I have had women come up to me at tech events and ask me why are we still talking about this? We were talking about women in tech when I was your age…
Well, the conversation about women in tech is something that is ever evolving and changing. I personally don't see it going anywhere. But, instead of talking about where everyone is the conversation just needs to change to those who are there. Women and their role in technology is up to them. Some women don't want to work at tech companies. Where are all the women everyone asks...women have choices of all types of companies that they can work for or start themselves. Instead of focusing our time on who is not there, lets start focusing our time on what we can do to help those who are there involved in tech companies.
Thankfully we live in a city where there are fantastic startups and tech companies growing all around us. This leaves the women of startups and tech companies in a position to learn from all that Cambridge and Boston have to offer us.
The future of technology relies on women and men, but the future of tech would not be as strong without the presence of women. Karin Daly, the CMO of Philips Healthcare gave a great talk on International Women’s Day. Karin spoke of a couple fun indicators that women and tech have a positive correlation. (Sorry but I don’t have the source of this information right now, just came from her mouth). Companies with women on the board of management or of Director level give their investors a better return on investment. Also, articles written by women are 40% more likely to be cited.
There are women who don't want to work at tech companies, who don’t want to start companies and that is fine. But, for those of you who do want to help define the future of women in tech, the future of your company- here are 3 key abilities to think about in your daily work.
1. Listen actively.
Listen actively in all areas of your job and as you move along in you company you will become a better listener and known as someone who listens. To be a good leader you have to understand what your team and your customers are saying to you. So stop multi tasking on your calls, put down your iPhone and take in what someone is saying to you. Teach yourself to really listen.
2. Apply your intuition and reach for insights.
Women are good at translating information into insights. We are good at listening naturally. Can you take what you heard and realize what needs to be changed? Can you take those insights and determine the best course of action? If you can listen and then really understand what your team’s motivation is and what the rationale for certain things are, you will develop skills that will help you further your career.
3. Create partnerships.
There are ways to create partnerships in all parts of your life- inside your company and outside your company. You should always be investigating opportunities around you. Where is something not working well? Where is my opportunity to add value? How can I help to fill in the blanks? Investigate opportunities around you and realize opportunities for those around you. By staying people focused and recognizing where you cannot do something alone you will partner naturally.
These three abilities will help you to advance your career in tech. Remember there is always room for collaboration. If you want to do something in your company but you aren’t sure how to get there- start asking questions. If you can really learn your customers and what the market needs you will set yourself apart from those who are not. Remember there are always needs that are not being filled, recognizing those needs early on and stepping up will help to set you apart as a natural leader.
Now go to work and change the world. Always find things that make you full as well as make you happy.