For more than a century, women have been fighting hard for equal space and opportunities. We dared to challenge the norm, and although we were met with resistance, we’ve undeniably made progress.
Despite this, statistics show that we are still far from the ideal situation, even in the tech industry where innovation and progressive thinking are the central keynotes.
As we close out this Women’s History Month and join hands with women (and other underrepresented groups) all over the world in forwarding gender equality, we share inspiration and guidance from our women leaders here at AvePoint in hopes that women in the tech industry (and in any other industry) find their voice to succeed.
There is no one path to success, so we share this advice with the hope of one thing—that you feel empowered to walk your path with confidence.
1. Be genuine about loving yourself and find a good mentor.
- Lily Tran, General Manager of AvePoint Vietnam, Team Lead, Senior Business Analyst
“For me, it’s crucial that you genuinely love yourself. Because if you do, confidence will spring and make you comfortable with your own abilities whatever your role is.
Aside from that, you must also strive to constantly develop yourself. You must keep learning. Find a good mentor to help you and guide you in your path to development. This doesn’t necessarily mean finding one best mentor—no, you can find a mentor in every step of your career. And never be afraid to ask, for learning comes in all forms.
Lastly, stop trying to fit yourself into a specific box or role. Expose yourself to different areas. Eventually, you’ll know where it will lead you. Remember, as Steve Jobs said, “No matter who you are or where you are at any stage of life, stay hungry, stay foolish.”
2. Learn from people.
- Melissa Fingerhut, Vice President, People and Talent Acquisition
“My advice to women in tech, as well as anyone in tech, is to learn as much as possible through interactions with people in and outside of your work circle. Look for someone willing to have 15 to 20-minute sessions with you where you can share insights and help each other out.
This helps not only to build your internal network and your confidence, but also helps you think outside of the box. Of course, you must be genuine about what you want to learn and truly engage in learning that.”
3. Believe in yourself.
- Julia Fitzmaier, VP of EMEA Customer Success
“Even in the last couple of years of having leadership roles, I still find myself having moments where I lack confidence. But the thing is, men tend to be confident in any situation, so I think it’s important for us women to realize that we should also have the ability to do that, too.
You must believe in yourself. Exude confidence enough that your presence is well-known in the room and your opinion is well-heard and well-responded to.
And by believing in yourself, I also mean knowing both your strengths and weaknesses. Play to your strengths and find a mentor to help you with your weaknesses. Not everyone is an expert, so it’s always good to learn from people based on their own expertise.”
4. Be authentic and lead with empathy.
- Jessica Henningson, Executive General Manager
“I’ve found that bringing empathy into the conversation allows you to connect with your colleagues and peers towards a new level of respect and understanding. Listen carefully and actively, recognize emotions, and allow yourself to be open and understand other people’s perspectives.”
5. Find a way to stand out.
- Stephanie Wagley, Director, Mid-market Sales
“There are not many females in the tech industry nor the business world in general, so it’s a big thing for me to find a way to stand out. Whether you’re already skilled at one particular area within the job or if you need to improve some skills, it’s really important to get to know yourself better and excel.
Learn from mentors, find out about their experiences, and have an understanding of what they’ve overcome to be where they are today. It’s always good to have a guide to help you achieve your goals, whether that’d be professional or personal.”
6. Overcome Imposter Syndrome.
- Michelle Cavallo, VP, Global Sales Operations
“Over the past years, I’ve learned of the term Imposter Syndrome, and while it can relate to many people, I feel that women more often fall into this mind trap.
“Success” in the history of our world has been skewed towards stories of men. Our benchmark of people in power has been mostly dominated by male figures, which I believe has led to women in the workplace feeling as if they don’t belong and given labels with negative connotations: aggressive, emotional, bossy.
What I’ve learned over the years is that every human has their own fears and struggles, but pushing forward in the midst of them is what turns an ordinary story into a success story. There isn’t an exact recipe for overcoming all of this quickly. It takes time to build your confidence and it takes perseverance to push through even if it feels like everyone is doubting you (especially if you’re doubting yourself). But know that you are important, you are valuable, and just by being here today, you have already succeeded in overcoming the anxieties of past yesterdays. And that in itself shows strength.
7. Don’t always take advice.
- Julie Liu, SVP, Marketing
“Advice is usually given with the best intentions to help you succeed through the path of least resistance. But to truly excel, it’s a combination of grit and passion that is almost mutually exclusive from being easy.
Learn to think for yourself and collect different channels of feedback to build your own perspective. Consider the advice, but factor in your own knowledge and intuition that you’re building upon. You know better than anyone how you think and how you approach problems. You’ll find that it that may be distinctly different than what you are being told.”
Representation is critical to ensure that the technology and innovations we have in the industry are designed for and accessible to everyone. A diverse workforce can also entail a community where inclusion and acceptance are much more recognized.
As we look forward to more inclusive and diverse communities that offer equal opportunities for all, we’re excited to witness the rise of empowered women conquering bias and discrimination and succeeding on their own terms.
What bias do you choose to conquer today?
Special thanks to Karen Devaney for leading AvePoint’s Women in Tech community and helping in reaching out to the women leaders featured in this blog post.