As we are kicking off #WomenInTech, we thought, “What better place to start than by talking to women right here in the office?” Introducing two of Avionos’s very own – Mary Koberstein and Ashley O’ Connell!
Mary, a senior digital marketing consultant, and Ashley, a project and client manager, are no strangers to the tech industry.
- Mary graduated from University of Iowa with dual degrees in Business Economics and Journalism. During her senior year, Mary got an internship as a marketing representative for the University’s Memorial Union where she started exploring digital marketing and later graduated with an offer to join Acquity Group’s growing Digital Marketing practice.
- Ashley graduated from Purdue studying Business Management and Marketing. After talking to a recruiter from Acquity Group, Ashley realized the potential in pursuing a career in Digital. She joined Acquity Group as a business analyst and quickly moved up the ranks to manage global content management implementations for multiple Fortune 500 companies.
When asked why they decided to pursue a career in technology, they both have their own reasons.
Mary: “I enjoy thinking about technology from the consumer perspective. I realized early on that I can take the consumer lens and apply it to the challenges my clients face every day. Look at Sephora or Amazon for example, these brands have changed customer expectations before customers realize they have them. My experience with these two brands as a consumer has changed my expectations for every other brand I interact with – both personally and professionally. I like thinking about what it takes to create those disruptive scenarios to help set the bar for customer expectations end to end – from loyalty to the technology platforms it takes to make those experiences possible.”
Ashley: “I fell in love with my career when I realized the power and influence digital has in creating innovative experiences and directly delivering on client goals. I didn’t think that solving both challenges was possible until I realized I could help drive corporate revenue while creating meaningful experiences for the customer.
There’s no denying that the technology industry is male dominated. I asked how they felt about being a woman in the technology industry.
Mary thinks that it’s less about gender and more about people’s characteristics. “For me, I don’t count the number of men vs. women in the room. I hone in on the professional traits of the people I respect and focus on emulating those traits in my own career.”
Ashley adds, “It’s about interacting with people – and communication, but we can’t ignore the fact that there aren’t enough women in the technology workforce. There are more barriers we need to break through in this industry.”
But together they agree that, “You shouldn’t be intimidated if you are one of a few women in the room. It can feel empowering to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.”
Ashely adds, “Raise your voice in a meaningful and professional way – you’ll garner the respect you deserve from everyone around you – regardless of gender.”
So how important is technology to your career?
“When I was in college I thought of IT as just coding and that was naïve. Technology as a whole is such a huge part of businesses today and it’s not going to stop. It’s taken a front seat to practically everything we do.”
Whether or not you see yourself moving towards a career focused on technology, a background in tech will do everything but harm your future goals. “There is no delineation between business and digital anymore,” Ashley said. “Having a foundation in technology is going to help you be successful no matter your career path.”