Women in tech are often held up as a more feminist role model than their male colleagues, and for good reason: As leaders in tech, they are often the primary exponents of IT solutions that are faster and more reliable, more efficient and more accessible to users.
Women in tech are frequently advised to avoid speaking to the press, or at least avoid being too public in a public forum. If you have questions about any aspect of your career, be sure to consult with a professional in-office, because talking to the press is going to be the least efficient use of your time, and one that can have negative effects on your career (such as wasting time, getting misinterpreted, making yourself appear less desirable). However, there are some exceptions to this rule. I recently had the opportunity to chat with half a dozen women in tech about their experiences and advice for women who are considering starting a tech company, whether it’s one you own or part of a larger venture capital firm.
Here’s what they had to say:
To the women in tech I am so lucky to know, regardless of which company they work for, I can confidently say you are amazing. You’ve found what you’re passionate about and you’re running with it! I hope I can help you take that next step!
To those of you who are young (and talented), and I know many of you are, don’t let anyone tell you your dream is out of reach. There are countless opportunities out there, whether it’s going to a pitch event at a bank or working on your technical skills to grow the business of your company. Trust me, your dream is possible.
So what are you waiting for? Why not start exploring the world of tech and get to work?
Worried about a gender imbalance in your startup? Make your people far more diverse by (for instance) opening all gender- and race-balanced roles and asking people to lead and communicate with different cultural backgrounds. If your company truly believes in transparency, it should match these needs as well and report their efforts on its Equity Women of Silicon Valley page.
Many of my female friends tell me they are now female founders because they were a founder first and a woman second. Why? Because they realized that a female founder didn’t need to wait around for a female founder to come to her.
I can’t say how many women I have met over the past year who also experienced the same things I have with my career, and their stories echo my own: waiting around for a male CEO to “drop by.”
Which brings me to my final point…
There are so many people to thank.
And all I have to do is just call them, right?
It’s tough being a woman in a male-dominated field.
I never wanted to be a CEO or a manager, and now, that I am, I understand that in order to do what needs to be done in the world, we have to collaborate and play by the same rules.
If you see that you need to break away from a male-dominated environment, my best advice is to stay in your comfort zone, put your own internal compass to use, and realize that changing is not a choice, it’s a necessity.
It’s just like when a boxer first discovers the secrets of the sparring bag. He will often run to a gym or training room to meet the resistance he receives from others and his training alone will not prepare him to go against the main man. If he keeps hoping that someone will come by to share their secrets, he’ll remain another notch under his belt.
I believe that within every woman is the potential to be a successful boss. The key is to surround yourself with those people who share the same goals as you. In other words, put yourself in the same space.
If a person will not contribute their creative talents to the project, remove him or her.