International Women’s Day: Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in Tech

Posted by on March 06, 2020

International Women's Day

Today, women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the United States, but they hold only 25 percent of computing roles, according to a report from National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). We can do better! This International Women’s Day, we seek to empower and encourage young women and girls to change double, even triple, that percentage in the next few years across the tech industry.

We interviewed some of our amazing women in leadership that reside right here at Cherwell, to learn more about the experiences, skills, and advice they have to inspire young women to get involved in STEM and business. Discover what some of our role models have to share below for other women in technology! 

Advice for Success

“Have confidence in yourself, and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Speak up with well-thought ideas and challenges, but also be mindful to listen to and learn from opposing viewpoints. Also, get a mentor, and become a mentor.” –Suzy Herndon, VP of Pricing.


“Find a mentor and work with him or her throughout your career…. Getting another point of view from someone who has experience or insight is critically important as you grow your career. Establishing your professional goals, understanding what you want to learn from the mentorship is a key step in achieving your professional goals. The mentee that has goals in mind, sets the agenda, and facilitates the meetings are the mentor/mentee relationships that are very successful.” –Jean Patrick, Chief Transformation Officer.


“Celebrating International Women’s Day is one piece of promoting a global culture that honors and respects all people. Whether in technology or any other field, there are so many amazing things in the world professionally. My advice is to remain curious, open, and to enjoy the work. Figure out what connects to your purpose and let that momentum fuel your success.” –Ann Boyd, VP of Corporate Communications.


“My advice would be to commit to doing what you love, to what you are most passionate about, to what gets you up in the morning. It would be to believe in yourself and never be afraid to make a mistake or to fail—you will learn far more from mistakes than from successes. Take responsibility for finding a solution and not an excuse. Be present, sign up, and pay close attention to the things that will matter to you in five years. Remember people matter the most! Be excited about opportunities and never feel intimidated.  Give thanks often.” –Carrie Cornella, VP of Customer Experience.


Women in Tech

“Technology is just one aspect of being in the technology field. The other aspects of being female in a male-dominated career is being a good problem solver and having a strong work ethic. You could be an excellent coder or computer scientist but having that passion for problem solving will help you get through those stressful situations.” –Lori Marshall, VP of Product.


 “I often hear young women not pursue careers in technology because they don’t like coding. Women should understand that coding is but a tiny part of the technology landscape and there are infinite opportunities to work in technology, including marketing, analysis, design, and business. A career in technology can take you anywhere. It can be a great way to travel the world as well as a great entry point into a variety of other careers.” –Penelope Feros, VP of APAC Sales.


 “Look outside the box—in technology in particular, we are used to hearing that we should think outside the box, but for women looking to develop their leadership skills, I would suggest something additional: look outside the box. Looking outside the box is about being aware of what is going on in all the boxes around you. Most leadership positions involve people, processes, and influence across many parts of the company. The more you know about how your company works, the better your position to make a difference. Looking outside the box positions you to become a meaningful contributor to your company’s most important goals and helps others naturally see you as a leader. And as an extra piece of advice, don’t get caught up in the rumor mill.” –Helen Duckett, VP of Delivery Ops.

“Don't be afraid to go into technology areas that you don't know much about—these opportunities either help you grow or clear a path for you to find your true passion areas.” –Tina Zimmerman, VP of Solution Engineering.


Skills and Experience

“Communication, communication, and communication! As part of developing your talent in math, science, and technology, become an excellent writer, presenter, and public speaker…even if it’s uncomfortable. The world is your oyster for young women interested in technology fields. From global enterprises to start-ups, the technology world is clamoring to find talented women and, once they find them, the truly want them to succeed. The path to getting that first opportunity and then driving your career…be able to clearly and confidently convey your ideas in a calm and articulate manner, become an expert in using communications to bring people with differing ideas together (not as easy as it sounds), and, learn to really have fun sharing your knowledge with others. Spend as much time developing interpersonal and presentation skills as you do on your technical area of expertise and you’ll be at the top of your chosen profession before you know it.” –Alison Alfers, General Counsel.

“Don’t ever lose YOUR ‘why.’ In technology things change—constantly. We adjust. We need to learn how to adjust who we are working with, what we are trying to achieve, where we are working, and who we are working with and even why the work matters to the company. But, keep  focus on your personal WHY. Keep the big picture in mind—whether it be to learn new skills, balance your family and work life, take on a new leadership challenge. The personal why will shift (and it needs to over your career)—but always take time to think thru your personal WHY and build your career around it.” –Kim Osoba, Director of Talent Management.


Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s all work together to close the gender gap across software engineering, computer science, technology fields, and business. If you want to learn more about building a career focused on professional development and mentorship, visit our careers page to see our current openings.

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