It’s Women’s History Month, and at InterWorks, we have so much to celebrate. The women of InterWorks are some of the most brilliant, thoughtful and kick-ass colleagues I have ever had the pleasure to know. To support our team and the communities they represent, we honor these ladies and their impact on tech.
In advance of International Women’s Day, we asked the women of InterWorks to share their thoughts, from their hopes for the industry, insights around work-life balance, challenges unique to women, and everything in between! Here is what they said.
On Being a Working Mother
Stefanie Niemzok | Analytics Consultant
“Being a mom in tech is exciting and satisfying but comes also with its frustrations. Working in tech has many challenges – I love problem solving and finding solutions. On the other hand, there is a little one at home, cheering me on but with a whole set of new challenges! Finding the right balance can sometimes be difficult and as a mom you’re forced to shut down the laptop when the hours are done. But I find my family and tech job bring great balance and happiness to my life.”
Brittany Dunn | Partner Marketing Manager
“Most of my approach to using my voice is informed by thinking about my kids. If I don’t fight to change something now, what are my girls going to be up against in the workplace when they’re my age? What steps am I not taking today that may affect them in the future? What should I do today that will make things better for them later? These are the questions I have to ask myself when I’m struggling to find or use my voice.”
Note: Read more about Brittany’s journey of empowerment in her blog about being a working mom.
Beth Kairys | Analytics Consultant
“I love the sector but battled impostor syndrome and a whack of subtle discrimination from my role as a woman, and as a mum! I love busting myths about women in tech and technical women, surrounding myself with amazing women I can learn from and mentor, and pushing organisations to better support parents (behind the dads working long hours are the mums picking up the kids!). One of the things I love most about InterWorks is the super support I get, so I can be a parent and a person, as well as a worker, and the backing to lean into what I’m passionate about and run things like our DataWomen group with my amazing colleagues.”
On Being a Woman in the Tech Industry
Wendy Orpwood | Operations Manager
“When I first finished university, I was looking for jobs in engineering. I had just got engaged and was all positive about going out into the workplace. I was surprised to find that, at the time, I was discriminated against for being female and for wearing an engagement ring. I even had one company ask me about my ring and when I was going to have children! Eventually, I was a well-established, self-taught Project Manager in IT when I became pregnant. It can be challenging having a job and being a mum as well, but it is rewarding. It makes you prioritise your work and have much more drive and focus. Overall I would say don’t give up if people push you back. Having a strong mindset got me through rejections in my early career. Push for the job that suits you! Believe in what makes you happy!”
Kendra Allenspach | Analytics Consultant
“I never imagined myself to be a woman in technology, but I am so grateful that I found my way here. I think being a woman in this field provides a lot of benefits: we bring empathy, compassion and communication to an industry that can be very black and white, true or false. I have found that being able to serve as a ‘translator’ between various groups of stakeholders is one of my not-so-hidden strengths, and that my ability to relate to people on a personal level, beyond just the data, leads to better work and outcomes. If you are a young woman who wants to explore a career in tech, or someone experienced in the workforce looking to make a transition, don’t hesitate! There is so much opportunity here, and the community of women continues to grow and support one another from the inside out.”
Above: Kirsten, Pam, Courtney and Ashley at the 2019 InterWorks Summit
Azucena Coronel | Data Engineer
“I recently learned that when choosing a career, some women just don’t think that maths and science careers are an option for them, though later in life they realize they love data and are more than capable. So here are a couple of thoughts for my future and current colleagues:
- Changing careers? This is perfectly fine. Every moment is an opportunity to change it all, and you shouldn’t feel constrained by what you studied. Just go for it!
- For us ladies already in the data realm, let us be seen and embrace our passion for data and tech – not only in professional networks but also as young people choosing their careers. Children should understand that in the world there are policemen, veterinarians and teachers, yes, but also analytics consultants, software programmers and data engineers!”
Chelsea Morgan | Experience Designer
“I think there is a stereotype that needs to be broken that women don’t fit or have a place in the data/tech/analytics world. Ruth Bader Ginsberg put it best when she said, “Women belong in all places that decisions are being made.” This doesn’t just apply to positions of political power, although those are crucial as well; it applies to every industry. Women are creative, intelligent, and have so much to offer to any industry, tech and data included. I am thankful to work at InterWorks, where I get to see this stereotype being broken daily by women who are kick-ass data engineers, architects and analytics team leads (just to name a few). This is my hope for every field moving forward—that women are afforded the same opportunity as men to break into any industry they want to and find success.”
“I think being a woman in this field provides a lot of benefits: we bring empathy, compassion and communication to an industry that can be very black and white, true or false.” – Kendra Allenspach
Vicky Lockett | EMEA Marketing Manager
“As controversial as it may sound, not once have I felt that being a woman in tech has thwarted any chance that I have had to succeed. I think back to all of the large data conferences I have attended, and no one has ever made me feel less than worthy of being in attendance or having a voice. I admire everyone who is involved in bringing data to the fore, but I don’t mark their success by their gender or give them extra credit because of this. That is what makes data great: it is gender-neutral and anyone and everyone who works with it and produces great insight should be acknowledged.”
Teresa Corder | Procurement Lead
“As a woman in tech since 1995, I have pretty much seen it all. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned is to know your worth! But take the PTO, enjoy a good lunch with friends and have a full family life. This will keep you balanced and able to focus. LIVE BIG, be YOU, make your MARK, and stand STRONG!”
On InterWorks Culture and Female Support
Sarah Dorfman | Analytics Consultant
On mentorship from female leaders: “I think to ensure we see more women in tech, especially those who want to make a career shift, hiring managers should see beyond immediate skillsets and see the person – their hunger to learn and grow and how their experiences can enhance your team. Plus, there is no better way to learn SQL or any programming language than on the job! I am forever grateful to my managers who saw my potential and hunger to learn, and I felt even more empowered learning under two brilliant women.”
Above: Ashley, Sarah and Kendra meet up in San Jose, CA.
Tamra Henington | AR/AP Clerk
“Over the past year, I could talk about a million ways InterWorks has felt like FAMILY. I mean, what do you want to know about working from home with tiny humans? InterWorks goes above and beyond in every aspect – they know time away from work is just as important as the work itself.”
Andrea Dahlmann | Office Manager
“My experience working at InterWorks is that the women I’ve been working with maintain very mindful contact. It is the combination of respect as a colleague and ,at the same time, an interest in the person themselves. We try to give each other support for both. This gave a very helpful and solid base for facing the pandemic of the last few months. Let’s keep going like this!”
Empower Yourself, Empower Others
Empowered women empower women, right? So if you find yourself in a position where you can lift others up, do so with gusto! We have some unique opportunities ahead of us to make this world (this workplace, this home, this community) where there’s a seat at the table for everyone.
In the meantime, explore some of our other content honoring women!
- Celebrating the Women of InterWorks
- International Women’s Day: Content Roundup
- International Women’s Day: Women We Admire
- DataWomen and Data Friends – Thriving in Data
- PYD90 – Women in Tech
- Women in Tech Spotlight: Analytics Consultant
- Women in Tech Spotlight: Global Marketing Manager
- Women in Tech Spotlight: Project Coordinator