Why Women Role Models Matter
As a girl, I had two women in my family that were my models for success. My mom, a former teacher and exceptional stay-at-home mother who nurtured our creativity and passions, and my aunt, the only executive-level working mom I knew well. I still use both of them, as well as my mother-in-law, a successful entrepreneur, as my advisors regularly. All three of them, along with many others, have shaped the possibilities I could see for a woman, mother, entrepreneur and leader in the tech space.
Now, when I look around me at Stack Builders, the heads of both of our offices in the United States and Ecuador are women. Our VP of Engineering is a woman. The head of HR is a woman. The head of Hiring and Recruitment is a woman. The head of Business Development and Sales is a woman. Finance is run by a team of women. Women on our executive team outnumber men 2:1.
Why does this matter? When our staff is two thirds men, and women hold roughly 25% of the computing jobs in the industry as a whole, showing pathways to success, especially for women, is important. For our first few years in business when my husband and I founded Stack Builders, I was the only woman on the payroll and wore many hats. We would go to tech events and I would feel like the +1 as a non-engineer. Yet I found that the collaborative processes that an Agile software creation space provides lent themselves to my strengths, values and the culture I wanted to work in. Eleven years later, our culture of collaboration continues to be intentional and strong. Our entire leadership team recognizes that we are the decision-makers and the mentors and the models that will help others find a path to success. We set the tone of our company culture and decide how to invest in our team. We regularly evaluate and deliberately practice processes that encourage multiple voices and viewpoints to weigh in on new hires, training plans, promotions and community engagement. We model listening and candid communication working to allow any topic to be one that can be discussed with respect and consideration. And we have built a culture where the men are allies and avid supporters of our women.
As a female leader in tech, I also recognize that my responsibility in helping to close the gender gap goes beyond pay equity and hiring women. We must also be aware of the nuances of intersectionality that may hold back some while favoring others. We continue to have honest conversations about how we can build an even more diverse, inclusive and engaged team. We know that having the opportunity to work with different people and who hold different lenses from diverse backgrounds allows us all to consider a far greater set of opportunities. So in the spirit of continuous improvement, a hallmark of the tech industry, I recognize the amazing staff that surrounds me right now, far outshining collectively what any one of us would ever be able to accomplish alone, and I recognize the real work in front of us to find, welcome and support tomorrow’s untapped leaders and role models.
When we are intentional about building this path forward together, we all continue to grow. Over the last five years our team has grown in many dimensions— and women have led that growth. I am excited to see what we can build together in the next five.