International Women's Day in 2021 is something we have been looking forward to! A chance to celebrate women everywhere for their contributions to the workplace and tell their stories. We have some very impressive women on the ElectrifAi Leadership Team who would like to discuss obstacles in their career path and how they overcame those barriers, how their perspective as a woman helps the Leadership team, and advice for young women who want to be successful in their own careers. We hope women everywhere can be celebrated for their amazing work and make their dreams a reality.
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Yes, I have faced obstacles in my career because of my gender. I kept working at overcoming those obstacles, however, and my hard work paid off. I did not take the obstacle as an end result, just an opportunity for growth and perseverance.
I value being part of the Leadership team. I am able to provide a new voice with another, sometime different, perspective.
Keep working hard and NEVER give up on your goals.
I’ve both experienced and witnessed gender bias. It’s important to recognize that gender bias can come from any gender. I’ve seen women direct bias toward other women in the same way I’ve seen men do. Interestingly, I have witnessed women being underestimated most frequently in larger companies. I can’t put my finger on why that would be happening except that in a startup company, there is just no space for it and it is tolerated less. Perhaps there aren’t enough layers of management to hide it in a small company.
Early in my career, I would seek out women in positions of influence and authority for mentorship. As I grew in my experience, I gained more and more confidence in my own abilities to the point where I simply stopped caring about someone else’s opinion of my talent. When I didn’t give the bias the oxygen to grow, it just died on the vine.
Women are collaborators but also decision makers. This is a generality, but we tend to be less ego-driven and political in our work.
Be good at what you do and pay no attention to the qualifiers. I’ve never been a fan of the terms ‘Women In’ or ‘Female XYZ’. For example, ‘Women in Technology’ or ‘Female Engineer’. Why can’t I be an excellent technologist, gender aside? You make it to the top when you ignore the bias (and the bias is real) and refuse to be underestimated. The other piece of advice I would offer to any woman who chooses to have children: Work-life balance isn’t real and women can’t ‘have it all’ - at least, not at the same time. There are times where I’ve been so busy at work that I’ve forgotten it was Picture Day and my son went to school with bedhead. Other times, I’ve missed important meetings because a kid was sick and had to be picked up from daycare. At the end of the day, it comes out in the wash and you can’t beat yourself up about it. Men don’t.
I have not faced any obstacles in my career. I have, however, seen an incident occur with a team member. This was dealt with swiftly.
I actually look at myself as being an equal partner in a team – and do not feel my gender should make a difference. I do acknowledge that I am truly blessed to be in the technology industry and have had opportunities to work with great leaders. Irrespective of gender, we can all be measured by our results. This is not so easy for women in a lot of other industries.
Deliver the best work to get the best results. Do not tolerate a disrespectful workplace.
I have always felt as a woman that I have had to work harder to prove myself in the corporate world. However, I have been extremely lucky to work for very supportive managers that have been my mentors. The obstacles I have faced were with co-workers and earning the respect of co-workers. I made sure I knew the topic of discussion and made solid decisions. I did a lot of research in the early years of my career when my experience was less. I have learned a lot over the years and I now use my practical experience to make decisions. I have learned to trust my gut and my experience as that always directs me to the correct decision.
As a woman, I think I have always been curious to gather knowledge. There is a competitive aspect to that as well which makes me want to be the best at what I do. I think women are exceptional at multitasking—this is a huge benefit when you manage a lot of demanding work. I surround myself with smart people and learn from them. I have had women mentors in the beginning of my career and men later in my career and both have guided me to where I am today.
Don’t make excuses because of your gender. Work hard and sometimes harder than your male counterparts. Find something to be passionate about because then you will always love what you do. Be proactive and detail-oriented. Own your mistakes and learn from them. Always keep learning and growing in your career. If you don’t know something, admit you don’t know it and then go learn it.
Yes, I think anyone who represents a minority voice in a majority space often encounters resistance. The most important thing I did to help support my career through these challenges is to find community. It has been critical to my success to have a community of diverse thinkers that celebrate differences and create a welcoming space regardless of title and classical training. It is so very important to know you are not alone and that your voice and experience matters.
I always like to say, “I am uniquely Noelle.” As a woman, Latina, mother, caregiver, friend, I play so many roles that help enrich my ability to empathize and help grow teams and individuals. I don’t think being a woman is the only variable, but I appreciate uniqueness and identifying as female is part of that.
I am often asked this question and I have found 3 tips to be the most useful:
Learn and be curious. Let your curiosity guide and fuel you to enter industries and solve problems you may initially think you aren’t qualified to be in. Your unique passion and capability may be just what that industry or problem needs to be solved.
Be a campion of self-care. Create a daily routine that feeds your mind, body, and spirit. I wake up each morning with a gratitude meditation. After that I read non-fiction, personal development content for 20 minutes. Then I journal my 3 goals for the day (personal, professional, and financial). I finish up by exercising either on my Peloton or a quick set of sun salutations. This routine keeps me happy, energized, and ready to take on the world!
Learn by doing. Lastly, just start executing. Don’t wait until you know enough, have enough training, bought enough courses. You have everything you need right now to begin. So start. If you don’t know how to start, head to your community and ask for tips from those who came before you. Don’t hesitate, start building, creating, documenting, and visualizing. There is no better time than now to begin the career you have always wanted.
I haven’t faced any obstacles in my career because of my gender. Instead, more and more women show up in data science and analytics area due to their natural sensitivity to data and business.
I am a focused, detail-oriented professional with strong execution power.
Be eager to learn and have an inherent desire to leverage technology to solve real business problems. By doing so, you are consequently changing the world through your actions and work.
When I would leave—after 5—to pick up my son and take him to his activities, I would hear co-workers say, “What? Half day?” I’ve heard the same co-workers praise a man for being involved with his kids when doing the same. But I’ve been lucky in that I’ve worked for both male and female managers over the years who have worked with me and accommodated me in balancing work and life. I’ve also been fully present when at work and delivered results.
Not only is the workforce diverse, but the market is too. It is important to have that diversity represented throughout every level of the organization to offer products and services that meet market needs.
Always be curious, always be open to learning. What you are doing today isn’t enough to sustain you throughout your career. There is so much to learn and the world is changing fast.