I am appreciative of the opportunity to kick off this blog series. My confidence in doing so stems from an executive team of both men and women that share the same core values that our women leaders will share in the coming weeks.
As the landscape evolves, as women, we are again challenged by decisions being made for women, but not by women. These setbacks force us to be vulnerable, and push us in our personal and professional lives to evaluate what’s next. They ask us how we will respond, and how we will support each other, looking at what we can do in our own lives to impact change.
AllCloud supports women and their decisions across all aspects of their personal and professional journey. We are led by many women in leadership who guide us and drive our core values. I know this is reflected in the continued workforce diversification of leadership and ongoing focus on diversity and inclusion, especially looking at how AllClouders are surrounded by women leaders that are breaking the barriers in every function of our organization.
In the coming series, the focus from women leaders across our organization will be this, as a women leader in tech:
- How are you ensuring that you are your authentic self?
- Advice you’d give to women in their career – what would you tell younger women in tech to make an impact or advice in growing their career?
By sharing these answers, my hope is that women in tech feel empowered, feel supported and in our own professional lives, can impact change.
Becoming Your Authentic Self: Evaluate Your “Room”
I’ve been in the tech industry my entire career. I’ve been the young, twenty-something, only female in rooms with all men. A lot of the time, as a female when you walk into that room, you stand out. It can be intimidating. During my 20s, I often tried to come off more mature for my age, like I needed to compensate somehow to be taken seriously. As women, whether 25 or 55, we often try to overcompensate in some way to seem like we deserve to be there.
Here’s the thing about the “room.” It doesn’t matter if you are surrounded by women or men. It matters if you feel like you are your authentic self in that room, and you are comfortable in that room. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel like you are the same person at work and home?
- Are you your “authentic self” at work?
- Do you need to hide or mask your feelings and leave them at the door?
- Is there a part of you that you are compressing down to fit the “mold” of what you think you should be in order to be well received?
- Can you have an honest dialogue with your colleagues and manager?
- Do you feel like the people in that room around you truly care?
If it’s the right room, and the right people, the answers to those questions will be easy.
Be Supported in All Your Roles
I’m a mom. There are stigmas that come with that in demanding roles. These last several years and having a second child during the pandemic has challenged me in many ways. There is patience that needs to come with that, both from your employer, and from yourself. The number of women, especially women with children, who have exited the workforce since 2020 is astounding. I can certainly understand why. Why haven’t I? I’ve been supported.
I can promise that since being a mom the last 5 years, my time management skills, project management skills and ability to be intentional about what I am doing is at its peak. I was promoted to a VP a few months after returning from my maternity leave. When I felt like I was rebalancing my life as a mom of two, AllCloud recognized my contributions. That mattered. Moms are pretty incredible employees with perspectives and abilities that bring a lot to the table. As a leader, I’ve become more patient and more empathetic. Know what you need to bring your best work and self to the table. Don’t hide from it. Don’t apologize for it, benefit from it and the additional skills it gives you.
See Diversity and Live it
Support comes in all shapes and sizes. There are a lot of great companies out there. It’s incredible to see those already stepping up in such a short amount of time. Most will adjust their HR policies further to support care for women, but I encourage you to expect that, and to look deeper. Good people matter. Good colleagues matter. And good leaders matter. Pick your place for the right reasons. Know what’s important to you, prioritize being you. Prioritize being surrounded by those who share your core values. Recognize support. People stay with companies, like AllCloud, because of its people and leadership support.
If you don’t feel supported, those great ideas, those breakout moments that define your path, are more likely to stay with you and to stay unseen. When you look around and see diversity from leaders that do what they say, then diversity and empowerment for being a woman becomes real. You start to live it. When it surrounds you, your confidence comes with it and you’ll thrive, you’ll grow and you’ll be seen. That’s when your authentic self comes out in your career. And when you do, you’ll make an impact. If we all can have that standard, drawing the line about the types of workplaces and cultures we will accept, we can be heard.
I look forward to the rest of the series to share a glimpse of the incredible women leaders we have here at AllCloud with you. I hope you’ll be as inspired by them as I’ve been.