Founders, Makers, Doers — Tamar Schapira
Founders, Makers, Doers is a series of blogs about incredible people who are key players and leaders of significant change, ventures and initiatives. Can't you just feel the energy? Today: the incredible Tamar Schapira!
A Brief Intro to Tamar Schapira
Name: Tamar Schapira
Bio: Co-founder and CEO of SenseIT and proud "mompreneur".
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10 Things you didn't know about Tamar
1. What I am working on right now
I am developing SenseIT. SenseIT provides an end-to-end accessibility testing platform for development teams seamlessly integrating with existing workflows helping to detect and resolve issues BEFORE they are being pushed to production. The system imitates manual testing techniques according to WCAG 2.1 AA.
I am responsible for the biz dev., fundraising, client relations, HR recruitment, and, of course, the mental health of my employees, my fellow co-founder and myself!
Part of my effort today is to grow the company so that I can stay focused on my main tasks: business development and fundraising!
2. A significant event(s) that has shaped my professional self
When I first started looking for a job, I was focused on the public sector. After attending a few interviews and several examinations, I understood that what I wanted to do in life was to be an influencer, a problem solver, a creator and an out-of-the-box thinker.
Fresh out of university, I was up for a public position. I realized that there was a glass ceiling in terms of making an impact and really influencing within the position and also in terms of compensation, there wasn’t a correlation between the effort and my gain ,and this deterred me from pursuing the role.
This set me on a path in which I develop my own businesses and initiate my own projects in various fields. Hence, I left the job hunt and started searching for the problem I was going to solve.
In the summer of 2011, with the wave of protests in Israel regarding the cost of living, I found an opportunity to import a makeup brand that was created on a set of important values to me: sustainability, organic, clean ingredients and cruelty-free. Most importantly, the price was right: high quality products, which were reasonably priced.
Little did I know that importing and managing a retail business would be a huge challenge… I learned a lot about negotiations, budgeting and managing business. What’s more, as I was building my business and developing the brand’s international distribution, I realized that I was not the founder of the brand, hence, here, too, there was a glass ceiling impeding my ability to be creative and innovate.
These incidents lead me to make the decision to become an entrepreneur and to really do something that would enable me to self-actualize and influence others at the same time.
3. What are the leadership traits that I admire the most?
I admire leaders who lead by doing, and who inspire others to take part in the journey. I admire the leaders who teach while doing, and at the same time, walk side-by-side with the people that they lead. These traits benefit all parties and help everyone to strive to be the best that they can be.
4. Something that I would do over if I could.
I learnt about budgeting the hard way. If I knew then what I know now, I would definitely have redone the way I set up my first business.
5. The three opportunities that propelled my career forward
I was interviewed about this, actually! But here goes:
We were chosen to participate in the WOSNA accelerator in 2019. This accelerator pushed me into the eco-system and that really got me going and made me realize how quickly I need to move things forward in order to succeed. I learned how to actively listen, how to engage and make every meeting significant and also very valuable lessons about the eco-system and how to push forward.
With a lot of confidence coming out of WOSNA I decided to apply for a competition, to prove to myself and others that SenseIT was bigger than the local ecosystem. It was a really proud moment when I took first place in the Female Founder’s Force international competition lead by “NEXT women”.
Coming out of the tremendous aforementioned win, we were accepted into Techstars. This was an incredible opportunity that really put SenseIt on the map and made me who I am today. Today, in retrospect, I realize how much value they provided, and how much knowledge and insight I have been able to gain and put back into SenseIT in order to make it stronger and more robust. I have adopted their values of #givefirst, and this couldn’t be more timely what with COVID-19 and all the challenges that we are all facing.
6. What motivates me the most?
I am very self-motivated and I use running as a means to keep myself motivated. It helps me clear my mind, re-energize and focus on what I need to do to be successful.My kids also motivate me, because I want to be successful for them. Motivation feeds my energy levels and makes me feel like I can really make it, I can really succeed and to climb to the top of the mountain.
7. The most challenging professional obstacle(s) I have overcome
In the past, I had to decide to make changes to my company structure, meaning, I had to let go of some of my employees. These kinds of decisions are always difficult and the process that ensues is very challenging emotionally, because ultimately, these are people and as managers we need to be sensitive to them and the implications of these kinds of decisions to themselves and their families.
8. A few words from me to people beginning their professional career
My motto is like Nike – just do it! Don’t let fear stop you from moving forward!
9. Something that I would like to learn in the future
I would really like to learn how to make my own sourdough bread. Also, learning how to surf is definitely on my bucket list.
10. The question that I wish someone would ask me…
What does it mean to you to be a “mompreneur”?
The answer to that question!
To me, this is about how my life and my two main activities – raising my children while developing my company, both integrate and overlap. This is the ultimate challenge, and, oftentimes, it feels impossible. Yet, this is my choice. When I choose to label myself as a “mompreneur” it was my way to remind myself that the life I choose to lead can take any direction. It is up to me to make it happen, MY WAY. So I choose motherhood AND entrepreneurship. Simultaneously.