Senior Business Developer Thamar Karpes: “I wouldn’t have missed my burnout”

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Thamar Karpes

A lot of experience, not only in the workplace but also in life: Thamar Karpes works as a Senior Business Developer at Commvault and has more than 15 years of experience in tech. In NL News of the Week we ask her about a major, normally rather negative event in her career and what positive influence it had.

“I never thought about working in sales. During my first permanent job I discovered that I liked sales and was good at it. I talked to people in the market and they said that if I really wanted to learn sales, I should try selling copiers. The idea was: ‘If you can sell that, you can sell anything.’ No sooner said than done and I turned out to be successful.”

Senior Business Analyst

No HBO, no university, just go into the professional field and be incredibly good at it. Thamar appears not to shy away from a challenge. “My career then continued in different roles and that felt good. I started in sales on my own, became senior sales, then account director and then globally responsible. I have always had a focus on new business, I really enjoy that within IT.”

Since January 2022, she has been taking up that challenge at Commvault, an international software company in the field of cybersecurity. But why does Thamar Karpes always choose tech? “I love tech: it’s new things, innovations, it contributes to the world. I also love innovation and pioneering: even as a woman in a man’s world, I like to do that. I have worked a lot with engineers, consultants and architects: I always get a lot out of it, which enriches my knowledge. Doing those very technical jobs myself would not suit me: I am a nerd, but not to such an extent that I want to sit behind the laptop and program.”

So love for tech, enjoy working in a man’s world: many women in tech will recognize this. But what many women – in fact, people – will also recognize is that it is sometimes a bit much. “Work is a very important part of our lives and I was really at the top, but then I got burned out. I was 40 years old, global account director and had a team under me. A job with many responsibilities, but a burnout never happens from one moment to the next: it is an accumulation of events. I had to deal with a death in my private life, a long-term relationship that ended and then I started working harder. Too hard: I ended up staying home with a burnout for a year and a half.”


It was a very strange experience for Senior Business Analyst Thamar: “I had a lot of energy and I was always successful at everything, so it was quite a swallow for me. Because of that burnout you are confronted with the things you are running away from. For me, the burnout was a catalyst towards a process of change. Everything that was not good for me was discussed, so I had to learn to maintain boundaries, say no and stay more connected to myself. Don’t please other people, but stand in your strength.”

That sounds easier than it is. “I have gained a higher awareness of my own development and who I am. The insights have emerged over the past few years. That’s how I started doing things like yoga, meditation, energetic healing and working with unprocessed emotions and traumas: you are turned inside out. But that path inward is the only path through which you can truly stand in your power and then dare to be authentic. And that is certainly important in this chaotic world. That is also what I want to convey to other women: every woman is unique and that makes all the difference in who you are. You don’t have to conform to what you think other people expect of you.”

Thamar is referring, among other things, to the men’s world. “Going along in that man’s world is not always necessary. I’m proud that I was one of the guys, but looking back it also cost me a lot. I felt the urge to prove that I can compete and I was simply successful. But if you dare to embrace and show yourself, you don’t have to prove anything. The price I paid for that was burnout. Still, I never wanted to miss it. It sounds strange, but it has caused a turning point for me, which has made me more conscious in life.”

Being authentic in a man’s world

Especially in the tech world, which is always fast-fast-fast and full of innovations, this seems like a challenge. Thamar says: “The development we see is that it is becoming faster and more anonymous, but we people make the difference. People contribute to the culture in an organization. Ultimately, we determine the change in the world we want to see. The focus of only making profit, companies should focus more on the people. Also let people organize their own functions more because they can probably do much more than that one thing. I also have advice specifically for women in tech: “Dare to be authentic and yourself in a man’s world. By daring to be yourself, you will be much more successful than you think.”

Also check out Tamar’s website.

Read more interviews with women in tech:

  • Véronique Van Vlasselaer: ‘My children need a future in which AI and humans work together’
  • Cheryl Porcelijn: “I really enjoyed making a business plan!”
  • Product design lead Ira Bykova: “Changing jobs broadens your horizons”

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