#IWD #ChooseToChallenge #StradigiAI
Join Stradigi AI in celebrating all the women and girls impacting the world in many different ways. Our approach in talking about today’s International Women’s Day is to share inspiring advice, takeaways & tips that make up the future workforce following us into leadership roles.
Why Today is Important to Us
We’re a technology-focused AI platform company that has talented women leading in all aspects of our business. Our Research, User Experience, Strategic Initiatives, Commercial Operations and HR teams, are all led by women who are building and shaping the future of our company and its employees everyday. This is something we are deeply proud of, but we also recognize this is not always the standard in our society and our world. International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to talk to women, girls and other businesses about our stories which we hope will inspire change and progress in the world around equality and diversity.
There is a great UN overview around International Women’s Day that lays out the importance of having women at the table in key conversations and leadership roles. This actually goes beyond inclusion and diversity. In the past year, we have witnessed movements and discussions that break down the lines between gender, race and time to a place where equality has reached the surface for everyone. Women have had central roles in shaping the past and future of Science, Politics, Medicine, the Arts, Education, Business and society as mothers, caregivers and friends – this celebration continues.
3 Takeaways & Tips for Women on the Path to Success
We had several discussions among the women across the Stradigi AI family to see if they could provide some insights and tips into how they have succeeded in their work and personal lives. Here are 3 areas that consistently came up:
1. Be Bold, Take Risks
Takeaway: Depending on the generation you grew up in, the norms in society vary. In a recent CNBC article, it stated, “Women in the U.S. make up nearly half of the entry-level workforce, but comprise only a fifth of the C-suite. Yet any assumption that this scarcity at the top is due to a lack of ambition is simply wrong, according to CNBC and SurveyMonkey’s new Women at Work survey. Today, nearly 60% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees are awarded to women, suggesting there is no shortage of qualified women entering the pipeline. But when faced with unconscious bias and limited workplace support, making it to the top can seem like an out-of-reach goal, even for the most ambitious women.”
Tip: Step outside your comfort zone. Playing outside your comfort zone is where you grow and learn. Maybe you don’t feel qualified to apply to a certain job, but do it anyway knowing you have the capacity and capability deep down to learn and figure it out. It’s in these “discomfort zones” (or more bold, risky areas) that we collectively find strength and knowledge. Locate mentors, people that have been where you want to go and learn from them. Or, become one yourself at any age like Sweden’s Greta Thunberg on climate change. There will always be certain norms or expectations on roles. Realizing you are free to go outside of those to get to the next level, opens doors of opportunity. The CNBC article mentioned above further adds, “As a member of Paradigm for Parity, a coalition of business leaders who are dedicated to closing the gender gap in corporate America by 2030, Doyle explains that retaining and promoting female talent is more than just a diversity issue. According to McKinsey & Company data, it’s also a critical business issue: $4.3 trillion can be added to the country’s economy if gender parity is reached by 2025.”
2. Step into the Light
Takeaway: Whether you’re an engineer, accountant, grocery clerk or mechanic, there will be times you know the truth, or or have the answer. Stepping forward into the light to share your views and expertise is a privilege we have been given. As women take on new and different roles, it’s an honor to support one another on this journey.
Tip: Find opportunities and don’t hold back. We have the chance to support one another as women in leadership roles. There’s never been a greater time than today to use the range of skill sets we have mentally, physically and emotionally to let others shine on their path to success.
3. Surprise Everyone
Takeaway: There are industries still not as populated with women as others. Technology, Manufacturing and Industrial markets are long-running examples (and improving). There are others where you see women taking key roles in Technology and the Space industry’s Gwynne Shotwell at SpaceX as well as Space.com mentioning the first human on Mars could be a woman. It’s never been about having perfect equality, it’s about putting people (men or women) in roles that quite simply do a great job. Women have never wanted to be handed something because they are a woman, it’s because they were the best person for the job or task. We have watched this evolution and witnessed it recently in the nomination of Kamala Harris as Vice President in the U.S.
Tip: Women have choices and options. Part of updating perceptions will come through the decisions young girls and women make about the career and life paths they pursue. As we grow our knowledge and expertise in key areas, we may very well be the one presenting in a meeting or on a stage. We may be one leading a project, a company, an initiative. Additionally, we will have the confidence to do so with great role models in front of us. The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) states that, “science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields should be open to all. Yet, across the US, there is a lack of gender diversity in STEM fields.” As young girls go deeper into critical thinking and curriculums that encourage career diversity, we will likely see more and more females create their own unique paths.
Closing Words of Wisdom from a few Women at Stradigi AI
Carolina Bessega, CSO & Co-Founder
“My three pieces of advice to future female leaders.
- Leadership is about seeing the potential in others and making them shine. We, women, are one step ahead; we have the intrinsic ability to be empathic and discover others’ potential. Let’s use these qualities along with our knowledge and passion for being better leaders.
- In a competitive environment, you need to be bold; you need to speak up and demonstrate your value. This is not about bragging or being egocentric. It is about getting fair recognition for the value you are adding to your job.
- Believe in yourself; if you are sure about something, say it and defend it.”
Christelle Naudet, Director of Commercial Operations
“Throughout my career, I had the chance to have amazing female leaders as mentors who guided me along the way and from whom I learned extremely valuable lessons:
- Never be afraid to mention your aspirations and ambition. We tend to believe, especially when we enter the workforce, that by doing our job well we will automatically get the promotion that goes with it. Unfortunately it is not always the case. Believe in yourself and be vocal about your career goals! If you don’t speak up, you might not get it!
- Sometimes you will be the only female in meetings, it does not make your opinions and recommendations less valuable, do not be afraid to contribute!
- In all new positions there are things we need to learn, do not feel like an imposter because of that, be patient, take the time to learn and you will surprise yourself how fast you will be ready to take on new challenges!”
Pamela Rasey, Director of Strategic Initiatives
“We are fortunate to be living in a time where girls, and women, do have a voice. I have been in the technology world long enough to have watched both technologies and companies pass through chasms and tornados with success. Back in the day, there weren’t always many women in the room or, sitting at tables; this has changed. I used to get asked if I was there to take notes and often I was the one giving the actual presentation. Here’s to all the young girls thinking of going into technology, science, math, medicine, and more to help create a better world. Always be a lifelong learner, stay curious, become a good listener and follow your passion.”
Amy Pollock, Head of Talent & Culture
- Young girls should always be encouraged to dream big because truly anything is possible regardless of one’s sex.
- When someone tells you that you can’t do something because you are a female, prove them wrong.
- The world is at a pivotal moment of change when it comes to women in business, at home, government, sports and the arts. We need to nurture this change and embrace it so that all future young women do not have the same societal issues that we had/have faced.
- Be the woman who encourages the growth, success and development of other women.
Sylvie Lachize, Director of CX/UX Design
“I’ve been conducting user research for more than twenty years. I have often witnessed women rank their abilities with technology lower than men… and yet, I have consistently seen the same women outperform the men on objective measures such as task success rate. When I catch myself shying away from something I don’t think I master perfectly, I think about this tendency. As women, we can collectively do a lot more than we allow ourselves to attempt. So today, I’m proposing that we all pick something that we believe we are not so good at doing… and do it anyway! May it be the start of a movement to dare and surprise ourselves each and every day!”