Mentoring Women in Tech
I have had the good fortune to spend time with amazing accomplished female technologists in the past week, and I wanted to share some of their insights.
Last week, I was at the 2nd Anita Borg Institute’s NYC networking event and like the first event (I did not attend, but my colleague did and loved it) it was a great opportunity to be with women in technology who were at both the beginning and mid of their careers and really interesting in both mentoring others AND smartly networking.
The keynote speaker Professor Deborah Estrin of Cornell Tech NYC spoke of her wide and varied career in academic and research centers. She spoke of the nagging self doubt she’d often feel and of the self consciousness of being a woman. Her advice: be aware of it – but push through and don’t let it hold you back. Like Lorinda Brandon of Smartbear Software, she recently told a group of over 80 of our students “raise your hand.” Be the one in the group that is willing to try things out whether that is a project, a new initiative or an assignment that is ambiguous but might prove interesting.
There is a lot of talk and advice about women in technology these days — good and important conversations. I am starting to develop an opinion that the most important thing we can do is have mentors for our female technologists. And through the mentoring, acknowledge that trailblazers can often feel self doubt. When you are one of only a few women in the department or unit — it feels weird. Acknowledge it and move past it. Quickly.
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