Women in STEM: Finding Your Place When You May Feel Out of Place

Author: Heather L. Boisrond
July 2020

While women have increased their numbers in many male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, there is still work to be done. According to the Society of Women Engineers, only 13% of engineers are women, and of that minority number, 30% cited that their reason for leaving the profession was due to the organizational climate.

Despite persisting challenges to support gender equality within the technology industry (including the fact that in 70% of companies, less than 25% of technical roles are held by women), several organizations around the world have helped to lead the way in bridging the divide. The wholesale arm of Verizon, Verizon Partner Solutions (VPS), along with Verizon, is proud to be one of these chief voices in diversity and inclusion.

Over the years, Verizon and VPS have established numerous career development programs, employee resource groups and learning opportunities to help diversify the spectrum of talent around the organization. Verizon and VPS have also supported gender equality in roles across the business from entry level up through leadership positions. These efforts have in turn helped female employees learn more about themselves and their leadership style, while gaining new skills for personal and professional development across career areas, and have led to Verizon being honored as a top workplace for multicultural women. 

The results of initiatives like this speak volumes. For instance, a Women Tech Council survey across 90 countries showed that companies achieving up to 30% of female participation at senior leadership level, increased revenues by 15%. A study by Pipeline Equity identified that for every 10% increase in gender equity, businesses see a 1-2% increase in revenue, which can have a very large positive financial impact for many businesses. These facts and more have been previously outlined by VPS President Eric Cevis in a recent Capacity Media article. As VPS celebrates our diverse women in technology, we collected remarks from our team on their experiences in a STEM field, and asked them to offer up their advice to other women thinking about a career in Technology. This is part one of a three part series highlighting women throughout various Verizon business units.

Advice for Women in STEM

Want to break into the tech industry? According to VPS Product Manager/Developer Nancy Mayo who has worked in the field for nearly four decades, “Learn to be assertive, to speak up and speak confidently. Being direct improves communication and builds self-esteem. Be your own advocate and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. It’s ok to say that you do not know something. It's all part of the learning process.”

DMTS IT Project Manager Sue Mckenna adds, “It’s also important to seek out a mentor—whether male or female—who can act as a sounding board and provide career guidance along the way. Only you can make your dreams and goals happen, so you need to drive your own career!”  

As we dive further into the digital age, technology becomes increasingly important to almost all jobs, and thousands of companies across industries are relying on technology to power their business operations. But don’t let the abundance of technology and opportunity scare you—Sarah O’Grady, VPS Manager of Learning & Development, says, “Don’t think you need to know everything in order to work or succeed in technology. Just be curious and open to change and new ideas. Everything evolves so fast, and if you just jump in with an open mind, you will be fine and others will help you along the way.”

No matter the stage in your career, continue learning and share your knowledge with others. Customer Experience Program Lead Romina Ford notes, “It's important to not only get up to speed on the latest and greatest gadgets, software, or tech, but also to be aware of what's going on around you and be proactive in your tech community. As you share what you've learned with others, you may unravel underlying issues that cause secondary effects downstream, and that's when the fun begins. You can use that knowledge to devise a solution. An added bonus is that the people you included in your circles will be more inclined to reciprocation. You're not just solving one problem or commenting on a tech trend, you're promoting yourself as a leader who shares positivity while iterating collectively to dig deeper into core issues that you can help to solve.” 

If you’re looking for a career in this industry, go for it! Technology is key to the careers of the future and it needs more women participants, especially in engineering and technical roles. Thousands of companies are relying on technology to power their businesses, which is why the work we do around gender equality at VPS is so critical.

We hope you enjoyed the first edition of our series highlighting the amazing women of VPS and the important role women have in STEM. If you'd like further reading on what Verizon and others in the tech industry are doing to combat gender inequality, please check out the Global Leaders Forum's Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report.

 

Author: Heather L. Boisrond
July 2020

While women have increased their numbers in many male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, there is still work to be done. According to the Society of Women Engineers, only 13% of engineers are women, and of that minority number, 30% cited that their reason for leaving the profession was due to the organizational climate.

Despite persisting challenges to support gender equality within the technology industry (including the fact that in 70% of companies, less than 25% of technical roles are held by women), several organizations around the world have helped to lead the way in bridging the divide. The wholesale arm of Verizon, Verizon Partner Solutions (VPS), along with Verizon, is proud to be one of these chief voices in diversity and inclusion.

Over the years, Verizon and VPS have established numerous career development programs, employee resource groups and learning opportunities to help diversify the spectrum of talent around the organization. Verizon and VPS have also supported gender equality in roles across the business from entry level up through leadership positions. These efforts have in turn helped female employees learn more about themselves and their leadership style, while gaining new skills for personal and professional development across career areas, and have led to Verizon being honored as a top workplace for multicultural women. 

The results of initiatives like this speak volumes. For instance, a Women Tech Council survey across 90 countries showed that companies achieving up to 30% of female participation at senior leadership level, increased revenues by 15%. A study by Pipeline Equity identified that for every 10% increase in gender equity, businesses see a 1-2% increase in revenue, which can have a very large positive financial impact for many businesses. These facts and more have been previously outlined by VPS President Eric Cevis in a recent Capacity Media article. As VPS celebrates our diverse women in technology, we collected remarks from our team on their experiences in a STEM field, and asked them to offer up their advice to other women thinking about a career in Technology. This is part one of a three part series highlighting women throughout various Verizon business units.

Advice for Women in STEM

Want to break into the tech industry? According to VPS Product Manager/Developer Nancy Mayo who has worked in the field for nearly four decades, “Learn to be assertive, to speak up and speak confidently. Being direct improves communication and builds self-esteem. Be your own advocate and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. It’s ok to say that you do not know something. It's all part of the learning process.”

DMTS IT Project Manager Sue Mckenna adds, “It’s also important to seek out a mentor—whether male or female—who can act as a sounding board and provide career guidance along the way. Only you can make your dreams and goals happen, so you need to drive your own career!”  

As we dive further into the digital age, technology becomes increasingly important to almost all jobs, and thousands of companies across industries are relying on technology to power their business operations. But don’t let the abundance of technology and opportunity scare you—Sarah O’Grady, VPS Manager of Learning & Development, says, “Don’t think you need to know everything in order to work or succeed in technology. Just be curious and open to change and new ideas. Everything evolves so fast, and if you just jump in with an open mind, you will be fine and others will help you along the way.”

No matter the stage in your career, continue learning and share your knowledge with others. Customer Experience Program Lead Romina Ford notes, “It's important to not only get up to speed on the latest and greatest gadgets, software, or tech, but also to be aware of what's going on around you and be proactive in your tech community. As you share what you've learned with others, you may unravel underlying issues that cause secondary effects downstream, and that's when the fun begins. You can use that knowledge to devise a solution. An added bonus is that the people you included in your circles will be more inclined to reciprocation. You're not just solving one problem or commenting on a tech trend, you're promoting yourself as a leader who shares positivity while iterating collectively to dig deeper into core issues that you can help to solve.” 

If you’re looking for a career in this industry, go for it! Technology is key to the careers of the future and it needs more women participants, especially in engineering and technical roles. Thousands of companies are relying on technology to power their businesses, which is why the work we do around gender equality at VPS is so critical.

We hope you enjoyed the first edition of our series highlighting the amazing women of VPS and the important role women have in STEM. If you'd like further reading on what Verizon and others in the tech industry are doing to combat gender inequality, please check out the Global Leaders Forum's Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report.