How can we proactively make a change to achieve equality and inclusion in tech? It's International Women's Day in March and Orbis are dedicating the entire month to celebrating the womxn of Tech and Design. If we want more womxn in tech, we have to do more than want. Our team felt we needed to share stories from the industry, told by voices with first-hand experience. All of the exposure International Women's Day kicks up is critical, not just for our own education as a business, but also to support the exposure of gender equality and inclusion in tech. These stories are not told by a company or PR, or any other bias perspective. These are the real womxn of tech shaking up the industry.
What has your personal career journey in tech been like?
I started my career in tech as a C/C++ developer in 1995. It was a pretty straightforward path for me since I studied Computer Science in high school, did my Bachelors and Post Graduate degree in Computer Science. Now, I am a Director of Software Engineering at Finra, Rockville MD.
What do you think tech leaders could do to help support gender equality within their teams?
Tech leaders need to address gender equality on two fronts: first on the hiring front, then once hired, creating an inclusive culture and having open conversations with their teams on conscious/unconscious bias.
Widening that point, how can businesses adapt to ensure they are enhancing women with their careers?
Statistics prove that women leave their tech careers at a much higher rate than their male counterparts. Businesses need to acknowledge the reasons behind this and plan to address them by paying women equally, providing more career growth opportunities for women and helping working moms choose their work hours.
Top 3 tips for women looking to break into tech or progress from their current position into a tech role?
Tip #1: It is possible! There are lots of opportunities out there and there is a job for you!
Tip #2: Pick female mentor(s) who are in tech and come up with career paths based on what you are passionate about.
Tip #3: Technology is fun! Just play with technology as a hobby and get curious, it takes off the pressure of going through the learning curve.
When and how was your community created and what inspires you to lead your community?
The Women Who Code Richmond Chapter was created in August 2016. Having stuck with a technology career for more than 25 years, I am inspired to share my life experiences with other women that it is possible to have a long and fulfilling career in technology.
What is your community’s mission and what impact are you hoping to have on the industry?
My community’s mission is to help women excel in technology careers. My hope is that someday we will be talking about just people in tech and not specifically women in tech! I hope to continue to draw women towards a technology career and more importantly, help them stay in their technology careers.
What is the best part of being involved with your community?
I get as much out of supporting Women Who Code as much as I contribute. Being involved in my community energizes me and gives me an additional purpose for me as a Women in Tech.
What are your plans and goals for 2021, what is the community’s vision for the future?
This year, I would like to continue to offer an opportunity to develop Machine Learning skills and Python coding skills via the Meetups that I am co-organizing. My community’s vision for the future is to see women in technology executive positions, as VCs, board members and founders.
In tribute to IWD’s 2021 campaign, what do you choose to challenge?
I choose to challenge myself and everyone to around me to reflect on our own actions and be aware of gender biases.
Fancy joining the discussion?
Orbis Connect are hosting various events dedicated to womxn in tech.
Viji will be sitting on our panel for the 'Choosing to Lead' event.
Please join us.
Sign up here