Six Pieces of Advice From Women Trailblazing in Tech
25 Sep 2019 | Heather Pryor | 6 minutes
Women in tech play a huge role in paving the way as the industry continues to experience exponential growth. Tech companies are always looking for hardworking and motivated women to hire because they bring substantial value to any organization they’re a part of.
If you are a woman who has ever thought about or are currently pursuing a career in the tech world, you have chosen a wonderful path to head down. At RainFocus, we have four superwomen on our sales team, Irene Martynova, Gabriela Crosse, Allison Parker, and Elizabeth Langdon.
They are experts in their field and innovators who blend event expertise, executive leadership and diverse experiences into fortune 500 companies. They are great leaders in tech and they have invaluable advice to offer anyone starting out in the industry. They know that you have all the power you need to shape the industry because they have done it themselves.
1. Keep your Path Open
Throughout your life, you’ll probably hear plenty of stories of people who pursued a degree in one field, then ended up somewhere completely different. It’s okay to change directions! Most of us don’t even know where we want to end up coming out of college. Take advantage of opportunities to explore different roles and experiment while you’re early on in your career.
Allison Parker went to school for Hospitality Management thinking she’d eventually become the general manager of a luxury hotel. She even worked in restaurants and hotels for years. It’s safe to say her career goals shifted when she found herself maneuvering into the tech world and eventually joining RainFocus.
“Allow yourself to be open to a variety of roles and paths you might have never considered. I had a strong operations background coming into tech and now I’m on the sales side and I love it! I’ve also been able to travel to many different countries, making friends around the world, and having really incredible experiences as a result of the roles I’ve taken on.” – Allison Parker, Enterprise Sales Director at RainFocus
2. Learn from Others
Finding a great mentor to learn from will go a long way. Seek out individuals who are willing to teach you and watch you grow. It may be a colleague or in the case of RainFocus Sales Director Gabriela Crosse, it could be a manager.
While preparing to demo a new product from the RainFocus suite of services, Crosse felt her confidence slipping as her nerves set in. “My boss took the time for me to practice my presentation and demo with him. He assured me that I knew the technology, I just needed the boost of confidence and the practice” she said. Crosse walked away feeling self-assured and ready to take on her demo because of her boss’ support.
“Be supported by a good manager. I consider myself successful because of my managers taking the time to teach me and helping me to be a better version of me!” – Gabriela Crosse, Enterprise Sales Director at RainFocus
3. Quit Being so Apologetic
It is common for women in the workforce to belittle themselves by being too apologetic, or underestimating their value. It is important to be self-aware and work towards a new perspective—you have just as much value as the person sitting next to you, now quit saying “sorry” so much and emanate that.
For RainFocus’ Elizabeth Langdon, she learned the value of women empowerment after being led by well-educated women as she started in the tech space. Langdon credits these women for encouraging those around them to make decisions based on their merit, not their gender. Langdon says this mindset has been a tool that allowed her to find success and she feels inclined to pay it forward.
“We need to stop thinking ‘what do I need to do as a woman,’ you have just as much value as the person next to you. Being male or female has nothing to do with your value to the company.” – Elizabeth Langon, Enterprise Sales Director at RainFocus
4. Continue to Learn the Industry
It seems like common sense that we should all aim to be lifelong learners in everything we do, but this becomes especially true in the workforce. Do whatever you can to learn something new each day. You become more valuable when you acquire more knowledge that others don’t have. You will also become a more efficient performer on the job with extensive knowledge of the industry.
The more Parker learns about the RainFocus Platform, the more confident and excited she feels about prospect conversations. She also finds that meetings go more smoothly because she has more ideas and can provide better demos.
When she was working with a prospect who had a very specific issue with their previous vendor, Parker was able to pull on her knowledge of this competitor and point out how the problem they were having would no longer be an issue with RainFocus. In the end, Parker’s knowledge of the industry is what led her to win their business.
“Learning as much as possible about other roles, functionality, product releases, competitors, and trends will always make you better in your current role, no matter what position you are in.” – Allison Parker
5. Networking is Key
You probably already know that building your network is crucial in any industry, but the tech industry is especially “small” and chances are you’ll meet someone new who will completely leverage your career down the road. Besides, building your network increases your net worth, so be friendly and develop those relationships!
Crosse likes to attend industry events to meet people from all verticals and connects with them on Linkedin. She understands that these contacts could lead to a warm introduction to a prospect. In the past, she has been successful in using professionals from her network to get herself in the door.
“This industry is very small and worlds collide when you least expect it, build your network.” – Gabriela Crosse
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
When it comes to the tech industry, you must be willing to challenge yourself, step outside of your comfort zone, and take risks. It will only hinder your success to be a creature of habit. Practice being open-minded and put yourself in environments that foster creative thinking.
How you decide to challenge yourself differs from person to person. It may be speaking your opinion in a meeting or taking the extra step to become an expert in a specific area. Irene became a prominent figure at RainFocus, winning some of our largest clients, because of her willingness to take risks.
“Do not be afraid to step outside of the box, be creative in your thinking, be open-minded to challenges and take more risks in your career.” – Irene Martynova, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at RainFocus
Women play a powerful role in the tech industry, so be proud of the career you have chosen. Take this advice to jumpstart your career, continue to break down barriers and help pave the way as the industry takes the world by storm. Just like the experts on the RainFocus sales team, you too can be the next great leader in tech.