International Women’s Day 2020: Interview with Mimi Keshani

by Hadean Team

Mimi is our Vice President of Operations; overseeing and supporting countless projects across all teams – being an all-round problem-solver. Mimi ensures we remain relentlessly user-focused and our projects on track. 

Mimi’s journey at Hadean began in 2018 and was our first female employee. She’s overseen and supported countless projects across the company and last year, including all three live demos with CCP Games and our biomolecular modelling  project with The Francis Crick which resulted in a co-published paper focused on protein-protein docking.

We caught up with Mimi for a quick chat, just in time for International Women’s Day. 

What got you interested in the tech sector and brought you to Hadean? 

I started my career dreaming of becoming a nanomaterials scientist, creating next gen materials working to solve the world’s grand challenges (water security, global warming, longevity…). However, I found life in the lab wasn’t for me. I realised I could get a product into people’s hands faster through software and haven’t looked back.

Thing is, I’d never built any software applications and had no understanding of what jobs were even out there. I started by going to hackathons even though I could contribute very little to the actual projects initially. But, I found the communities were so welcoming and a great way to quickly understand how development works, meet people, and most importantly learn about what jobs are out there. Through this simple exercise I discovered Product Management – the interface between tech, the business, and the market – and spent the next six years doing that.

What does your role as VP Operations at Hadean involve? 

I run the department that is both the plumbing of the company (all general business ops and finance tasks that keep us ticking) and the function that drives change through strategic initiatives from the CEO. Our goal is to keep the business aligned, coordinated, and cooperating while setting us up for success as we scale.

What project at Hadean are you most proud of? 

It’s really hard to choose between EVE Aether Wars (phases 1-3) and the Francis Crick biomolecular modelling work that resulted in a published paper [link the other blog I did here]. If I really had to choose it would be the first EVE Aether Wars demo – 10k+ real players, LIVE at GDC’19, really felt like an impossible task – but we did it! The way everyone in the company came together to achieve it is something I’ll never forget. 

What was Hadean like when you joined vs. now? 

I’ve watched Hadean grow from four guys in a so-called “hacker house” in East London to a team of almost 60! In that time we’ve scaled our numbers but also our thinking. Everyone is focussed on shipping our first production version of Aether Engine later this year and it’s great to see a  “customer first” mindset imbue every member of the team without losing the creative spark of the early days!

What are the challenges for women wishing to enter the technology field?

I believe a lot of women self-select out of technical careers at an early age – the lack of prominent female role models in the media or visible positions of power and influence does make it harder to imagine yourself as one – hence the adage “you cannot be what you cannot see”. Initiatives like IWD are great to showcase the huge number of fantastic women in all kinds of technology jobs out there, making them more visible the other 364 days would go a long way. 

What advice would you offer to women seeking to enter STEM professions? 

Like many tech companies, a real problem we have is how few women apply. As a small team it’s hard to dedicate the necessary resources needed to seek out the many amazing women that are out there, but we are working hard to remedy this now. If you are interested in working somewhere or with a particular person try reaching out them, or go along to an event they are putting on.