullet point. You are going to make mistakes, and you will learn from them if you own them. Remember that you have a voice and to use it. There will always be people who don’t take you seriously, think that maybe you’re too “cute” for something; pay them no mind. Own the room.Back to blog