I’ve always loved technology. My dad brought home our first computer, and I fell in love. We got these magazines that had simple programs that you could write (BASIC), and from there, I was hooked. Fast forward to college, and I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Ending up on the telecom side was a bit of a surprise.
PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS & DRIVE
I am passionate about using technology at its full potential. We have a lot of amazing tools at our fingertips, and for many of them, we use them at surface level. I love to learn about features, methods, processes, and any other way to improve what I or my team are doing.
MENTORS & INFLUENCERS
I’ve had a lot of managers in my career. They haven’t all been great mentors. Those folks really step out for you. My latest mentor helped give me the most confidence in my role. He made time for me, and he provided just enough feedback for me to know I was on the right path in what I was working on. He gave me freedom to try new things – like working with PowerBI to show data a different way. He supported my training requests and never hindered me trying something out. In return, I was able to build a site that created visibility to open data telecom orders for business partners, project managers, and leaders where it didn’t exist before. I was also able to incorporate our vendors into that system so updates were current and all information was in one place.
Mentorship is extremely important. The technology industry is still very male dominated. It’s crucial for those men (and the existing women) to mentor and support those up and comers. Providing feedback that will help develop someone by being a sounding board for ideas and ensuring that they are heard has been beneficial on so many levels of my career.
ADMIRED LEADERS & TRAILBLAZERS
Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors – talk about a woman in a male dominated industry! I admire her insight into what has made her successful. She accredits it to focusing on what is best for the company and assuming that every role she had was the role she would have for the rest of her life. I believe that being engaged and present in what you are doing helps others see that you are not just focused on getting to the next stage of your career. It obviously worked for her.
Hannah Rains – Hannah was a previous manager of mine who gave me my first big opportunity at BD. She was encouraging, engaged with me, and took risks in her career. She understands the struggles that women in technology fields have, and she is a great example of a strong woman leader.
I’m also excited that we have a new female CIO that has just started with us. It’s the first woman CIO that I’ve worked for, and her bio is incredible. I am looking forward to watching her work within our organization.
LEADING THE NEXT GENERATION
Be bold. Find something you are passionate about and pursue it. Continue to develop skills and look for opportunities where you can implement them. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and look at things from a different perspective. Talk to people. Find a great mentor (it doesn’t have to be a manager). Find someone who encourages you and your potential, someone who takes interest in what you’re doing. Then do things! Don’t wait for something to fall in your lap or for someone to recognize what you’re capable of. Seek it out.
ADVANCING GENDER PARITY
We have to break the stigma and the stereotype of women in technology. Just because I am passionate about my work does not mean that I need to “take emotion out of it”. Assertiveness does not make me “rude”. Leaders need to recognize skills and encourage the growth.
There is also a responsibility for us women in technology fields. We need to hold our head up high, be able to receive praise and other feedback given to us, speak up when something doesn’t feel right and advocate for our ideas. One of my favorite quotes is “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~Samuel Beckett
Failing doesn’t make us a failure. When we stop pursuing making something new/better, that’s when we’ve failed.