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Women Of Tech

Mentorship Is Crucial For Advancement Of Women In Technology

8/22/2016 08:00:00 AM Eastern

TWICE introduced its new Women Of Tech initiative and advisory board in our Aug. 1 issue. As part of this ongoing initiative, we will feature columns from members of the board and others within the industry.

 I recently spoke at The Crystal in London. I found myself the lone woman on an allmale panel talking about the Internet of Things, connected buildings, and the future of work. If you’re a woman in technology or STEM, you’re probably nodding your head while sending a knowing wink my way as you often find yourself the only female in the room.

I was recently encouraging my 13-year-old daughter to take a couple of online coding classes for youth, and it got me thinking: I wonder if her generation will be the one to bring more women to the technology table. It’s my hope at least. Unfortunately the analytics are not promising a mass movement of women seeking science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (STEM), education. Instead, an alarming drop-off of young women entering STEM careers is upon us.

Before we can begin to converse about workplace diversity, I think the conversation more aptly begins with how we motivate girls and women to seek careers in STEM. Where is the diversity reflected in our educational institutions that will inspire, enlighten and later fill the gender gap we’ve identified today?

Today we are experiencing the sum total of all the decisions we’ve made in the past. As we look to the future of women in technology, we must ask ourselves about the generation coming up. What are we doing to inspire young women? What female role models are in university setting leadership positions to inspire them? What are young women choosing for their career path today and why? Are we reflecting and sharing how fulfilling our careers are as women in tech?

Where will these women in technology who join us one day on panels, the keynote stage, the C-suite and the board room of the future come from? What are we doing to invite more women into the room?

As a scientist, I’m curious; as a technologist, I’m future-minded; and as mentor and an executive coach, I’m hopeful. I’m often asked by women seeking my professional counsel, “How do I work in an environment that suffers from a culture sickness where the women don’t often support other women and the gender balance is still overwhelmingly skewed in favor of men?” The answer is: Work in environments that favor your opportunity to pursue your passion while living your testimony of supporting your female colleagues. Mentor when you can. Sponsor when you can. Be excited about what you do and inspire the young women in your life.

It’s an illusion to hold the ideation we will work in the technology sector today and find a large company of women surrounding the boardroom table. However, it’s plausible through our own contribution at-work, at-home and in our communities we can co-create this reality for tomorrow.

As we show our enthusiasm for our work — and let go of negative emotions and thoughts that do not serve our highest — we encourage others to emulate our professional satisfaction and success. Successful career management as a woman in technology is less about who is sitting next to us at the table than it is about an abiding sense of satisfaction in where we choose to spend our limited time on the planet.

We have a delicious opportunity at this moment in time to be a part of the technological revolution and a chance to make a difference. A difference in changing the world for the better for ourselves, our customers, our co-workers, our subordinates, our executive suite, our boards, our homes and our communities.

In the end we all seek meaning, happiness, joy, peace, and the kind of contentment that leaves us feeling satisfied with the contribution we make during our tenure on Earth. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling in my own career in both science and technology than waking up every day living into the questions and insatiable curiosity that have forever defined my technicolored winding professional and personal path.

Tamara McCleary is CEO of Thulium, an agency creating powerful brand narratives and dynamic content for maximum impact reaching targeted audiences on social media in the B-to-B and B-to-C space. Some of Thulium’s impressive client roster includes IBM, Verizon, Synnex, Appboy, The CMO Club, and Kawasaki Motors USA. Find Tamara on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

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