Interview with Armine Zakaryan, Director of Deem Communications

(originally published in Regional Post Magazine)

Stereotypes can’t affect the quality of work if you are confident in what you do – this is one of the secrets of Armine’s career success. In this interview Armine Zakaryan, Director at DEEM, shares her insights about the perceived differences between male and female directors, the special staff of DEEM and what it is like to be a female director of an Armenian company in Armenia.

Armine-Zakaryan

”Male and female bosses”. Is there a difference?

– There are two approaches – how they treat you and how you feel. Clients usually expect to see a male boss. Just before this interview we had another case when the client expected to be welcomed by a man in the post of the director of the company. Actually, it is just the beginning of any meeting, afterwards we start speaking, introducing the company and everything else is gradually left behind, and it doesn’t matter anymore if you are a “male or a female boss”.

What are the difficulties of being a female boss?

– First, it is about the stereotype, second, the mistrust. It requires more effort to persuade that you can also be right by being a woman. However, I have been in the industry for more than 10 years now and luckily I can notice a positive change in the attitude. There are clients who are more open to new and creative ideas and there are those who prefer a more traditional approach.

I have noticed that there are more female than male employees at DEEM

– I always want to give my preference to male employees to keep the gender balance but it doesn’t always work. Last year we announced two job vacancies and I finally managed to hire male employees. We do our best to improve gender balance at our agency. Actually, it is not about preferring to work with women because it is easier to work with them as a female director. I believe that balance is always crucial for any team. When there are more girls in the team, there are more emotions.

Any advantages?

– In some cases it is easier for women rather than men to handle certain situations, we are more flexible. This does not imply, however, that women are trickier, or that they use their charm intentionally, but there are cases that are easier for women to handle.

Since I have been working in the same field for years, I didn’t become a director by chance, my experience helps me a lot in communication and managing the business, as well as in breaking stereotypes. As the client starts perceiving his/her

interlocutor as a professional, they forget about her gender. At first, you notice and feel a difference in the attitude even if you don’t want to, however, stereotypes are broken when you get down to business and they see that you take your work seriously. Mostly this happens during meetings and discussions

Overall, society is not used to seeing female leaders and bosses in Armenia. There are very few female employees even in the Government or Parliament.

 – Indeed, but the number of women leaders is growing. Even small businesses run by women have been growing and that is why it has been incredibly easier to be a female director over the last few years, compared with the past. Women have stopped being housewives, now they realize the importance of being self-reliant. Even at home a woman can start her own business which I believe is very important for her self-esteem. So, managing to balance family and work is the happiest case.