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Female Tech Heroes Podcast #2: 'Our big end goal is to provide clean and affordable mobility for everyone'

Apr 29, 2019 1:35:53 PM. By: High Tech Campus

Life in a rapidly growing tech startup is not for the faint-hearted. Especially if your timelines are decades into the future. This is the daily reality for Tessie Hartjes, who is Chief of Sales and Marketing at Lightyear. Tessie will be one of the many inspirational speakers at the launch of Female Tech Heroes, a new networking platform dedicated to women working in technology. Female Tech Heroes kicks off at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven on 21 May.

Radio4Brainport visited Tessie at the Lightyear offices, at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, just outside Eindhoven.   

 On Lightyear’s vision: “Our big end goal is to provide clean and affordable mobility for everyone. We are just starting. In the coming three to four months, we will have the first driving car, but I think it will take at least ten to twenty years to even be significantly close. So, it is a big goal. We are not trying to get there on our own, but we are also working to create a movement, and to bring about a shift in the car industry, so that other companies will also fast-forward to provide this alternative.”

Advice to women considering a career in a tech startup: “I did information sessions for younger girls, to show them around… I notice that young women have more doubts; in general we are more scared to fail. In a startup, there is a lot of potential to fail. My advice is, don’t be afraid to ask a stupid question. When you are a minority and feel like the underdog, that might prevent you from being the best you can, because of these stupid social boundaries…. Sometimes you need to push yourself to do that.”

The biggest lessons learned over the past two years: The biggest lessons have definitely been about running an organization. It has also been about people skills – and about how to facilitate other people to reach their biggest potential. And, of course, I learned a lot about the technology and being able to explain it to the rest of the world. If anything wakes me up at night, though, it would be about how we organise our company within this dynamic environment, and knowing that everyone is comfortable and feels free enough to express their thoughts, including about things that aren’t going well. We need to be open and clear about that with each other.”

Most exciting goal for the company, in the short term: “The unveiling of the first driving prototype of the car we are working on, the Lightyear1. This is when will be able to show our family and friends what we have been working on so hard. And it will be the moment when we stand around with the entire team and say: Wow, this is great.”

Would you like to read more about Female Tech Heroes and join our network? Click here.

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