In honor of International Women’s Day, we interviewed a dozen amazing, accomplished women working in all facets of the tech field, from CEO’s to CMO’s to executive recruiters helping to fill those roles. In our 4-part mini-series, Interviews with Impactful Female Professionals, we pass on their insights and advice to the next generation of women.
In part two of our series we asked; "What's your best advice for women just starting out on their career path?"
Colette Hory, Executive Recruiter, CyberCoders
"Work hard and always do what you feel is right. It might be easier to follow the bunch, but high integrity goes a long way (even if you don’t see it in the moment, you will be proud of it down the road) Ask questions (don’t worry about ‘sounding stupid’. We all have to learn somewhere, and the right people will view your questions as a positive (shows you’re hungry to learn). Talk to those that are successful, hear their takes and outlooks."
Peggy Chen, CMO at SDL
"Remember it takes a village. Don’t save networking just for networking events. Work on building strong relationships with people you can rely on to provide honest feedback and prioritize the expansion of this influencer circle."
Judy Shapiro, CEO/ Founder, The Trust Web
"Stay intellectually curious about your industry. Pursue newly emerging technologies so that you have a working knowledge of their underlying principles and technologies. Experiment with new platforms as often as you can through a hands-on approach because nothing is more useful than real world exposure to technology and its capabilities. Lastly, expand your normal horizons to remain up-to-date about the emerging challenges your industry faces. This will make you an invaluable part of the “future-proof team” your company will tap into as the market pivots or shifts or transforms itself."
Jen Soule, President of OWC
"Speaking directly to women, I think it is important to understand that many people you are going to work with take men more seriously and give their suggestions and opinions greater weight simply because they are men. It isn’t right, it’s improving, while it isn’t right, it is something you need to understand. Decades or actually centuries of reinforced biases don’t go away overnight. You will need to start saying a comment more than once and you will have to deal with being talked over. Be persistent and take the time to get your comment out. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “excuse me, I wasn’t finished” and then continue with your point. Unless behavior is so egregious it requires immediate comment, avoid group shaming. People don’t learn well if you embarrass or humiliate them first – tempting as that can be at times. You ultimately need to protect your voice and make sure it is heard."
Alexandra Connell, CEO and co-founder of Pluma
"I think there is an over-emphasis on trying to find your heart-song and full sense of purpose at work. When you start out looking for a purpose, it actually becomes a lot harder to find one. Meaning comes from all sorts of unexpected areas, so don't stress too hard trying to predict it all from day one. Focusing on roles within organizations where you like the organizational values and the people you interact with and you enjoy what you do day-to-day is much more important to finding your way towards something meaningful. Give plenty of thought to what you enjoy doing at a high level and find a role that resonates with that."
Nitu Gulati-Pauly, VP of Recruiting, CyberCoders
"Talk yourself up every day in front of the mirror EVERY DAY til you believe everything you say. I am worthy. I am successful. I am a hard worker. I am a learner. It’s okay to make mistakes, I will learn from them. I am human. I am going to live a robust life and my career is one part of that. I will remain healthy. Etc. Basically, MAKE SURE TO “BE FEELIN’ YOURSELF”!"
Div Manickam, Director, Product and solutions marketing, Dell Boomi
"For a lot of women starting out in the tech world, it’s easy for us to think that we are not good enough or that we need to learn more before we can do something. But one piece of advice that I have for those women starting in their career is: Understand where you want to start, understand where you want to continue, and understand where you want to stop. These three ways can help you learn what you like / what you don’t like and that can help inform your journey. I also think it’s important for everyone to establish their own OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). I encourage women to look at the OKR model and define their personal goals to hold themselves accountable. All women should be confident enough to take a leap of faith in their careers - worst case scenario is that you try something, it doesn’t work, and you find a new way forward."
Click here to see part one of our series!