What are the first descriptors that come to mind when you think of someone working in technology? Perhaps super smart, geek, socially awkward, or… male. It’s okay — we know the stereotypes and yes, some of them are true. Plenty of us in technology like to “geek” out or may love to write rigid requirements documentation, but let’s set the record straight. Stereotypes are just stereotypes. At Avionos, we are embracing the conversation around women in technology. The fact of the matter is, you can’t just have men… and you can’t just have women. You need BOTH! So, let’s talk about why balance… really is better. There are people who still say that being a woman can put us at a serious disadvantage in a space like technology. The truth? It’s the opposite. It’s an exciting time to be a woman in the workforce. Not only are we seeing more women every day rising up to leadership roles, but we are also seeing women coming together to build one another up. Men too! Here at Avionos, we’re aiming to shape the everyday culture to be inclusive of us all — women included. So, we’ve rounded up some of the amazing women in our Avionos office for the honest truth and the challenges they’re faced with being a woman in this business.
If you could describe Avionos with one word, what would it be?
“Intelligent” – Challin Meink “Conquest” – Elle Kim “Energetic” – Mousumi Behari “Innovative” – Cari DeLong “Spirited” – Mary Koberstein “Well-rounded” – Rachel Klepp
Being a woman, what are some of the challenges you have had to overcome in this business? What motivates you to work harder?
“Being a woman in technology constantly has its challenges. The one that I think is the most difficult is actually getting out of your own way. I’ll never forget earlier in my career, in an all team meeting, I shared my opinion pretty directly to the group. Immediately, I started thinking about how I should have tempered my tone or spoken more politely, or not seemed contrary to our manager’s point of view. The entire day I thought about how I shouldn’t over step. The next day, I asked my male colleague if he thought I was out of line. His response: “When?” The 30 seconds in a meeting that I had agonized over for a solid 24 hours wasn’t even a blip on the radar for my male counterpart.” – Challin Meink “Like many other women in the industry, I’ve certainly had many experiences where I was in a male dominated environment. A consultant at heart, I like to focus on opportunities, not challenges. While being in a male dominated industry can be intimidating at first, it does force you out of your comfort zone to learn how to speak up and find your voice. Finding that voice is crucial to growing in your career, so think about it as an opportunity to develop your skills faster. What motivates me is the opportunity to drive a new normal for women coming into the workforce and being a part of the change where they can expect to see more women in tech leadership.” – Mary Koberstein Today, we’ve decided to open up our office and host a group of female high school students who will shadow our Avionos women throughout the day. Turns out, our ladies already have a lot of great advice! Read up — it might apply to you too.
What advice would you give women who are currently pursuing a role in the tech field?
“Everyone is different and deal with situations differently, so do not compare yourself with the person next to you. Find your own way to make it work.” – Elle Kim “I have worked in science, accounting and now tech fields. From those experiences I would say the best advice I can give is to believe your opinion is valuable. Sometimes you may be the only one with that opinion, but it doesn’t mean you are wrong. It may mean you are the only one thinking outside the box. It may mean you are the only one who has had a different experience than the other people in the room. Stay true to yourself.” – Cari DeLong “Go for it! Don’t be intimidated by others with more experience in the industry. By nature, the tech industry is ever changing and innovating, so focus on highlighting your strengths, your passions, and your point of view on innovative topics.” – Mary Koberstein “Speak up and always voice your opinion. Ask more questions, it’s better to ask more than less. Always say yes to challenges. Stay positive and be confident” – Rachel Klepp “The thing I would drive home the most is, learn. Educate yourself on the topic. When you feel educated on the topic, you’re able to speak very confidently and a confident woman who can walk into a room, own the room, and own the topic, is a successful woman.” – Mousumi Behari “I don’t think I’d distinguish tech v. business v. finance v. marketing, or any other sector. Everything is technology now and moving forward. My advice to women in any workforce is to learn everything you can, become an expert. Then, feel confident and speak clearly when you make your recommendation. At that point, you’ve earned it.” – Challin Meink