The woman of Mayalukas
For International Women's day, we wanted to honor one of the most hardworking women we know and have the pleasure of working with, Petra Moss.
In an effort not to make her cringe too hard reading this focus piece, I will refrain from praising her too highly, as she doesn't particularly like the "spotlight".
Petra as match coordinator "Hlavni Pozadatel" for a FC Prague Raptors game.
Talking about women in the workplace can be tricky to navigate in a thoughtful, impartial, and yet informed manner. Attempting to understand pieces of their world, whilst still acknowledging the fact that women are severely underrepresented, underpaid, and under-appreciated in the general workforce.
To celebrate women's day this year I interviewed our Chief operating officer and co-founder, Petra. We wanted to be careful when constructing the interview, as even the best-intended and seemingly harmless questions can be a perpetuation of innate sexist ideologies. Even inquiry into a performative juggling of professional and personal life begs us to consider, if I were interviewing a man would I ask this? Perhaps I would frame it differently? - "It's so great you manage to spend time with your kids while working to put food on the table". The "spending time" of course implies no taxing effort; cooking, cleaning, bathing, or tidying, the list goes on. Similarly, this question implies an inability for women to be able to multi-task and "juggle" being in a professional position.
"There is always a way to get where you want to be, even if you get there in a completely different way than you originally planned."
In Petra's case, as with many women's, this question deserves to be asked. As she explained herself "I have to not only manage my workload but also be a chef... a teacher (as kids are currently at home due to lockdown) and entertainer."
After having the privilege of getting to know such a strong, effectual, dedicated and multi-talented woman, it was interesting to discover another side of Petra Moss - Read the full interview below.
How does it feel to be in a male-dominated position such as COO?
I never thought of it this way. Our company is quite small and new so when we were deciding about the roles, it was quite clear who is going to do what. I am the one who is sorting out the practical things like making sure we have all the invoices and taxes paid. And I enjoy it (well not paying the taxes part). The COO position is probably very different in big companies, but I don’t see any reason why it should be dominated by men. I don’t think organizational or leadership skills are defined by gender.
Do you find it difficult to work with your husband?
Not at all, I would say quite the opposite. He was actually the first one to introduce me to online marketing back in 2007 during the training I attended in the UK with some of my other colleagues from Prague. Once we figured out that we like each other's company also outside of ‘work’ I moved to the UK and we have closely worked together ever since. I think we have different perspectives on things which helps us to see everything from a different point of view than just from the one we have. In our case, it works well. We respect each other's opinions and reflect them in our decision-making.
How do you manage juggling your professional and personal life where you’re very hands-on?
This one is a tough one, especially during these COVID times, when I have to not only manage my workload but also be a chef (usually cooking the same stuff over and over), teacher (as kids are currently at home due to lockdown) and entertainer. It is difficult not to feel bad when kids want to play and we can’t due to our workload, but we try to make it up to them at other times. I assume lots of parents are juggling the same problems as us during those strange times. But our kids are healthy and we still have our jobs so there is really nothing to complain about.
Were you given any advice at a young age that inspired you to be involved in business?
Not really. I didn’t really plan to be involved in the ‘business’. I always wanted to work in the travel industry because I love to travel. I even studied this field, but sometimes life takes different turns than you plan, and it turned me towards marketing. I have no regrets though as digital marketing is a very interesting field, now proving its importance more than ever before.
What advice would you give other women in similar roles?
I think it would be advice to anyone, not just women. Firstly, treat people you meet along your life and career journey with respect. Don’t get discouraged when you think things are tough. I learnt that when they throw you in the middle of something you have no clue about, trying to find the way out on your own is often the best way to learn and become stronger. And I often think about what my dad once told me - don’t dwell on things you can’t change and focus on those you can.
What advice would you give women who aspire to be in leading roles?
In addition to the previous answer, I would just add to never give up your dreams and plans. I never worked in the travel industry, but I somehow managed to live in 4 other countries besides the Czech Republic so there is always a way to get where you want to be even if you get there in a completely different way than you originally planned.
Have you found that being a woman is an advantage in the business world?
I think that women tend to be more empathetic so that would be something I would consider as an advantage especially in connection with working with or managing people.
Do you enjoy working in a company where the majority are female?
Haha, this wasn’t our plan really, we are about equality and we would be more than happy to welcome more boys in our team. It just worked out like that, but yeah I enjoy working with the girls in our team very much. They are awesome! For us it is about how we ‘click’ with people rather than anything else. I guess so far we clicked more with the girls.