Career Choices

I had gone to college for the Arts and graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising. I wanted to stay close to home, so I took a position merchandising for a telecom company. After working with technology, new innovations, and around sources of tech, my interest had been piqued. I decided to return to college and learn more about technology fields and positions. More often than not, I was the only female in my classes, and I only had one female technology professor throughout my education. I knew then that I wanted to help grown women in tech and stay steadfast with my career pivot. I graduated with a degree in IT Network Administration and have worked in tech ever since. I love working in technology because it is always changing, always provides new ways to learn and grow, and the small female community in this field is becoming stronger.

Professional Interests & Drive

I am passionate about two things: 1.) Expanding and supporting more women in tech, and 2.) Process improvement through automation tools like robotic process automation (RPA). Expanding and supporting more women in tech will help increase awareness, and maybe even empathy, in a very fast-paced stressful job sector. Having women show up in tech and bring a different level of skills and attributes is vital to keeping tech (especially for social media tech) ethical and positive. My second passion is process improvement with automation. There are so many tools available now to help companies and employees make their days more efficient and devote time to creative value-added activities. With process automation there is a whole new world of low-code/no-code skills that can empower traditionally non-technical people to create process improvements and become citizen developers. Using automation tools like RPA, process mining, and more will help companies going through digital transformations keep up with the speed of technology while maintaining their working processes in the current state.

Mentors & Influencers

I have a few influential mentors that have helped me; I refer to them as my personal board of advisors. First would be my RPA mentor, Carlos Viega. He is so passionate about RPA that it is hard not to absorb his positivity. Second would be Angela Salviejo. She pushed me to move out of my box in my first tech role and has never stopped supporting me. She was one of the first female managers I had in corporate technology and continues to lead innovation and technology efforts, at work and with non-profit young female STEAM organizations. The last but not least would be Karla Desso, who is the most fearless yet strategic leader that I have worked with. She truly is an example of being so good at your work that you are rewarded with more responsibility and has excelled in her career at a pace that is both impressive and humble.

Mentorship Value

This topic is extremely important, and I am so happy that more is being done to address this at all ages. Getting young girls interested at an early age, and keeping engagement throughout the years with mentorship, can help close the gender gap for technology. Having multiple organizations support and provide education, networking, and support for women who currently work in tech and want to break into tech is a big inclusion, diversity & equity (ID&E) effort now for most companies, and we are seeing the numbers slowing climb. Making sure to include the tools for women to continue to stay engaged, have a voice, and create a support system is something that all leaders need to drive for their female employees.

Admired Leaders & Trailblazers

Adriana Gascoigne – She founded Girls in Tech and has been instrumental in amplifying the message to include more Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) women in technology from the heart of Silicon Valley.

Cierra McDonald – Principal PM Lead for Xbox Engineering – She has been a trailblazer in the gaming sector, which has a rough history of female inclusion, and she continues to lead in this space for engineers and women.

Dr. Florida Starks – SVP Chief Diversity Officer for Pearson – She is leading diversity and inclusion efforts in a mostly technical educational platform and is a huge inspiration for ID&E.

Advancing Gender Parity

The greatest challenge that I think needs to be overcome is the notion that ID&E is unnecessary or a fad. Gender equity is needed for balance in work and home lives. Gender equity leads to more innovative ideas because you have new and untapped resources to pull from. Inviting new women into leadership brings new energy, care, and empathy into rooms where mostly men are, and having a new voice can amplify making technology stronger and more aligned to our current world environment.

Leading the Next Generation

I say, “Jump in the water, and be a duck.” I know that sounds funny, but jumping in means you won’t let the doubts, fears, and imposter syndrome hold you back from your journey. Be a duck means to let water slide off your back, don’t let any drama, naysayers, being the minority upset you. Jump in the water, have a great time, be yourself, and let any drama roll right off you. Also, sign up for any local women in IT organizations that you can. Building your network and putting yourself out there to make connections is something that is so helpful, and the more you do it the less awkward it is.

About Cierra Smith-Voytek

Cierra is a passionate advocate for technology adoption and technology education. She is a lifelong learner with two degrees completed, and a third in progress from Baldwin Wallace University. Cierra enjoys supporting women in STEAM/STEM efforts, including her board position for Women in IT at her employer, and most recently the Vice President role for the Cleveland Chapter of GetWitIT. She is also a creative crafter and enjoys time spent knitting, sewing, reading, and spending time with her family.

Achievements & Recognition

  • Women in IT Secretary Chair for Sherwin-Williams 2021
  • Women in IT employee resource group advisor 2022
  • Vice President Cleveland Chapter GetWitIT 2022

Share this Profile: