Leadership Q&A: Alina Markina

Post by: Abbey Baldacchino
Published: 26 September 2023

Tell us a bit about your career so far.

I’ve worked in a number of industries prior to starting my career in tech sales. My first ever sales rep job was in food distribution – I’ve sold produce to hotels and restaurants around California. I also once was a flight attendant for Emirates Airline living in Dubai. When I relocated to Australia back in 2016 I was lucky to land a role with Cisco in Brisbane and that gave me a strong foundation to be able to build my career in tech. I was able to secure a job interview via a connection I made during a networking event in a start-up community space called River City Labs. I don’t come from an IT background so I’ve had to focus on highlighting my sales and relationship management skills and show hunger and ability to learn quickly. After spending 5+ years learning and climbing up the ladder in big corporate IT and also completing an Executive leadership program via Stanford Business School, I made a decision to move into a start-up world and landed my first leadership position. I’ve joined a Melbourne-based healthtech start-up called Olinqua and I love it. My current role here as Head of Sales and I’ve been with the company for 2 years now. 


You got into tech through networking – How have you been able to harness the power of tech throughout your career?

I believe in social capital and continue to invest time in networking opportunities today. When it comes to networking and tech – building a personal brand is probably one of the most important foundational pieces to consider. LinkedIn is a great platform to learn to use effectively – I’ve met so many amazing connections and uncovered business and career opportunities throughout the years using LinkedIn as my professional network.

You’ve worked in sales across the USA and Australia – What was the culture like between the two countries for a woman in sales? 

When it comes to my sales experience, I’ve learned the ropes working in the States. US sales culture is extremely competitive for everybody, men and women. I’ve also worked for two major US tech companies here in Australia and I’d say that an “always hungry” sales culture typically translates across the whole of the organisation. 


Olinqua is a HealthTech in Australia, how have you seen the health tech space change post-pandemic?

I see more openness and friendliness towards cloud-based technologies in health.  I’ve also observed more focus on interoperability and automation across both clinical and non-clinical settings. I also see a growing IT skills gap and talent shortage in health in Australia post-pandemic. We definitely need more tech talent in Health here.


You’ve been involved in hiring – what are the benefits you’ve observed to hiring and maintaining a diverse team?

I love it when I can get a fresh perspective from someone in my team and when we can all learn from each other’s experiences. New people bring new energy into an organisation and I’ve learned many new things that have energised me from the people that have joined us over the years. We have quite an international team with people from India, Malaysia, UK, Albania, China, Ukraine, Canada just to name a few and it makes our culture a lot more vibrant and fun. 


What advice would you give other female sales professionals wanting to progress into leadership? 

Find good mentors around you that you can relate to and let them know about your ambition. Seek opportunities to learn from the best and stay curious. Set some 1, 3 and 5-year goals and keep working on yourself to get there. And don’t forget to have fun along the way. 🙂 


Stay up to date with Alina’s career here

Read more of our Leadership Q&A series here