This month we had a great time hosting an engaging panel discussion entitled Promoting Women in Tech: Shifting the dynamic. For this event, women in different roles at Atlassian ecosystem vendors shared their stories and practical advice for how to break into the tech field.
Panelists in the conversation included:
- Danica Arthur-Asante, Developer at Adaptavist
- Janette Hagerlund, COO at Refined
- Alexandra Fuentes, VP Operations at Appfire
- Guðrún Fema Ólafsdóttir, Partner Account Executive at Tempo
- Anke Viehweger, Business Lead at Yasoon
- Sherry Yang, Senior Software Engineer at Adaptavist
The event followed the similarly styled panel discussion entitled Promoting Women in Tech: Are We There Yet?, which Tempo hosted in December 2020. Colette Dill-Lerner, CMO at Tempo and operating partner at Diversis, moderated the discussion.
Some of the questions included:
- What is one advantage that has been in your career that would be beneficial to other women in tech?
- Have you ever experienced impostor syndrome? Why is it so prevalent for women to think they are not capable?
- How does intersectionality impact your choices and what are some ways that companies can think about identity beyond just gender and racial identity and sexual identity?
- What are some policies that you’ve seen or you would like to see that promote diversity and inclusion?
- What about the toxicity that can happen within a company culture? How do women manage it when they run into these situations?
- How have you dealt with gender-coded language, and how have you thought about it?
- What do you look for that provides the best opportunities for success in a company? Is it policies, is it language...?
Excerpts from the conversation
Dill-Lerner noted that it’s common for women to suffer from imposter syndrome, and asked whether panelists had any experience with it. Some panelists had it, but had managed to come to terms with it positively:
“I believe everyone suffers from it,” Yang commented. “It’s something that everyone has to overcome in their career one way or another… Through networking and meetups and community connection, I realized it was actually a common thing so I started to normalize my anxiety and look at it in a positive way.”
More than one panelist mentioned the importance of women having confidence in themselves and their abilities, while recognizing that it’s not at all unusual to feel insecure. Say out loud that you can do it, Viehweger advised, and don’t listen to that tiny voice in your head.
Among the many topics that were touched on, Fuentes and Ólafsdóttir both addressed how girls are raised as an important factor: they are encouraged to be careful and not get hurt or take risks. Panelists also discussed different facets of diversity and what policies they would like to see put in place.
“We talk about team fit and not cultural fit,” Hagerlund said. “With cultural fit, you often have a bros-drinking-beers-together type of situation, which we’re definitely not aiming for.
Another topic included the interview process at tech companies.
“During an interview, we ask ourselves ‘Do they think I’m good enough, a fraud, do they like me?’,” Arthur-Asante noted. “Tell yourself that it works both ways: ‘Do they value my time? Will they treat me in the same way? Is it a place I want to work for?’”
So what next?
We hope you feel very motivated to act. Here are some ideas of what you can do to have an impact, either within your organization or for your own development:
- Reach out to HR to understand what they are doing to be inclusive in job listings
- Check your organization’s policies regarding gender equality and inclusion
- Avoid toxic environments and speak up when you are feeling uncomfortable.
- Ask in job interviews about gender equality and inclusion policies as well as about the company’s values
- Ask whether your company has data around gender in the company
Watch the recording
There was lots more thought-provoking discussion. To listen to the full conversation, watch the recording.