Anne Lise has been CTO at Attensi for almost a decade and has supported the company’s impressive growth and international expansion through her extensive knowledge and experience within the technology industry and by continuously scaling Attensi’s technology platform and simulation-based learning products.
Anne Lise is a notable advocate and inspiration for women in tech and is extremely passionate about her role as CTO, how she came to be where she is today and her aspirations for future growth in her career and for Attensi.
IN THIS PIECE, SHECANCODE SPOKE TO ANNE LISE ABOUT BREAKING INTO THE GAMING INDUSTRY, HER BIGGEST CHALLENGES AND HER ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN CONSIDERING A CAREER IN TECH.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I am currently the CTO of Attensi – the world’s leading provider of high impact gamified training. I first began my career as a consultant in Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance with a Masters in Computer Engineering. After that I was initially planning to do a PhD but dropped out in favour of going into business. From there I quickly moved into the gaming industry after seeing a job opening with leading Norwegian game developer, Funcom. I spent seven years there as senior producer overlooking the development of AAA MMO games.
I thought I would never be able to go into gaming because I was not working as a programmer. That was until I saw an opening in project management which I am good at, so I saw it as my chance to get into gaming industry. I started at Funcom in 2006 and worked closely with Trond through my years there. We both left there in 2012 for different reasons– I went on maternity leave while Trond started Attensi I then joined Attensi in 2013 when there was just five people on the team.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET INTO TECH?
I am a born and raised gamer and it has always been a huge part of my life. After receiving my first games console at four years old, then my first computer (a C64) at seven, I was hooked from that point on. My dad is a tech geek, so it was always my dream to work in creative tech business.
I thought that to go into the gaming industry you had to be a brilliant programmer and my passion was not in programming, even though my education was.
Instead, I transitioned into the business interface of tech, which began my journey in gaming.
HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY BEEN SO FAR AND WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
It has been an extremely exciting journey so far! Building a company takes blood, sweat and tears, but it is so worth it when you succeed.
My earliest accomplishment was to get that first break into the industry at Funcom. It was the first and only job interview I have ever done, so I was so proud of getting into the industry and working with talented people.
My greatest accomplishment has been to being able to build a kick-ass team from scratch developing the SaaS technology and simulation-based training products that enable us to rapidly grow in to a marked leader and recently raise money for global expansion. It is difficult to find motivated people who share the business’ key values that make up the company culture.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND MOST CHALLENGING?
The biggest challenge has been keeping up stamina.
When you are building a new business, times can be tough. You might not see the long-term bigger picture when working on the day to day, but when you remember to look at long term vision it helps you to keep your energy high.
In those first three to five years of starting the business, it was challenging because you need to grow both revenue and the business fast, so it is about working to go beyond your limits when you think you don’t have any more to give.
I like to think about it like a marathon.
When you know the finish line is waiting for you, you can hardly imagine how you’re going to get there – the secret is stamina and motivation.
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
At the moment I am focused on further continuing the business’ international expansion as the goal is to take a market-leading position in both Europe and US. I also plan for us to scale our business with great people, while keeping our culture and values at the core of what we do.
As a business we are always scaling the technology platform and simulation-based learning products. Attensi takes untraditional gaming technology into new market sectors that have never used it before and it has been highly successful, but our biggest enemy is the status quo. I like to challenge the ways things have been done in the past and be truly innovate so would love for us to be completely radical on the product side, perhaps even expanding from B2B into the B2C segment.
FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE FOR WOMEN CONSIDERING GETTING INTO TECH?
I would say just to take the leap! And make sure that your work is fun!