At the Women in Tech conference, the profound impact of women in leadership roles was on full display, as inspiring women from diverse backgrounds shared their experiences and insights. These trailblazers have shattered glass ceilings, driving innovation and equality in the tech industry. Their stories underscored the undeniable importance of fostering gender diversity in leadership, not only for a more equitable workplace but also for the exponential growth and innovation that results from diverse perspectives. The conference served as a powerful reminder of the incredible contributions women make when given the opportunity to lead, reinforcing the imperative of continued support for their ascension to influential positions in the technology sector and beyond.
The Importance of Support & Allyship
The day before attending the Women in Tech Conference in Boston, I thought about what I might learn there. I was nervous the technical jargon might go over my head, or I may feel out of place as I am a Technical Recruiter, not a CIO or Software Engineering Manager.
From the first speaker, I quickly realized my worries were unfounded. Yes, digital transformation and, of course, Artificial Intelligence were hot topics of conversation, how could they not be? However, the overarching theme and the sentiment were not technical in nature at all. It was a sense of community, a sense of empowerment, and a whole new perspective on the value of feminine energy and women leaders in the workplace.
I joined a male-dominated industry and company directly out of college and have not had the opportunity to have many female role models in my life, but I have always considered myself an equal. I have never felt outwardly discriminated against or even any different than my male peers. However, I have realized that sometimes, even with the best intentions, we can inadvertently perpetuate biases or inequities. I made a commitment to not only be an advocate for women but also to actively mentor and support them.
Many women talked about their journeys. They spoke about being one of few women in their university programs, the first woman in their company, the only woman on the executive board, or one of few with a seat at the table. This gave me perspective on both the challenges and privileges that I have had in my own journey and the great responsibility that I have as a female leader.
These women leaders talked about how they achieved the career of their dreams while also maintaining their own authentic selves and leadership styles. They spoke about the valuable balance between feminine and masculine energies and the necessity of both. This inspired me to not only learn from the people around me but also to be comfortable creating my own leadership style.
Finally, a man (yes, that’s right, a man) provided data to show how women leaders statistically build better teams. Not only do they lead more high-performing teams, but female leaders rank better than male leaders in the following categories: honesty/integrity, mentorship, developing others, building relationships, championing change, collaboration, teamwork, motivating others, authenticity, self-awareness, social perceptiveness, and compassion. However, he noted that women rate themselves lower than men do in many of these categories when asked to self-assess. This helped me understand the importance of recognizing and promoting the strengths female leaders bring to the workplace, self-included.