International Women’s Day was officially celebrated earlier this month, but I received such an overwhelmingly positive response to my initial outreach to the Chief network, that one post just wasn’t enough. I would be remiss if I didn’t share all of the fantastic insights, advice, and personal stories that came my way!
This is the second in a three-part series featuring several of the fantastic leaders in the Chief network. While the first post highlighted how these fellow members were recognizing #IWD2022, this second post is brimming with mantras. Yes, the go-to-phrases that these powerhouses repeat in their heads. The words they turn to when they’re feeling discouraged, or simply need a boost. And, the statements that they use to lift up others.
One of my favorite mantras regarding raising up other women in technology is, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” If you’ve heard me speak on a panel, chat with others at a networking event or even met me for coffee, chances are this phrase has come up! There’s so much power behind these words. They drive me to break barriers whenever possible, and to boost the voices of others who may be underrepresented so they too can be the example for the next generation.
Be sure to follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter to be in the loop when we launch the next post in the series. And while you’re at it, be sure to follow all of the amazing women below (their profiles are linked!).
Do you have a favorite or go-to phrase that drives your work around supporting fellow women in tech? I asked my CHIEF network to share their mantras, and here’s what they told me…
Asha Aravindakshan, VP, Operations at Sprinklr
Many junior women in technology want to understand how strategic decisions are made around a company’s mission or resources. So when they come to me with a challenge, I use the common phrase, “Let’s demystify the process.” I can help them to connect the dots of behind-the-scenes action, so they have better situational awareness moving forward.
Yuying Chen-Wyn, Chief Product Officer at Barnes & Noble Education, Inc.
My two current ones are, “Call a duck a duck” and “Show the ugly.” This refers to being direct about problems or issues we’re facing and not trying to gloss over it and make it sound nicer. Women definitely try to be too nice at work. Luckily in tech being direct is actually appreciated so this is how I encourage everyone to just say what they mean.
Aravinda Gollapudi, Technology Executive at Sage
There are a few, but I specifically like, “Dare to be different.” Women in technology face challenges with managing their personal brand, getting comfortable speaking about their accomplishments, being deliberate about networking, and learning to stay visible. Their approach to solving problems is also vastly different, but is important as it provides diverse thinking. This requires them to gain the confidence in being different.
Rebecca Hughes, VP of Supplier Product Experience at AvidXchange, Inc.
One of my favorite phrases is, “Be the kind of woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world that it was crooked,” by Leslie Littlejohn. It’s such a simple but powerful concept, and how often in the technology space where women are outnumbered while the business is so competitive, that there comes these opportunities to help each other shine. Positively, brightly, intelligently, with our best foot forward—together.
Anu Mandapati, VP, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Talking Talent
I am inspired by Rupi Kaur’s poem Legacy. “I stand on the sacrifices of a million women before me thinking what can I do to make this mountain taller so the women after me can see farther.”
Ishita Majumdar, VP, Data Analytics Platforms at eBay
I greatly value authenticity and believe Michelle Obama said it best, “Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”
Shuchi Mittal, VP, Digital Transformation Platform at Fiserv
“Be the change you want to see in the world” has been my mantra for life. As a technologist, I have found myself to be the only woman at the table many times. I have encouraged, supported, and mentored women throughout my career to step up in technology roles and take the lead. I am happy to say that I share the table with some amazing women in my organization.
Edwige Robinson, SVP, Central Region, Networking Engineering and Operations at T-Mobile
I love the quote by Shaherose Charania, Co-Founder and CEO of Women 2.0, “Women no longer have an ‘if I can’ mindset. Now it’s more about ‘how I can.’” I love it because it gives us our power back. It is about one shift forward at the time. Women in tech are by nature innovators. We ask ourselves daily, “how I can” with respect to our work. Now we need to use that same lens and apply that skill set to our personal lives. This is how we move forward positively.
Caryne Say, VP, B2B Marketing at The Knot Worldwide
One thing working in tech has taught me about leadership and support is that to take care of others, we need to start by taking care of ourselves first. Whatever is going on with us impacts whatever is going on with the team. We can’t share with others a resource that we ourselves lack. And so, “to lead and support others effectively, we need to lead ourselves and prioritize self-care above all else.”
Christina Shareef, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Reddit
My favorite phrase is, “Vibe outside your tribe” which magnifies the idea that each of us—every one of us—has ample opportunities to learn from, engage with, and support someone who is different from us. If we intentionally build relationships with people that are outside of our immediate purview, then we exponentially increase the chances that we will create access to jobs, projects, and other opportunities that we wouldn’t have done otherwise if we did not make an effort to increase our network. We can’t raise other women up if we don’t know them. Vibe outside your tribe and get to know new people.