For the past 20 years society has recognized that the Information Technology space has taken the world by storm with incredible advancements in operations and programming. But the best kept secret in IT today is the shift in its workforce. While most would think that IT is a man’s world, 30% of working women occupy the tech industry. Women are debunking the gender stigma and I am proud to be included in that list of women.
When I was in high school I didn’t plan on going to college. My parents didn’t so I just assumed the role as a secretary after graduation. Well, that wasn’t fun for me. I switched gears and joined the assembly line at Ford Motor where my professional perception changed entirely. I spent that summer observing the engineers and performing manual labor; that’s when I decided I wanted to design workflows and efficiencies and turn them into processes to better suit these plants. I pursued my degree in industrial systems engineering, an already male dominated program, and began my career as a Process Control Engineer at U.S. Steel, an even more male dominated place of business. But that is where you could say I caught the bug – implementing technology and creating systems and applications that would equip companies for the future. Post U.S Steel I entered into the IT industry in both the public and private sectors and from there, as they say, the rest is history.
Let’s circle back to my time at U.S. Steel. I was the only woman engineer in 1982 on a team of 25 men, and yes, that meant sharing a bathroom with 25 men. I worked elbow-to-elbow with my male co-workers automating the factory floor capabilities. I was one of them, and when we were out in the field, I wore the same uniform they did. I never let my gender get in the way because I approached business with determination, developed relationships, and dealt with crisis with a collaborative mindset. That is what’s most important- to be able to create an environment where even though you are a woman, there isn’t a different score card.
Let’s fast forward to 2018. I am now the practice director of Enterprise Service Management at CareWorks Tech leading a powerhouse team of individuals that work to achieve success in enabling business transformation in technology. Our company is comprised of business focused women who continue to influence the shift in the information technology workforce. CareWorks Tech recognizes the significant accomplishments of women in technology and emphasizes continued progress through its company culture, yearly support of the Women in Tech Conference, and partnership with the Reynoldsburg’s eSTEM Academy.
A few weeks ago, my co-worker Rani Biffle-Quimba and I had the pleasure of speaking with a group of high school girls at the eSTEM Academy that are involved in a group called Sisterh>>d. The goal of this event was to share our career experiences and give some advice about women who have made their way up the chain in the tech industry. Some of Reynoldsburg’s eighth grade girls will be visiting CareWorks Tech in the coming weeks to tour the office and participate in a Q&A session with our female tech leaders. We want to encourage these students to consider pursuing their high school’s eSTEM program and educate them on career opportunities in the tech industry. It is inspiring to see so many young women interested in technology and determined to advance their education in this field.
Everything in almost every industry segment is supported by technology. It is so interwoven in our society that children today are exposed to it at a very young age. I’d like to say that my tenure is a testament to all working women in the IT space, and I encourage all women to take a piece of the pie that is information technology.