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Confluent Champion Bahar: Advancing Women in Tech

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Bahar Sandal, Senior Account Executive, EMEA

Bahar Sandal isn’t just passionate about tech and driving excellent customer outcomes—she’s equally enthusiastic about advancing women in tech initiatives to help bridge the gender gap and create a more dynamic tech landscape.

Let’s learn more about what drives Bahar, how Confluent helps advance her goals, and the interesting Women in Tech initiatives she is helping drive.

Tell us a bit about what got you interested in tech and how have you grown since joining Confluent?

My first exposure to tech was when I was doing my Master’s in Communications Systems at EPFL, a research university in Lausanne, Switzerland. I have been working in the tech industry for more than 13 years now, including stints at Microsoft and Salesforce prior to joining Confluent a year ago.

Confluent's emphasis on driving digital transformation and delivering value to customers has helped me sharpen my strategic thinking abilities. My technical background allows me to fully comprehend the potential of digital transformational tools and helps me position those much needed tools and technology at Fortune 500 companies, as part of my role.

During my time at Confluent, I've learned to analyze market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategic plans to address the evolving needs of our customers. Plus, the company’s dynamic and fast-paced environment has fostered a growth mindset within me. 

Confluent also helps me power propel my passion for shaping international digital strategies and enterprise deals, fostering C-level relationships, and advancing Women in Tech initiatives along with promoting diversity and strategic leadership in technology.

I am a highly motivated and ambitious person, and Confluent supports me by providing the ability to work with like-minded people to achieve my goals. 

What initiatives have you taken when it comes to advancing Women in Tech initiatives?

I’ve always noticed how communities and mentorships are very important when it comes to getting women interested in tech and helping them advance in the field.

As someone deeply entrenched in this mission, I have had the privilege of spearheading associations aimed at empowering women in tech. I am one of the founding members of Girls in Tech, Switzerland and I am on the board of Women in Tech, Switzerland. 

I will share two examples that illustrate the transformative power of Women in Tech initiatives. First, a hackathon I helped organize with non-profit UN organizations aimed at empowering refugees and women tackling immigration challenges. Participants collaborated to develop innovative solutions over a weekend, combining coding skills with unique perspectives. This initiative fostered skill-building, social impact, and empowerment—inspiring participants to pursue tech careers with newfound confidence.

Second, I helped organize an annual STEM Exploration Week where 20,000 students participated. The goal was to help introduce young students to technology and career possibilities in tech. Through hands-on coding exercises, workshops, and tech company visits, the initiative aimed to ignite passion for STEM subjects and demystify the tech industry for children aged 8 to 12. The program sparked enthusiasm and curiosity among participants, empowering them to envision a future in technology where they can thrive and make a difference.

What's unique about Confluent's company culture? What’s one question you would tell people to ask about the culture during their interview? 

Confluent’s focus on customer-centric approach is what’s unique about its culture.

Confluent is dedicated to helping its customers succeed. The company's culture prioritizes understanding and addressing the unique challenges and goals of each client, fostering a customer-centric mindset across all teams and departments. 

For me, the best part about interacting with customers is, first, understanding their unique business challenges based on their industry. Next, it's helping them understand how our technology can help them address these challenges and bring value to them. This in turn allows us to improve our technology and bring more innovation to our products.

Also for me, teamwork and inclusion are important. I would encourage people to always ask questions about values that are important to them, such as approach to customers, team spirit, and what is encouraged internally at the company.

How does your company encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

We have diverse employee resource groups that allow employees to identify with others and address inclusion and diversity. Confluent offers different training and programs to employees to increase awareness and increase empathy. 

Our leadership team is also actively engaged in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the company.

How do you see yourself growing at Confluent over the next few years? 

Over the next few years, I see myself continuing to build strong relationships with customers, understanding their evolving needs, and delivering innovative solutions that help them achieve their business objectives.

I would like to also expand our customer ecosystem by making sure that all companies in Switzerland are aware of our technology and how it can help them address their specific needs.

  • Mekhala Roy is a senior writer on the Brand Marketing team at Confluent. Prior to Confluent, Mekhala has worked in the cybersecurity industry—and also spent several years working as a tech journalist.

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