This playlist includes 62 interviews with women across a variety of STEM industries that have amazing stories. For example, my interview with Jasmine S. Dennis, who is a millennial expert, speaker, trainer, certification exam writer, and consultant. One of her gifts is creating strategies and solutions to address multi-generational challenges for organizations around the world.
Millennial Expert & Woman in Tech Helping Organizations Reach & Empower Multi-Generations at Work - YouTube
Celebrate Women in Tech
It is important that we recognize those women in tech who are leading the path and paving the way for others behind them. Check out the 2019 listing of Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech.
It is also important to recognize and learn more about the stories of the women who started it all.
Let’s join in the celebration of women in tech – starting with the very first!
Ada Lovelace – First Woman in Tech
Each year on the 2nd Tuesday of October, we celebrate women in tech on Ada Lovelace Day. Not sure who Ada is? She was the very first woman in tech!
In 1843 at the age of 28, she developed the first computer program. Ada Lovelace was a skilled mathematician who’s credited with writing the first computer programs back in 1843 – well before computers actually existed. According to a Tech Insurance article, Ada published a scientific paper in collaboration with Charles Babbage (known today as the father of the computer) on his Analytical Engine. While the machine was never built, the paper written by Ada included what is now recognized as the first computer programs
We take a moment to celebrate women in tech for their accomplishments but also for their willingness to continue to fly in the face of stats that leave them in the minority. Although more women are in the workforce and graduate from college than men, they are still in the minority when it comes to tech careers.
Celebrating Women in Tech
Information Week offers up eight more women in tech that we should be aware of; pioneers in the industry who have made a significant impact on technology:
Sister Mary Kenneth Keller
Mary Kenneth Keller was the first woman in the US to receive a PhD. in computer science. Sister Keller’s academic career brought her to DePaul University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and, later, master’s degrees in both mathematics and physics. In 1965 she earned her PhD. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she wrote a dissertation on creating algorithms to perform analytic differentiation on algebraic expression.
Erna Schneider Hoover
Erna Schneider Hoover was the brains behind the electronic telephone switching system and one of the first software patent holders in tech history. Hoover worked at Bell Laboratories, where she worked on control programs for the radar in its Safeguard Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense System and was the first woman to be named a technical supervisor.
Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer programming, worked on the Mark I computer while serving with the US Navy in World War II. During her time at Harvard, Hopper worked on the Mark II and Mark III computers before transferring to work in private corporations and managing the programming development for the UNIVAC I and II. The compiler, known as FLOW-MATIC, was designed to translate languages that could be used for business purposes.
There are lessons to be learned from these amazing women and those today who are leading the way for other women in tech. Some of the support comes from surprising places.
Actress and comedienne Amy Poehler is a supporter of girls and women in tech. In a recent article that highlights five lessons that we can all learn from famous women in tech, we discover that she founded Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization with producer Meredith Walker to help young people emphasize their intelligence and imagination instead of clamoring to “fit in”.
Back to You
Tech is not a white male only field. Diversity helps bring new perspectives, new experience, new approaches to old problems and will help us create unimaginable greatness for the world. Join me as we celebrate the possibilities!
After examining their database of 2,800 executive evaluations globally, the Egon Zehnder team found that men tended to outscore women on five of seven competencies that companies more typically use to evaluate managers — criteria such as strategy, change management and understanding the market. Women outperformed men on collaboration and developing other individuals and teams.
The article explains that we can’t just look at our experience and past successes as an indicator for future performance; but rather need to consider all aspects of the leadership potential. If companies seek to increase the number of women leaders in their organization they need to adjust their measurement criteria.
Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us. Wilma Rudolph
Additionally, training programs should reflect a candidate’s leadership potential so that they are provided the opportunities to gain new skills rather than just look at their current competencies.
Training is another word for investment. To truly provide the necessary instruction for those with untapped leadership potential, we must consider the entire person.
Companies that do a better job of measuring potential and shift their culture to urge employees to “bring their whole selves to work” — a phrase common with the Facebook executive and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg — could help propel underappreciated executives, and particularly more women, to the top.
Examine your current training programs
Do you have a plan in place to identify those within your organization with the most potential and provide them the tools necessary to increase their skill set?
As individuals, we must also recognize that if we don’t currently have a skill set that other men have in our department or in the position we strive for – we need to take the initiative to seek out the training necessary. Ask your boss to send you to training that will provide you will the skills you need to be considered for the next promotion.
Almost 2 Years Later and Nothing Has Changed
In the two years since the Harvard study, we learn that men are still being offered the potential to grow into leadership roles over women.
The potential of women for leadership roles is being overlooked, while men benefit from the perception that they will grow into the role, new research from the University of Kent shows.
The study demonstrated that when faced with a choice, people consistently ranked male candidates with leadership potential as their first choice. Furthermore, while leadership potential was preferred in male candidates, participants preferred past performance over potential in female candidates.
As business leaders, we need to be aware of this discrepancy and hold our human resource decisions up to a higher standard. Invest in your company. Look beyond the competencies someone has today and look rather for those that have the most leadership potential in the future.
Caitlyn Holland, a Software Development Engineer, has had an amazing STEM career. She works for a software company in the customer intelligence division. Through the work of Caitlyn and her team, they ensure that customers are receiving a quality product as they test each product in detail. To do this, she tests products in various ways and often needs to think outside the box to cover most cases.
To speed up this process of checking various use cases, Caitlyn writes code that automates the testing of our product. Being able to run some of our tests automatically provides an efficiency which allows us to have more time to dive deeper into complex issues to increase the quality and time of delivery.
Caitlyn Holland graduated from Meredith College in 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Just One of the Remarkable Women
She is also one of the remarkable women highlighted in the new book, “Her STEM Career: Adventures of 51 Remarkable Women.” Written for girls in middle school, girls of all ages will take delight in reading “Her STEM Career.” The book is jam-packed with 51 interesting, relatable and inspirational career stories as well as a chapter on STEM. The chapter provides basic information about the four subjects, while the stories are told from the first-person point of view of a STEM woman; they provide vivid details of their early forays into STEM, their empowering educations at colleges across the US and their current careers.
“Her STEM Career” covers a broad and unique range of occupations such as a Medical Illustrator, Fashion Engineer, Marine Biologist, Environmental Scientist, Robotics Research Scientist, Manufacturing Engineer, Software Tester, Scientific Journal Editor, Cosmetic Chemist, or Weed Scientist (to name several), as well as the many divergent paths these women have taken in order to complete their journeys. These are real, relatable, revolutionary women who have already and will continue to accomplish and achieve within the STEM industry. And they are here to tell they’re fascinating stories to the next generation of amazing young women.
“Her STEM Career” makes for a positive educational tool to be used to help encourage, guide and even pave the way for young women to enter into STEM careers. Order your copy on Amazon here.
The article chronicles a ten-day silent retreat that sounds more painful than enlightening. This particular type of prison-style silent retreat might not be the soul-connecting experience for all but, I think stepping out of your schedule for a meaningful connection to you is critical.
The concept is to remove yourself from electronic distractions, the daily grind and the stress and responsibility of work and family to find a greater connection within yourself.
The Greater Good out of Berkley defines mindfulness as the following:
“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.”
The best way to get started with the practice of seeking a mindfulness state-of-mind is to embrace the quiet of your own thoughts. Regular practice of silent meditation helps, not only your levels of stress and your decision-making abilities but also helps to clarify the direction of your next move.
Personal Mindfulness Journey
I begin my personal journey of mindfulness at a retreat in Sedona. I have chronicled that experience and the subsequent study in a series of articles that have been published on Thrive Global.
The best thing I have learned from meditation and my retreats is being able to recognize that my mind and ego have an agenda that may differ from my soul. I have to be able to create space for my spiritual self to work around my ego that is often working from a place of fear. Contrary to my fear-based ego, my soul and spiritual nature are working from a place of love.
This quote from Marc and Angel is a great quote for what I’m working on within my meditation practice.
Meditation Alone or in a Group Setting
Meditation alone or in retreats is a tool to work around your thoughts for meaning, purpose, and alignment.
I created Together We Seek Retreats as a place for women to come together to explore tools and techniques to help them work around their ego voice and find their truest self.
Grounding is necessary for many of us that have been running toward external metrics most of our lives only to find that they are not as rewarding as we had hoped.
One way to get started on your mindfulness journey is by trying a meditation app. HealthLine compiled a listing of the best meditation apps of 2018 – check them out and see if one is a good fit for you.
Now is the time to seek from within to find the joy, connection, and purpose we were put here to create.
Business Benefits of Mindfulness
Let’s circle back to the initial discussion that business leaders are starting to explore silent retreats for the purpose of a greater connection to mindfulness. What are the benefits for business leaders, you ask?
Increased creative thinking
Reduced emotional responses to challenging situations
Increase in memory
Improved relationship interactions
The ten-day “prison” setting retreat discussion in the Fast Company article may not being an experience you are interested in. However, as individuals and business leaders, the movement to a more mindful way of thinking has immeasurable benefits.
I invite you to seek out ways to spend a few minutes a day to remove yourself from your normal activities and connect with your inner spirit.
“A profitable firm at which 30 percent of leaders are women could expect to add more than 1 percentage point to its net margin compared with an otherwise similar firm with no female leaders.”
For business leaders, the next challenge comes in addressing this disparity. Companies that wish to grow need to find ways to diversify their leadership teams. By creating a more inclusive and welcoming culture, leaders can foster an environment where everyone can achieve success.
Recognize Gender Bias
The change in how companies view leadership isn’t only about examining their gender mix in positions of power – it is also about recognizing gender bias.
CEO Today Magazine addresses the fact that we, as business leaders, need to address the crippling effect that unconscious bias can have on a company’s ability to build a more diverse team.
Replacing ineffective unconscious bias training with a focus on conscious inclusion
Efforts are undoubtedly being made to hire a more diverse workforce in order to build teams of people with differing backgrounds, skills and opinions, however unconscious bias still operates in companies on a daily basis. The problem is that unconscious bias can reduce diversity, stifle talent and, ultimately, negatively affect the bottom line. Perspectives are dismissed because they are expressed quietly, individuals are overlooked for promotion while noisier and perhaps less competent peers advance, and opportunities to reach a new market are bypassed because their consumers are not perceived to be ideal.
The Need to Be Agile
Deloitte US also jumped on the topic of leadership trends and agility and diversity lead the way.
Spotting three “Trends of the Trends”: Leadership is No. 1 - YouTube
What Does This Mean?
It has been said that if a business stands still (i.e. does what they have always done in the past) they will soon be run over. That has never been truer than in today’s fast-paced, technology-led business world.
Business leaders need to recognize the fact that their talent pool is getting younger, more tech-savvy, and definitely more socially aware than leaders in the past. No longer will it be acceptable that promotions go to the oldest on the team.
Forbes contributor Maureen Metcaff addresses the fact that businesses are doing away with age-based seniority:
With the decrease of age-based seniority, leadership will be taken by the best person for the role and will likely shift frequently in an agile environment. Organizations need to be creative in promoting engagement and teamwork across multiple generations.
This is great news for the highly motivated, younger employee. Small Business Chronicle talks about the changes in seniority and advancement. Businesses aren’t just looking to promote those that have been there the longest, but rather looking to advance those with the best skill set and results.
Workers who recognize that the best performers are the ones who get ahead may put forth the extra effort they believe it takes to receive promotions.
This is all good news for women in business who desire to advance their career. While we still have a long way to go – the seeds have been planted.
It is time to be prepared. If you are looking to advance in your career you will need to do a little preparation so that companies looking to hire women in leadership positions will know to consider you:
You have heard of creating unique resumes that match a specific job opportunity but what about your personal brand? First, do you have a personal brand, one that you have intentionally designed?
When people hear your name, what work results do they associate you with? That is your personal brand. Therefore, if you have a specific role, board or project that you are interested in, creating a personal brand that matches that opportunity can be extremely beneficial.
Intentionally Build Your Brand
Once you determine the specific opportunity you are interested in pursuing, you must create a brand that matches those skills and objectives. Lois Frankel, the author of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, has this to say:
“Consciously build your brand. We are all brands in the workplace. We have to differentiate our brand from all the others, hone it, market it and get regular feedback about it. Write down what you want people to say about you when you leave a room. Then attach specific behaviors to each of these words so that you act in ways that enable people to see you as you want them to see you. If you want people to say, “She really knows her stuff” then you’d better show up to every meeting armed with data, keep up with trends in your field and share them with colleagues, and speak up in meetings.”
Taking Lois’ advice, write down what people would say about you if you had the role you desire. Now match your experience to that narrative.
What have you accomplished in your past that is a good indicator that you will be successful in this new endeavor?
Have you served on a similar board?
Have you led a similar project?
What were the results?
Who did you work with?
Who can corroborate your experience?
Important note: Remember that while you may have an experience that matches the new role, you may not have 100% of the necessary criteria. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing your goals.
Others Can Market Your Brand
Your network can play an important role in helping you pursue your intended opportunity. Look for people within your network who are connected to this new project, role or board and make sure they are aware of your interest.
Meet with those in your network who might have the influence to help lift you up as a possible contender. Never assume that people will consider you on their own. You will need to make a concerted marketing effort to put forth your name and having others within your network assist you in the process is a great strategy.
Check out the full interview with Lois Frankel for more information about how to consciously build your brand.
How to Consciously Build Your Brand with Lois Frankel - YouTube
Anna Cooks’ career as an electrical engineer spans over 20 years. During this time, she has successfully led and managed multimillion dollar projects in the wireless communication and power generation industries specializing in electrical design, construction, quality, and operations. In addition, Anna is also an instructor at Spelman College.
As a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Anna is a graduate of the AUCC Dual Degree Engineering Program. She earned a Bachelor of Mathematics from Spelman College and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. In 2009, Anna earned a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University with a specialization in Organizational Management. She is also an alumna of INROADS, Inc. and serves on the Spelman College Dual Degree Engineering Program Advisory Boards.
Women in Leadership Roles Inspire Readers
Being very passionate about mentoring young women as they pursue their educational and professional goals, Anna Cooks is one of the remarkable women in STEM included in the new book, “Her STEM Career: Adventures of 51 Remarkable Women”. While this book was written with girls in middle school in mind, girls of all ages will take delight in reading “Her STEM Career.”
The book is jam-packed with 51 interesting, relatable and inspirational career stories as well as a specific chapter on STEM. The STEM chapter provides information about the four subjects while the stories are told from the first-person point of view of a STEM woman; they provide vivid details of their early forays into STEM, their empowering educations at colleges across the US and their current careers.
Women Leaders Featured from a Variety of Industries
“Her STEM Career” covers a broad and unique range of occupations such as a Medical Illustrator, Fashion Engineer, Marine Biologist, Environmental Scientist, Robotics Research Scientist, Manufacturing Engineer, Software Tester, Scientific Journal Editor, Cosmetic Chemist, or Weed Scientist (to name several), as well as the many divergent paths these women have taken in order to complete their journeys. These are real, relatable, revolutionary women who have already and will continue to accomplish and achieve within the STEM industry. The exciting bonus is that they are here to share their fascinating stories to the next generation of amazing young women!
Women Supporting Women in STEM
The STEM women included in this book are part of a global community that actively supports other STEM women while inspiring the next generation of female scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians. In addition to the reader catching an exclusive glimpse into the lives of these extraordinary women, the reader will also have an opportunity to connect with these STEM women via book signing and other events.
“Her STEM Career” makes for a positive educational tool to be used to help encourage, guide and even pave the way for young women to enter into STEM careers. Order your copy on Amazon here.
As I travel around the country speaking with professional women, I am met with a universal sense of fear; fear of failure, fear of success, fear of fitting in, and fear of taking the next step.
Don’t let fear or insecurity stop you from trying new things. Believe in yourself. Do what you love. And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don’t like them. – Stacy London
It’s time we put aside our fear of failure and the other career blocks keeping us from our best life and find a way to persevere.
Flexing Your Risk Muscle
Applying for a new position or taking on a new project can be daunting, but remember; your past performance is an indicator of your future success. You just have to flex your “risk muscle.” I’ve written and speak a lot about your risk muscle and invite you to read Flex Your Risk Muscle when Setting Career Goals.
Fear of Success
In the meantime, if you are experiencing a sense of fear when it comes to your career, you need to identify what exactly you are afraid of. In the Forbes article 6 Ways to Conquer Fears of Career Change, business & work coach Patricia DiVecchio, author of Evolutionary Work: Unleashing Your Potential in Extraordinary Times(Pearhouse Press), and president of International Purpose, was interviewed for her thoughts on career fear.
DiVecchio addresses Fear of Success:
Getting what we want most in life can be scary. There’s a huge responsibility to success. You have to keep it up and stay successful. Then too, success means change and often transformation. Our mindsets are typically based on the past and how things have always been. So if we are looking at changing our career, or looking at moving into a business it’s difficult to comprehend, again, the unknown…One way to get a handle on this is to write down what emotions you feel when you start to visualize your new work life.
Is your fear of success really just a fear of change or a fear of the unknowns. Consider the worst case scenario. Is that something you can survive? Remember that as you consider the next steps in your career, it is important to surround yourself with those who can advise and encourage your progress. Do you have a cheerleading section?
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
Fear of Getting Stuck
In the Success.com article offering 5 Ways to Overcome Your Career Fears, one of those that I hear a lot from women in business is the fear of being stuck in their current position. They aren’t quite sure how to become visible enough to decision makers within their company to be considered for new projects or new opportunities.
Author Susan Foster says this:
“We all want to feel we can move up in a company and be rewarded. Knowing it’s in our power to influence that will help alleviate this fear.
Ask yourself: What does my boss’s boss want and need? What is that person’s biggest challenge? How can I make my boss look good in that person’s eyes? What can I contribute in skills, expertise and results?”
Fear of Not Being Good Enough
Finally, the fear of not being good enough speaks to the inner voices we allow to dictate our direction. We need to work hard to quiet the negativity that can hold us back and recognize the value we bring to everything we do. Matt Brubaker and Foster Mobley address career fears in their HBR article, Don’t Let Your Inner Fears Limit Your Career Opportunities. About the fear of not being good enough, they have this to say:
Fear of not being good enough. Those with this fear tend to be insecure, intensely focused on their image, and desperate to prove their worth. This may come at a cost to their authenticity, not to mention their capacity for joy. What’s more, because their core motivations relate to how they are seen by others, they tend to fudge facts.
Harsh words and if we realized that our fears of insecurity were impacting how we were viewed by the rest of the company, we’d be appalled.
Our self-doubt or unnecessary modesty does more harm to our career future than standing up for what you know you are capable and showing confidence. The HBR article follows the story of one professional woman with the fear of not being good enough and what she did to overcome and eventually achieve greatness. I invite you to read the full story, Don’t Let your Inner Fear Limit Your Career.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about women in tech and their career paths with Jay Schwab, Communications Content Manager with ISACA. ISACA is an acronym for Information Systems Audit and Control Association.
You can listen to the interview here:
Confronting Gender Bias in the Tech Workforce - SoundCloud (786 secs long, 1617 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Jay also published part of our interview on the ISACA blog. You can read the entire article here.
I’m often asked by women young and old, “Were you intimidated by technology or afraid to start your first job in tech?”
The answer: YES!! My internal concerns swirled around my head, increasing my fear and anxiety:
Am I good enough?
Can I do the work?
What if I fail?
All of these fears and more crossed my mind. Like many first times, it may be intimidating from the peripheral but once inside the world of tech, it is more about making connections, solving business problems, and creating opportunities. Read the entire article here.
The tendency for women interested in tech career paths is to get hung up on the need for highly technical knowledge. The reality is, there are a variety of career paths available in tech that don’t involve coding or software development.
If women are interested in the industry, they should look beyond the traditional coding positions to see what else is available. Emerging solutions and new technologies such as IoT, big data, cloud and blockchain companies are looking for people that can jump in and learn, provide ideas and solve problems. Even if you are only 60 percent qualified, I encourage you to apply, as many companies are eager to train talented professionals to fill their positions.
If you are interested in learning more about how your skills and experience can translate into a different direction, I invite you to check out my FREE online courses.
Written for girls in middle school, girls of all ages will take delight in reading “Her STEM Career.” The book is jam-packed with 51 interesting, relatable and inspirational career stories as well as a chapter on STEM. The chapter provides information about the four subjects, while the stories are told from the first-person point of view of a STEM woman; they provide vivid details of their early forays into STEM, their empowering educations at colleges across the US and their current careers.
“Her STEM Career” covers a broad and unique range of occupations such as:
Robotics Research Scientist
Scientific Journal Editor
These are real, relatable, revolutionary women who have already and will continue to accomplish and achieve within the STEM industry. And they are here to share fascinating stories with the next generation of amazing young women