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IWD 2024: Accelerating progress: One challenge and one day at a time
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it reminds us just how far we, collectively as women, have come in the technology field. For me, it’s a time to reflect on a three-decade career in this exhilarating environment. I’m no engineer, but the technology world, and the tech startup world in particular, got me hooked early on and never let go!

My path as a technology marketer began with a bachelor's degree in Business and a deep dive into Psychology to satisfy my passion for understanding human behaviour. At the same time, I worked a temporary job on a tradeshow prep team at Apollo Computer, later bought by HP, for my Junior and Senior years, and so the seeds were sown. Fast forward to my first marketing job at a startup called Racal Interlan, a spin-off of Racal Datacom, and I was all-in. 

Since then, I’ve held pivotal roles in technology marketing, including VP positions at Zilla Security, Nasuni, Hospital IQ, and OneCloud, and served as Director/Sr Director at Infinio, Dell, EqualLogic, Pelago Networks, Quickby, and Interliant. Each role has shaped my perspective and fueled my determination. But it was that foray into the startup realm with Racal Interlan that truly ignited my passion. The allure of charting new territories and witnessing the direct impact of my actions was, and still is, irresistible.

Along the way, I've slain my share of dragons as a woman in a male-dominated industry. The subtle biases and self-doubt can cast long shadows, but I've learned to navigate them with resilience and grace. Working in startups has also enabled me to be part of great wins but also of devastating times of closing doors and laying off people. Throughout it all, I’ve been honoured to work with and build amazing teams with impressive people. One particular person springs to mind, a woman who worked closely with me on a program I built and for which I recently won a MarCom award. 

My three children are adults now, but balancing the demands of motherhood alongside a thriving career was a perpetual juggling act when they were younger. This drove me to the realization that each person has a pie for each day. You choose how you divide that pie up based on where you spend your time. In dividing my pies during those years, I missed one birthday because of a business trip to Japan and one doctor’s appointment, and while that may sound like winning, I still live with the guilt. It’s the agony that goes with the ecstasy of being a working mother, you might say. 

To my fellow women entering the tech industry, I offer this advice: seize every opportunity with tenacity and grit. Yes, the road may be paved with obstacles, but each hurdle you scale will be a testament to your strength and resilience. Surround yourself with allies who uplift and empower you, and never settle for anything less than what you deserve.

Two things I wish I’d been able to carve out more time for is mentorship and networking. As it is, I met with an executive coach for the first time last year and it was astonishing just how revelatory and validating it can be to have someone objectively walk through scenarios with you. I highly recommend the experience, and/or seeking out mentors who champion your growth.

So, to all the women in technology, on this auspicious occasion, let’s celebrate the strides we've made, the barriers we’ve scaled and the ceilings we’ve shattered. We still have a long road to travel, but as we do, let’s embrace this year’s theme “Invest in women: Accelerate progress” and continue paving the way for future generations of women in science and technology.