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Blog > September 2019 > EVOLVE19 Women Leaders in Technology Weigh in on the Future of IT

EVOLVE19 Women Leaders in Technology Weigh in on the Future of IT

ASG will be holding its second annual Women Leaders in Technology (WLIT) Lunch at EVOLVE19, our annual customer conference on October 21-23. As the host of the WLIT panel, I am honored to welcome such an accomplished group of leaders, including Sue Laine, VP Strategic Technologies, ASG Technologies; Durga Yerramilli, Manager, Data Business Group, GTM Lead for Intelligent Data Discovery, Accenture; Marci Maddox, Research Manager, Enterprise Content Strategies, IDC; and Maura Fitzgerald, Founder and Partner, Version 2.0 Communications.

The WLIT Lunch is becoming an important staple at EVOLVE, growing 4X from last year’s conference as this year’s program has an expected 40 customers and partners participating. Leading up to the lunch, I asked our panelists to provide a glimpse into their experiences as women leaders in technology and the state of the industry today. Their responses below are inspiring—enjoy.

What has your experience been as a woman professional working in the technology industry?

In my experience, to thrive in the tech world, you must be willing to continuously learn; play to your strengths; be courageous and take risks; and above all, be compassionate as relationships are the steppingstones to a successful career. Be inspired by Marie Curie or Katherine Johnson—women confident in their ability to change the world when playing it safe was expected. Unfortunately, there are still expectations: no grey hair or t-shirts. But in tech, it is the idea that gets recognized; look at Dr. Katie Bouman, the computer scientist who generated the first-ever photo of a black hole. Tech is fast-paced and brings limitless opportunity to influence the women who come after us.
– Marci Maddox

Only 20 percent of personnel in the tech industry are women, and that percentage decreases as you become a manager. In my experience, women have to work harder than men because our burden of proof is much higher. People still trust men more to get the job done—and it’s coming from women, too. We have less confidence in women engineers, and those standards need to change. At meetings and panels, there is usually just one woman present to show representation, but there are so many capable women out there. We have a long way to go.
– Durga Yerramilli

My overall experience has been positive. Of course, there are difficult colleagues who exist and professional setbacks that occur in every field. Technology is an industry that demands innovation and welcomes out-of-the-box thinking but also prizes teamwork. These are the characteristics that make it a great field for women. Good ideas and creative thinking are admired and embraced, regardless of the gender of the originating thinker.
– Maura FitzGerald

Working in the technology industry for 20 years has provided me with ever-changing challenges and growth from both a career and personal perspective. Each major challenge has elevated me to a new level of understanding and equipped me for the next IT opportunity. In working as a leader alongside many men in a sales-driven organization, I’ve found that when I help others “bring their best” to the workplace I am readily respected and thereby more able to influence others on my team. Sometimes that means working beside my male counterparts versus striving to get out in front of them. This year, I have been focused on understanding unconscious corporate bias and reacting to it in a non-defensive, objective way, not taking myself “out of the game.”
– Sue Laine
 
How will the future of technology be shaped by increasing diversity?

Numerous studies have shown that the quality and performance of organizations and initiatives are significantly improved by diversity. As human beings, we are facing significant challenges in many different areas—some that have evolved naturally and some that have been caused or accelerated by technology. The world needs its most innovative thinkers to solve these problems. We can start by pulling the best and the brightest from as many varied backgrounds as possible. Organizational culture and a diverse workforce are key ingredients in fostering this creative thinking and innovation.
– Maura FitzGerald

Diversity is not a nicety or “the right thing to do.” It’s the “smart” thing to do. The data supports this. Successful women leaders increase the level of employee communication, teamwork and innovation.
– Sue Laine

We know there is a gender gap—and a racial gap and an age gap—and this won’t change until more women study engineering. Girls experience intense peer pressure to not perform well in math and science because they will be considered geeks. They are intentionally dropping out of these focuses—and not because they are unintelligent. These stereotypes that we attribute to men and women start young. I feel very strongly that we need to address the root cause. Stop telling girls to wear pink and boys to wear blue. There must be a cultural paradigm shift, and eventually, we will see more women excelling in technology.
– Durga Yerramilli

Artificial intelligence offers a major opportunity for a diverse workforce to influence a new era of technology and automation in business. Behind the advanced machine learning is a human providing the algorithm, guidance and expertise to train the system. It is the diversity of experiences—the way we approach solving a problem, the nature of collaboration and empathy that will influence the output of the machine and the myriad of situations it can accommodate. The diversity of data and the people involved will be leading factors to deliver trusted, ethical and sound AI decisions that drive a new future of work.
– Marci Maddox
 
The Women Leaders in Technology Lunch is sure to be one of the highlights at EVOLVE19. To register for the event, visit this webpage. For a preview of what you can expect at the conference, read this blog post.
 
Posted: 9/26/2019 8:19:43 AM by Mary Wells | with 0 comments
Filed under :EVOLVE19, Future of IT, IT leaders, Women in IT, Women Leaders


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