Career Choices

Starting out my career as a high school teacher, I had no clue it would lead me to the technology industry one day. Learning continues to be a core passion of mine, and I love being able to work in such an innovative, ever-evolving field with endless learning opportunities. In my role, I love being able to also create the opportunities for others to develop themselves professionally and personally, and ultimately drive this industry forward.

We need to feel supported, engaged, and inspired with a sense of purpose to be able to bring our best selves to work, and it’s my priority and mission to create the culture and space that enables every person to thrive. This ranges from focusing on the small, yet meaningful moments in the day-to-day work to rolling out large scale development programming. Being able to work in an industry that unifies all my passions of supporting people, developing an inclusive culture, and continuous learning and innovation is a true gift.

Professional Interests & Drive

I’m incredibly passionate about supporting the people behind the technology. I believe we need to create a psychologically safe work environment for teams to be able to truly excel and inspire the next generation. If we don’t take care of our people, it’s impossible to expect innovation and new ideas to come to life. I’m also passionate about prioritizing power skill development in the workplace, such as emotional intelligence, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills, just as much as technical skill development. When we arm ourselves with both universal power skills and the unique technical skills required for our roles, that’s where the magic happens.

Mentors & Influencers

I’ve been so fortunate to have many mentors throughout my career that propelled me forward. Transitioning across professions and industries was not an easy task, but having incredible managers along the way that realized my potential and gave me the confidence I needed to believe in myself made all the difference. They not only gave me the continuous positive and constructive feedback I needed to grow, but actually gave me real hands-on stretch projects and access to training and new roles that pushed me outside of my comfort zone and led me to where I am today. And now, I’m so fortunate to work for a leader, DJ Oreb, that wholeheartedly supports his people and truly believes in the value of continuous learning and development.

Mentorship Value

Mentorship is so, so important. We all need allies in our corner, supporting us and cheering us on especially when faced with challenges. We need mentors to also nominate us when exciting new projects or new roles become available, as I have been fortunate to experience personally in my career. It not only boosts confidence but gives us the real, concrete chance to show our talent and gain access to so many important professional connections. One of the many lessons we’ve learned over the past few years is that we need community and connection, now more than ever.

Admired Leaders & Trailblazers

So many women inspire me with the work they do to not only make a difference in their industry today but to also pave the way for future leaders. Brené Brown continues to inspire me through her work and research to challenge the way we think about work and leadership. She motivates me to lean into the vulnerability it takes to show up, be brave, ask questions, and have the tough conversations that will ultimately help us all grow. She also reminds us all to stay curious and focus on learning rather than knowing, which is an incredibly powerful tool in an ever-changing industry that thrives on innovation.

Advancing Gender Parity

Believe in yourself and seek out peers and mentors that will support you and challenge you to keep going. There will be great days and challenging days, and I encourage you to lean into it all, identify the lessons learnt and carry them with you as you grow in your career. Create regular time and space to continue to develop yourself and learn new skills. And always use your voice, even when it feels hard, and believe wholeheartedly that you deserve a seat at the table or in that meeting, because you do! Oh, and make time to celebrate your wins, no matter the size, daily. And lastly and so important, also celebrate the successes of the women around you. We can’t go at it alone. We need community. So, let’s show up for one another the way we hope for others to also support us in our journey.

Leading the Next Generation

Recognizing the incredibly talented tech professionals from diverse backgrounds and promoting them into positions of leadership is key. It’s so important for young professionals to actually see people that look like them in leadership positions as it turns dreams into reality. We need allies on leadership teams that are making talent decisions to create opportunities to showcase our talent. I challenge today’s leaders to ask themselves if they are doing their part to seek out diverse high performers that can become the next leaders to represent the diversity in leadership that we all deserve.

About Bianca Whitson

Bianca is a lifelong learner with experience in learning & development in the tech and financial services industries, secondary education, and non-profit programming. She currently supports People Development at DMI Managed Services with a focus on continuous professional development and org-wide culture initiatives. She is constantly exploring and implementing new ways to create connection, development, and engaging experiences for employees. Outside of work, you’ll find her spending time with her husband and 2 playful pups staying active and enjoying all that Chicago has to offer.

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