Celebrating Women’s History Month: 5 Minutes with a Tech Exec | Maria Terzi, CEO and Founder

Celebrating Women’s History Month: 5 Minutes with a Tech Exec | Maria Terzi, CEO and Founder

Written by Manda Frederick

DEI Observancestech leadership

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to present our blog series, “5 Minutes with a Tech Exec.” We’ve engaged in insightful conversations with tech executives and chief technology officers to give you the unique opportunity to gain wisdom and career advice from experienced technologists. 

Uncover personal and professional journeys, from career inspiration to overcoming challenges on the path to executive leadership. These articles, adapted from personal interviews, offer insights into mentorship, leadership styles, and the future of women in tech. Join us as we amplify the voices of women in tech, celebrating their achievements and inspiring inclusion. 

Maria Terzi is the co-founder and CEO of Malloc, an AI startup dedicated to safeguarding users against unauthorized data recordings or transmissions. With a Ph.D. in Machine Learning from Lancaster University, Maria is deeply committed to empowering individuals to control their data and privacy.

“At Malloc, we are driven by the mission of empowering people to control their own data and privacy,” Maria explained. “I bring a diverse perspective and experience to the field.”

At Malloc, she leads a team of skilled engineers and researchers who develop cutting-edge AI technologies for privacy and data security. “Our first product is a mobile app that detects and blocks any unauthorized or unwanted data recordings or transmissions from your device,” she shared. 

In her role, Maria is responsible for setting the company’s vision, strategy, and product-led growth. “My leadership style is very hands-on,” she said. “I believe in leading by example, putting in the effort, and setting the pace.”

Reflecting on her journey, Maria emphasized the importance of mentorship and support in shaping her career. “Mentoring and support have been very important for shaping my career journey,” she said. “I would not be the person I am today without their guidance and support.”

Maria’s leadership advice for fellow Women Who Code in leadership positions centers on the importance of being comfortable both as a leader and a follower. “Learn to be comfortable being the leader but also the follower,” she advised. “Many times, you need to trust your team and be their best worker.”

She also reflected on what she wished she’d known earlier in her career: “Looking back, I wish I had known my value, and I wish I had not been so afraid of the world,” Maria said. “It doesn’t really matter if you come from a small city or a small country if your family or friends do not understand what you’re working on.”

Maria encourages support for women in tech through collaborative projects, creating inclusive workspaces, fair compensation, and investment in startups founded by women. “Small actions can make a big difference,” she said. 

Maria Terzi’s journey exemplifies resilience, dedication, and a commitment to advancing privacy and data protection in the tech industry. As she continues to lead Malloc, her passion for empowering individuals and safeguarding their data remains unwavering.

Pro-Tips for Diverse Technologists Inspired by Maria 

  • Embrace Small Actions: Small, consistent actions, such as mentorship, advocacy, and inclusive practices, foster a supportive environment for women in tech and lead to cumulative progress and systemic change over time.
  • Cultivate Confidence: Recognize your own value and abilities, regardless of external opinions or backgrounds. Trust in your capabilities and be proactive in advocating for yourself and your ideas.
  • Be a Leader as a Follower: Being a follower enhances empathy, collaboration, and understanding of team dynamics, enabling effective leadership through insight into the needs, perspectives, and contributions of your team members.

​​💝 Invest in Women in Tech and Support Women Who Code: You can empower the vital work we do to help diverse women excel and thrive in their tech careers. Give to help us raise $30,000 during Women’s History Month and inspire inclusion in tech. Donate now.