Olga Nagdaseva: Distinguished Young Woman Honoree

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Olga Nagdaseva: Distinguished Young Woman Honoree

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When YWCA Distinguished Young Woman Olga Nagdaseva’s mind is set on her career vision, she is assertive and tenacious in creating and sustaining it. This year, she became a production IT business systems analyst at G+D – Giesecke & Devrient and had her proudest moment, delivering a TEDxAkron talk: “The Power of the Global Mind.”

Speaking at TEDxAkron is Olga’s proudest moment because she is an immigrant and a non-native English speaker. “This experience was truly humbling, but also a personal professional triumph. It was amazing to share my message with local community, and, hopefully, make an impact on my audience.”

She credits her global mindset as her greatest strength, “After all, our international borders are blending together as a result of technology, globalization, and international trade. Developing a global mindset is critical to remaining competitive in business, raising your kids as global citizens, understanding international politics, learning about your neighbors, and learning about yourself by connecting to your own immigrant roots.” In her TEDx presentation she said, “You don’t have any choice but to develop a global mindset.”

“My professional dream was always to work at a global organization with cutting edge technology, professional growth opportunities, and outstanding corporate citizenship.  My current organization is truly a professional dream come true.”

Her MBA provided her a co-op in global sourcing and procurement at Emerson Electric, multinational conglomerate and Fortune 500 organization. Although interesting, after doing some soul-searching Nagdaseva decided to develop her long-term career goal, “I was always tech savvy, and passionate about technology, so I pursued a career in IT.”

Now as an experienced IT enthusiast, she is constantly learning. As an IT professional without the IT degree (Olga has a bachelors degree in business and an MBA, both from Cleveland State University) Olga forged her own path. Now she is pulling up other immigrant women along with her into a career in STEM.

Her global mindset and abilities as a native Russian speaker helped Olga leverage her experience in many industries into an asset Greater Cleveland’s IT community needed. As she managed her graduate course load and prepared for a career-change, she obtained SAP certification from her alma mater’s professional development offerings. This certified her with a global leader in enterprise applications in terms of software and software-related service revenue, and according to SAP, the 3rd largest independent software manufacturer.

Ten months after earning her SAP certification, Olga landed a job at Hyland Software, the creator of OnBase. Once at Hyland, she exploited that door opening into becoming a subject matter expert on many applications and performed software localization and internationalization of OnBase Software in 26 languages and 74 locales.  Her Russian was key to translating OnBase User Interface (UI), documentation and marketing collateral. She started as an international quality assurance associate, and then was promoted twice in her 4 year career there, first to test technician and then senior test technician.

“In these five years in the IT industry, I have completed a wide range of corporate technical training, obtained multiple IT certifications, emerged as a top performer in the workplace, and advocate for women in STEM.  My most triumphant moments involved presentations at IT women’s conferences – Tri-State Women in Computing Conference (TRIWiC), Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing (OCWiC), Women in Tech Conference (Hyland Software), and Wings of Women (WOW) STEM Conference at the International Women’s Air & Space Museum.  I will not sugarcoat and state that starting a career in IT was an easy journey, it was not.  However, I refused to give up on my dream and went the extra mile every single day.  I truly believe that the key ingredients to success in IT are continuous professional advancement, hard work, networking, and above all – always believing in your dream.”

In Olga’s last year at Hyland, she moonlighted at Digital Forensics as a content writer and worked full-time at Digital Forensics as a senior forensics analyst after leaving Hyland. Here, her global mindset and Russian fluency once again to supervise digital investigations, and data recovery projects for various audiences from judicial proceedings to corporate investigations.

Half-way through 2018 as a seasoned IT professional, she took her global mindset to G+D. “I am most excited about the Internet of Things (IoT) in my industry.  It’s this cool, once futuristic concept, that our generation is experiencing (think smart cards, smart gadgets).  We are moving towards a truly connected world with IoT having untapped possibilities.  My organization is one of the global leaders and pioneers in IoT, and I’m very proud of our current endeavors as an organization.

“Some of the things we are working on are innovative payment systems and Next Gen products that would revolutionize the way we make everyday purchases to become faster, more secure, and futuristic.”

“I love my new role because it allows me to engage with global members of my organization, and international clients. My role is challenging, fast-paced and exciting. I truly hope to continuously learn, grow and advance at my company.”

“My professional journey was challenging. As an immigrant from Moscow, Russia, I experienced national origin discrimination, language barrier, assimilation challenges, and desire to return ‘home.’ As a woman in IT, I always had to work hard to prove myself.  I was challenged, but never defeated.  I leveraged my international skills to differentiate myself and build a successful career.  I openly speak about my challengers during conference presentations because it’s an incredible feeling to turn kryptonite into power; and I want my audience to go through this exercise.”

“Downright magical things start to happen when more women support other women. As an IT professional, I’m especially passionate about supporting women pursuing careers in STEM fields. I serve as a mentor for international female entrepreneurs in Cleveland… I take every opportunity to support and empower women in the local community.”

This year Nagdaseva also started supporting women’s advancement in IT by joining two boards: OCWiC and Women in Localization.  Olga describes her professional and mentoring leadership style as compassionate. “By compassion I mean finding the time to pause, listen, provide advice to our future STEM leaders, and form trusting relationships. Compassionate leadership truly allows to relate to others for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives. As women, inspiring and empowering each other is the key to success.”

When she is not mentoring women entrepreneurs or giving back to her industry, not surprisingly, she prioritizes travel and tasting international cuisine. When she is not sampling local or international delicacies, she celebrates her Russian heritage through both the Russian Cultural Garden’s fundraising and development and the Russian American Cultural Society of Cleveland, where she is currently serving on the board. Calling herself a true adventurist, she even finds adventure here in a Northeast Ohio polar vortex.

“We have even worse winters [in Moscow] than you have in Cleveland, so I love Cleveland winter storms,” and engages in ice skating and enjoying Christmas lights and events, remembering her Moscow home, but no longer homesick.