Celebrating Our Women in Technology pt.2
We are lucky at Quadrotech. In both of our Bristol and Fargo offices, we have Women in Technology lunch meetings, which are a great way of bringing different STEM groups together. After celebrating our ‘Quadrowomen’ and the great initiatives we’ve got involved with at Quadrotech in Part 1 of this blog series, we thought we would share an inspiring interview our Microsoft Strategic Alliance Director, Steph Eddy, had with the leaders of her local Women in Technology group.
An Interview with the Women in Technology in Fargo
Steph: What led you to start the WIT Chapter in Fargo?
Tanya: My story around WIT starts at Microsoft WPC in Houston 2013, and took off after Inspire Toronto 2016. While at Inspire in Toronto, social media surfaced up an ‘On This Day’ post I had made whilst in Houston. The post was along the lines of “a tech conference is the only place where the men wait in line for the restroom while women just breeze on through.” I had made that post in 2013 intending it to be humorous, but when it was surfaced to me in 2016 it made me upset; a combination of angry and sad. I then made a commitment during Inspire 2016 to go home and do something to encourage the ongoing development of a network of Women in Technology in my community. Upon returning home I met Chelsey, and it took off from there!
Steph: Upon inception, Fargo Women In Technology grew quickly. What do you think attributed to this success?
Tanya: There were two factors at play here. Firstly, our close proximity to one of the largest Microsoft campus communities in the US. Secondly, there wasn’t an existing organization in the community that brought together women in the field. The second point was so evident, especially when our first three meetings had several attendees that were outside the core audience of Microsoft and Microsoft partner employees; these were women who worked in IT at local companies, or in roles at local tech-focused companies that were not in that Microsoft ecosystem, and were hungry for this community.
Steph: Where do you think Fargo Women In Technology has been the most impactful, so far? For example at events, in philanthropy efforts, or mentoring, etc.
Tanya: The most impactful outcome from the community so far for me has been the creation of the network. We’ve had the opportunity to meet so many women in the community, which may not have happened if not for this group. Also, being able to discuss common issues with gender inequality such as gender pay gaps, harassment at work, being heard and more, with a group of people who have been in our shoes or can give advice has been the most impactful outcome of the group from my perspective.
Steph: What do you think women’s biggest challenge in the tech industry is today?
Tanya: Equal pay for equal work is the number one challenge. There is no valid reason why a woman should expect to make less money for any work she does in comparison to her male counterparts. We as women should not stop fighting for this equality until it becomes an industry norm.
Chelsey: There is so much opportunity out there right now for women in the tech industry and in leadership positions. I think one of the biggest challenges women face is being confident enough to speak up. To go for it. I know many women that are very confident and who aren’t afraid to speak up, so I’m not generalizing women as a whole, but I do know that when I talk to other women in our industry facing difficulties, a lot them/us are less likely to speak up, whether that’s about being treated equally, about being heard, asking for money, or speaking about their accomplishments. That is why this sisterhood of WIT is something I am so passionate about. We empower and inspire one another, build alliances, and work to trust our own voices.
Steph: Do you see these challenges resolving in the future?
Tanya: Yes, but I feel we still have some way to go. Some of the largest tech giants on the planet are still struggling to rectify this issue, and we want to see it resolved in all companies ranging in size from Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Facebook all the way down to our smallest partners in the ecosystem.
Chelsey: Yes. I do, and always will believe that our best days are ahead of us. We had over TWO THOUSAND women sign up for The WIT Network in just ONE MONTH. When women work together, incredible things happen.
Steph: Have you experienced any challenges being a woman in tech?
Tanya: Yes, and they’re probably the same challenges most women in the field face. How have I overcome this? I’ve found my voice and when I have something to say I make sure I am heard.
Steph: If someone wants to join WIT, but there isn’t a local chapter near them, what would you advise?
Chelsey: WIT chapters are growing by the day. I mentioned earlier it only took two members and we were already benefiting from this effort. If there isn’t a chapter near you, start one! Reach out to any of us, or anyone on LinkedIn hashtagging #WITwave or #TheWITNetwork and they will have a community of 2,000+ women helping them make it happen!
As mentioned previously we are always looking for smart people, which of course includes women, to join our company. At Quadrotech, we are passionate about our people and we have a great culture which embraces all diversity and is vastly distanced from any gender inequality. Whether you’re technically-minded and interested in joining our Software or Support teams, or perhaps your skills are more suited to the commercial side of our business. Whatever the position, you’ll be joining the market-leader for Office 365 migration, security, reporting, and management solutions.
See our current opportunities here.