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Celebrating Women’s Month – Advice, Thoughts, and Insights from a Few of Our Wonder Women Leaders

Celebrating Women’s Month – Advice, Thoughts, and Insights from a Few of Our Wonder Women Leaders
Posted on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Businessolver Team
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The number of women leaders in the technology sector is famously low.

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Only 5 percent of leadership positions in the tech sector are held by women and they make up only 7 percent of partners at the top 100 venture capital firms. However, data shows that diversity in tech is crucial for success. Truly diverse companies are more likely to report growth, and perform better, and have higher levels of employee satisfaction. Think about it, with more diversity comes more unique opinions, leadership philosophies, and problem-solving solutions. Diversity in leadership provides more room for empathy.

At Businessolver, it’s a different story. We employ more women than men in our eight offices around the country with many women holding positions in technical roles, product development, sales and operations. In honor of Women’s Month, we asked a few of our leaders three questions to shed some light on how they got to where they are, and where they think workplace equality is headed. Here are the answers.

Emily Webb – Businessolver In-House Council

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What advice would you give to women following in your footsteps? 

Try to find the intersection of your unique gifts and the needs of those people around you. Be generous with those gifts, whatever they may be. 

If you could give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would that be?

When I was younger, I think I was fairly self-involved and thought of my own goals and ambitions above all else. This can lead to self-confidence and self-worth issues. If I had just stepped outside myself and looked at the world around me, I would have been better off. It is definitely important to have goals and dreams, but for me, it did not prove to be healthy to judge myself according to just those plans. Being connected to something bigger and realizing that your struggles and/or ambitions are just a small part of the world helps keep you stay grounded and grateful.

In 2019, women have seen a slight uptick in positions of power in the U.S. Senate, House, and state legislatures. However, the number of women leaders at tech companies is dismal. What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in leadership?

There are a myriad of reasons women face barriers to leadership in the workplace, and specifically in the tech community, ranging from archaic American public policies surrounding childcare and family leave to good old-fashioned sexism. Anecdotally, what I see the most is that men are more likely to lift other men up or tap another man on the shoulder for a big project or opportunity instead of a woman. I am not suggesting the suppression of opportunities for women at the micro-level is a conscious effort by men to ensure their dominance in a field or industry – I believe it to be an unconscious bias of men to choose one another for these opportunities. Often, I see an entire board or group of men making the decisions (sometimes with the token woman) and I think, that is unfortunate that they are losing out on so much perspective and diversity of thought by unconsciously (or possible consciously at times) excluding women and minorities. I like to think that we are progressing albeit very slowly. I’d challenge men in the tech community to take a serious look at the dolling out of opportunities, however small, and take an inventory on how many have gone to men without much thought given to if a women should have been considered. We need changes to policies and regulations at the macro level to be sure, but small changes inside your own departments and circles at the micro level can also have a significant impact.

Monica Hinchey – Vice President Client Success

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What advice would you give to women following in your footsteps?

Don’t give up! On your quest toward fulfilling your goals, you are going to have days when you’ve had it. When you are exhausted. When you are ready to just throw in the towel and walk away. But don’t!  You need to be tenacious and laser focused. When things start to get out of hand, just remind yourself of your end goal. Focus on the steps you need to take to get there. Remember that the frustrations you feel are temporary and will pass. Once you get through the little bumps, you will be that much closer to your goals.

If you could give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would that be?

Not everyone does what they plan to do when they are in college. It’s OK. Keep working, keep learning. You don’t need to know today exactly what you will do tomorrow. 

In 2019, women have seen a slight uptick in positions of power in the U.S. Senate, House, and state legislatures. However, the number of women leaders at tech companies is dismal. What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in leadership?

There are many perceived barriers for women becoming leaders in the technology field. For years, STEM college programs were dominated by men and often not available to women. Therefore careers in tech seemed out of reach and unattainable. Although, the numbers of female leaders in technology are low, they are growing! Many schools now have specific STEM classes and programs geared specifically to young women. I am also encouraged by leaders like Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, who calls it like she sees it when talking about gender inequality in the workplace. She encourages women to lift each other up and for men to recognize talent regardless of gender.

Angel Hower – AVP Product Operations

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What advice would you give to women following in your footsteps?

Don’t worry about where you fit into society or the workplace. Be your best self. Go after your own goals and make life what you want it to be. Always keep learning and working toward what’s next. Keep in mind though, there is the right way and the wrong way to do it. You can be a leader and mentor without being the boss. Leading is important because managing doesn’t allow others to grow as well.

If you could give advice to your 20-year-old self, what would that be?

Reach for the top and don’t settle. Expecting someone else to hand you success will always fail. There will be paths that open up that maybe you never considered. But keep an open mind, these opportunities may be the perfect roles for you. Always live with integrity!

In 2019, women have seen a slight uptick in positions of power in the U.S. Senate, House, and state legislatures. However, the number of women leaders at tech companies is dismal. What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in leadership?

Take it from a beauty school drop-out, the only true barrier is yourself.  If someone believes they will succeed they will make it happen. Sure there may be obstacles, but it is how those obstacles are overcome that will matter! 

Karla Flinn – Senior Sales Consultant 

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What advice would you give to women following in your footsteps?

This sounds cheezey, but “believing in yourself” and helping others to believe in their self in some of the best advice I can give. We get knocked down so many times because we aren’t “acting” the way we should or saying what we should say. I recently read and article that talked about courage over comfort. (Choosing to do what is right instead of what is fast and easy). In so many ways this is so right – we grow the most when we are the most uncomfortable. But that takes a whole lot of courage to let go of your old self and your old beliefs to become the woman you were meant to be. So the only thing you can do is believe in your own strength!     

If you could give advice to your 20 year-old self, what would that be? 

I’m going to paint a picture of my 20 year old self. She had big dreams but was a poor girl who was homeless with zero role models. I used to be very ashamed of that girl. Now, not only am I proud of her but I am very grateful for her. Her fire and passion to live her big dreams is amazing. She has been a top salesperson in the tech field of men for years (at many organizations)! So my advice would be: Be grateful for where you come from and be proud of who you are. One day, you will inspire and help others in ways you cannot even imagine.

In 2019, women have seen a slight uptick in positions of power in the U.S. Senate, House, and State Legislatures. However, the number of women leaders at tech companies is dismal. What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in leadership?

Competition. We not only have to compete with the men, but women like to compete with each other. That makes no sense to me. We must empower one another. I am thankful for all the women I know at Businessolver who are listed on this email and have been featured in the blog – we are truly a family of wonder women who believe it is important to support one another. 

Interested in reading more from our women leaders? We interviewed our own Chief Strategy Officer Rae Shanahan about diversity in leadership. Read the full interview below. 

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