14.1 percent of women in Silicon Valley hold executive leadership positions. For minority women, this is an even smaller percentage. In an area as culturally diverse as the Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, equal representation is still a problem. The Expat Woman, an organization dedicated to promoting a global community of professional women, hosted a panel with female leaders from StubHub, Modsy, Workday and other leading tech companies. They voiced their thoughts about women in the workforce trends and offered helpful career advice. Here are some of their key takeaways:
Motivational Points We Expected to Hear
- Your career is your own race, and it’s a marathon. Don’t pull out of the race before you begin. Women typically do not apply for jobs they are not fully qualified for, but men do. Don’t give up even if you feel your background doesn’t check all the boxes.
- Different cultures and family dynamics lead to other perspectives on leading and managing others.
- Women are successful leaders because they are nurturing and active listeners.
- Your brand is everything. If you don’t have one yet, create one.
A Fresh Take on Relevant Issues
- Utilize your ability to be introspective. Ask yourself: Is work fulfilling for you? Are there opportunities for growth? If not, reconsider where you want to be.
- Soft skills, including team building and collaboration, are just as important, if not more, than technical ones.
- Anyone can be a mentor to someone else and provide value by inspiring others.
- Social media is a borderless way of communication and a great tool for branding and connecting with others.
- On Maternity leave: Although some SF Bay Area tech companies offer maternity leave, some of the panelists argued that it’s still not enough time. Flexible work arrangements can help working mothers re-enter the workforce and set them up for success.
Getting successful women to start a conversation about this issue is a good first step. This panel highlighted a lot of interesting perspectives and left the audience asking engaging questions about the future of the workplace. However, in order to see significant change, more allies are needed to push companies and attitudes to change.
What has been your experience regarding women in the tech workforce?