“As a woman, I have faced professional challenges, most of which I would associate with some kind of unconscious bias.”

In a special October issue of Forbes, with a focus on women's contributions to the business world, Anna Motruk, a partner at Energame, discusses the pivotal role of gender diversity in driving financial success and emphasizes the importance of empowering more female leaders not only in Cyprus but also on a global scale.

In her interview, she refers to Energame's presence in Cyprus and the ways in which it helps its employees, the challenges faced by women in the industry, and the challenges faced by women in leadership positions.

Below is the full version of the conversation.

Can you give us a brief introduction of Energame?

Energame is a management consultancy and an investment advisory firm in the online entertainment industry. It has over 30 years of industry experience and this experience combined with its global partner network allows it to deliver unique expertise.

As a company, we have many clients to whom we provide the full range of management consulting. Our clientele includes mature and early-stage iGaming companies and industry service providers. They operate globally in the following areas: sports betting, gambling, cybersport, fantasy sports,  IT platform solutions, and content production.

That's why our goal is to boost the growth of new businesses, to find synergies between all these companies, to help them reconnect with each other and work more as an ecosystem, and to gain advantages through this collaboration.

To grow faster and of course, earn more and provide new products to customers, which will be better and more interesting than the existing ones.

Why did you choose Cyprus to do business?

Cyprus really has an excellent geographical position, since it is in the middle of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It also provides good support through government incentives, which we greatly appreciate.

At the same time, the dialogue between the government and businesses is really working and improving the investment environment. Thus, it is easier for us to attract qualified staff as they will enjoy benefits in their salary and more.

In addition, there is a good investment climate and various companies are ready to invest, but also to set up their headquarters in Cyprus.

What do you think are the challenges facing women in your industry? Have you faced such challenges in your career?

The first thing I want to say is that I really believe – and McKenzie Research actually proved it in 2023 – that companies that give opportunities regardless of the gender of their employees, are 25% more profitable and more financially successful. If you have this ability, you can see all the aspects, and all the questions and solve all the problems much better by looking at different options on how to solve them.

In terms of my experience, yes, I did face some challenges. I would attribute most challenges to some sort of unconscious bias. What I'm trying to say is that when you're a woman, especially when you're a young woman and you meet a person it's not a formal process like it should be. And this is the important moment.

The person with whom you negotiate, with whom you communicate, he or even she, regardless of gender that is, each person needs a little more time to accept and adapt to a "young lady".

Personally, I always try to give this time to our partners and it's something that always works.

How does Energame work to support its female employees?

We have many internal communications and activities in which women usually have very important roles. Most of the time we have balanced ratios in every negotiation and situation.

Especially during the last years, I would say, the part of the activities supported by our female leaders is even greater. So it's a really balanced situation.

As a company, we have quite flexible work requirements. We allow work-from-home and business travel. At the same time, we provide flexible hours, holidays and all compensations.

This flexibility is something that helps all women balance their personal and professional lives. And it is really convenient for them to continue working in the company and enjoy these more comfortable conditions.

Do you think that more should be done in Cyprus to empower women in the workplace? Both from the side of the government and from the side of private companies.

I think that already in Cyprus – and I really liked what I saw – there are many intelligent and strong women in the government. I really love what they do and how they do it. And they are really a good example and inspiration for all women on the island.

Now to your question about what else could be done: This interview is an example, and so is the entire October issue of Forbes – it's a great example.

Another parameter I want to touch on concerns the business side. Businesses such as the tech or i-gaming industries do not have many female leaders. It's not normal for them.

What could we do about this? Just asking women to join the conversations, join the events, and show that it's normal for women to be part of the tech industry too.

I personally think that this is also a kind of mission for me. Although I am not a big fan of public and big events, being there and balancing the presence of men and women is like a kind of mission, through which I can send the message to women that it is normal to be in all kinds of business, in any kind of position. And that this is normal for a woman.

With the experience you've gained in leadership positions, I'd like you to talk to us about the additional challenges women face in such positions.

When you are in a leadership position you have to give all your strength to the business. However, it is very important for a woman to feel and have a balance between her family and work.

More generally, it is very important not to forget this balance between work and personal life, sports life, health, and all other important aspects.

What are your future goals and what else would you like to see in terms of empowering women in the industry?

As I've already mentioned, I'm trying to push myself a bit to talk more, show up more, and be an example so that everyone, especially women, believes in themselves. They can achieve it too.

The world of our industry is really interesting. I love starting new projects, bringing people together, implementing different ideas, and pushing ideas to become reality.

To produce new products and create these new connections between businesses. It really is a kind of business magic that not only brings you money but also a pleasure when you see how it works.