International Women’s Day is about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while calling for the acceleration of gender equality and inclusion. The theme for this year is #ChooseToChallenge, prompting people around the world to call out gender bias and inequality when they see it.
Across Snow, Tribe members held their hands high to strike the #ChooseToChallenge pose and show commitment to calling out biases, questioning stereotypes and helping to forge an inclusive world.
As part of this year’s celebration, we want to spotlight experiences from individuals across the Snow Tribe, hear their advice and pay homage to the women who inspire and impact them most.
As a woman in technology, do you have any advice for other women looking to forge a path or strengthen their career in this industry?
“I’ve only ever worked in Tech, so interestingly it’s my full career reality. It’s a great industry, characterized by pace and change. But there has been an evolution in the culture and values of tech companies since I started back in the 1990s (for the better) and that’s been around a growing appreciation and value for difference and the importance of us all feeling like we belong. My advice is to embrace this and feel confident championing this – great companies know this is the right thing to do and battle daily to bring it to life – but it’s hard. Join your voice to the effort. If you are not being supported in your ambition to bring your whole self to work, then leave and work for a company that is willing to support you. It’s too important to compromise on this. You are too important.” -Rachel Mooney, Chief People & Culture Officer
“Augusta Ada Lovelace, a woman, was the first person to publish a computer program. Creola Katherine Johnson of NASA made early space flights possible. ENIC’s first programmers were women. Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do something.” – Aliisa Partio, Cybersecurity Engineer
“I think progression in any role or industry is all about taking every opportunity to learn and grow. The more you can learn about your profession, the market, your customers, their needs and the technology solutions that can support them, the more armed you are to have a point of view – and your point of view is as important as anyone else’s. So…surround yourself with great people, find a mentor or coach who inspires you, ask questions, read blogs and listen to podcasts by leaders and visionaries you respect and can learn from, and proactively seek out opportunities to develop.” -Paula Darvell, Chief Marketing Officer
“My biggest advice is to be customer-focused. If you can be known as someone who understands the customer, then there are several areas where you can add value in the business. Customer insight can take several forms. If you are strong in Salesforce, then look at patterns in Win-Loss data. If you have advanced analytical skills, you can look at patterns on the customer website via Google Analytics or utilize other software to understand product adoption rates. You can also listen in to Sales or Customer Success calls to understand why customers buy your product and what areas frustrate them in their current customer experience. Having these insights and being able to confidently articulate them can help get you that seat at the table you may be seeking.” -Becky Trevino, Vice President of Product Marketing and Operations
From your experience working with women in technology, what advice would you give your daughters if they decide to forge a path or build their career in this industry?
“I would give the same advice to my daughter as I would give to my son. This industry needs you. Everyone brings in a special perspective. Both my kids (a boy and a girl) are creative and technical at the same time. These skills are a sure-shot recipe for success.” – Abhishek Sharan, Engineering Manager
Have you faced any significant roadblocks in your career in tech and how did you overcome them?
“The first 90-days after maternity leave has been the most significant roadblock in my career. My return to work was a truly vulnerable experience. I have always been a high performer. I recall wondering how I could possibly be as good at my job after kids as I was before. How would I figure it all out? Even harder was the fact that I was re-entering the workforce as a Senior Director in a fast-changing industry. I overcame the fear and uncertainty of the experience by putting myself on the same 90-day plan that we often give new hires. I made sure to prioritize rebuilding my network. I used catch-ups with my internal network and manager to ensure I had a clear understanding of what I needed to deliver. I then built a plan for small wins across 30/60/90 days. The structure was not there to support me, but I built it myself using a framework that had helped me in the past.” – Becky Trevino, Vice President of Product Marketing and Operations
“No roadblocks as such (yet!) but I have experienced imposter syndrome on numerous occasions. When you are in situations where you find yourself wobbling take a moment to remind yourself how awesome and capable you truly are. Keep a ‘brag file’ of achievements or call up a colleague or friend for some positive feedback. The reality is rarely as scary as we create in our minds and that includes our own fear of failure!” – Daniella Coverdale, Global Director of Partner GTM
“I began my career in tech back in the 1990s when it’s fair to say that, across industries, both law and corporate policy and practice were certainly less favorable towards working women and even more so for working women with children. There has thankfully been some solid progress since then and it’s so good to see so much more inclusion, parity and legal protection in the workplace than was the case when I began my career. However, it’s definitely been a challenging journey and I’ve spoken to many women over the years who believe they’ve had to adopt a different, tougher and more forceful persona or shield at work in order to have a voice, be accepted and progress. No-one should need to do this. Find an organization where you can be your authentic self, that encourages you to flourish, speak openly, challenge without fear of retaliation or judgement, and that truly values and respects you for all you individually bring to it.” -Paula Darvell, Chief Marketing Officer
Do you have any advice on how to participate or embrace the larger community of women in tech for those that aren’t sure where to start?
“Start to talk to female colleagues, friends, family members. Networks expand way outside of work and tech is growing so rapidly you will quickly find like-minded individuals who would love to chat. Make it clear that you are looking to be a part of the narrative and are open to supporting others on their journey too.” -Daniella Coverdale, Global Director of Partner GTM
“Ask people. Start the conversation, be inclusive and don’t make assumptions about who will or will not be engaged. If someone is interested they will let you know and will respond. Its all just about creating space for people to express themselves – do that and great things emerge.” -Rachel Mooney, Chief People & Culture Officer
Perspective is power
At Snow, we believe that perspective is power. Each one of us brings a unique perspective to our Tribe, a unique perspective that is built through our experiences, our cultures, friends and families, as well as our personal and professional lives. Bringing different perspectives together supports our larger Snow values that We Grow Together, understanding that we can influence and grow as individuals, as teams and as a larger organization.
Building a culture that is inclusive and celebrates different perspectives is not as straightforward as it sounds. It requires each of us, every day, to value and contribute to an inclusive, respectful environment. To truly embrace #ChooseToChallenege, we all need to be brave and honest and commit to making the change we wish to see, because we all have a role in building an inclusive culture.