The Many Facets and Faces of Women in Technology

Author: Heather L. Boisrond
Publish Date: 08/10/20

Technology is the basis of everything. It allows for and almost always requires futuristic thinking, challenges today's beliefs and is always solving a problem no matter how big or small.

-- Susan Davey, Marketing Manager, Verizon

Verizon has been making leaps toward combating gender inequality through the Verizon work culture and we’re proud of the work our team has done to put us in a position to talk about why women in technology are so critical to achieving the goal of attaining a well-rounded and balanced business perspective as we continue to shape a better world. 

In the last few years, Verizon has implemented multiple initiatives—such as the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees (WAVE)—which is one of multiple Employee Resource Groups meant to improve work around the 4Cs – career, customer, community and culture – through training, networking, mentoring, collaboration and volunteering.These initiatives helped Verizon get to a point where 59.3% of employees, and 4 out of 9 board members, are women or people of color. Over the last 10 years, Verizon has spent $50B with diverse suppliers, and has 100% pay equity in salary for its employees both women and men. 

These strides have not gone unrecognized. After being named a top place to work for women executives, working mothers and multicultural women, we wanted to provide some further insights into what it means to be a woman in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), field and what kind of opportunities are out there.

STEM offers an abundance of opportunities that most people don’t anticipate and working in technology does not always require your degree major to be Engineering or for someone to have an affinity for AI (Artificial Intelligence). Sometimes working in technology just means getting the best technology and technology support in the hands of the people who need it most. Technology has been helping the world move forward since the invention of the wheel, all the way to the onset of machine learning and the 4th Industrial Revolution, and we don’t plan on stopping there. 

Although the engineers, product designers and technicians innovate and develop the technology, without marketers and business managers, that technology could fall on deaf ears. This integral part of STEM requires a different skillset, but leverages technology and data just like the rest. Marketers and business managers still find themselves utilizing data analysis, communication, creativity, and problem solving to meet the demands of the modern consumer. 

Beyond a STEM overview and details about VPS career development programs and accolades, we wanted to show you what a career in tech could look like and how you could get there, even if you don’t want to learn a programming language. After asking several of our key company leaders in marketing and arts roles to remark on their experiences in the technology industry, here is what they had to say.

Tools and Resources

If you’re thinking about a career in the industry, find an area of the field that you are motivated to dive deep into, and commit yourself to that pursuit. Sherry Sandoval, a VPS business manager with over 30 years in tech, says that it is important to seek out interpersonal relationships and when completing tasks or studying material, and you should ask yourself questions like:

  • •What does the market need and how does this field impact other areas? 
  • •How does this build my expertise and understanding?
  • •Which resources or individuals can I look to for guidance and support?
  •      

There are many degrees that can help you break into the tech industry but often to go the extra mile you’ll need to develop your skills and aptitude for tech with hands-on experience, industry insights through reports and participation in groups like STEM clubs. 

With 28 years of tech experience, Verizon Partner Solutions’ Sophia Eyassu shares this top piece of advice, “Find a mentor or role model in a technology field. Watch, listen, and learn from them. Then, leverage those relationships to enhance your confidence, as well as your personal brand.”

Once you are set on the tech industry and want to progress, Susan Fox, a VPS marketing manager with 36 years of experience in tech, says “Look at joining an industry group or Employee Resource Group (ERG) like those Verizon offers to its employees.”  Susan also suggests having candid discussions with your supervisor to explore ways you can exceed expectations and showcase your talents to the widest possible audience.

Creativity and Standing Out

There is a lot of outside the box thinking involved when creating marketing or sales plans in order to get your technology in the hands of the right audience. This may involve design, copywriting, strategy, event support and much more. When doing these marketing tasks, you’ll find yourself leveraging technology to elevate your campaigns and ideas. 

If you’re looking for a career in this industry, go for it! As Saida Ruscitto, VPS’ Marketing Director of Global Networks notes, “Technology is key to the careers of the future and it needs many more women participants. We live more and more in the digital age, so technology is important in all jobs. Thousands of companies across industries are relying on technology to power their business operations.”

Krissy Sasso, VPS Marketing Manager offers, “If you want to stand out as a woman in the technology industry you need to be confident in your skills, don't be afraid to challenge yourself and others, step outside of your comfort zone and speak up because you deserve a voice.”

Build and Apply Your Skill Set

Don’t be discouraged that you don’t know everything—things are constantly evolving; so it’s important to build your skillset, enabling yourself the flexibility to adapt to each situation or innovation. Melissa A. Hefley, A VPS senior manager with 22 years in tech says, “Technology changes quickly and there’s a lot to learn, but if you have a love of learning and critical thinking skills, you can develop an understanding of the technology and bring your transferable talents and skills to the position.”

Lifelong learning and technology go hand in hand, as the industry is ever-changing. Don't allow yourself to be deterred from the tech field because at times you may be the only woman in the room. This imbalance creates an opportunity for women to drive future change. You may very well be the first to push a new innovative method or idea. If you’re looking to join the tech industry, ask for what you want and own it. We're in business, so lay out the business plan for what the future should look like—whether it's more responsibility, flexibility or even to embark on a whole new career journey.  

Creating the Right Work Environments

As more global organizations recognize that a gender diverse organization can have a positive impact on financial performance, the more we’ll begin to bridge the gap. Beyond economic return, there is also a virtuous cycle as diversity in the workplace attracts further diversity. That being said, there is still work to be done. We need to each continue to pave the way for girls coming behind us and create work environments that are supportive and encouraging for women to be successful.

VPS Marketing Manager Vicki Kropf, an industry vet with more than 30 years of experience, says, “Technology was and still is an exciting sector that opens up communications across the country and across the world. It is also a driver for ingenuity and creativity, and needs more input and direction from women to create future solutions that help to address everyone’s requirements.” 

The collaboration between VPS’ President Eric Cevis, and VPS’ Chief Strategy Officer Jenn Parkhill, along with the Global Leadership Forum, has shaped some of the newest topics of conversation about global diversity, inclusion and belonging in the industry. Conversations such as these continue to help Verizon to be a thought leader that helps to increase awareness and opportunities not only for women in the tech industry, but also for more businesses to see the financial and overall business benefits to having balanced representation of many voices in the workplace.

If you would like to learn more about what a career in a technical STEM role would look like, head to Part 1 of our Women in Tech Series to learn more of the ins and outs of the industry. If you would like to get more involved with combating gender inequality within STEM, please check out the Global Leaders Forum's Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report.

 

Author: Heather L. Boisrond
Publish Date: 08/10/20

Technology is the basis of everything. It allows for and almost always requires futuristic thinking, challenges today's beliefs and is always solving a problem no matter how big or small.

-- Susan Davey, Marketing Manager, Verizon

Verizon has been making leaps toward combating gender inequality through the Verizon work culture and we’re proud of the work our team has done to put us in a position to talk about why women in technology are so critical to achieving the goal of attaining a well-rounded and balanced business perspective as we continue to shape a better world. 

In the last few years, Verizon has implemented multiple initiatives—such as the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees (WAVE)—which is one of multiple Employee Resource Groups meant to improve work around the 4Cs – career, customer, community and culture – through training, networking, mentoring, collaboration and volunteering.These initiatives helped Verizon get to a point where 59.3% of employees, and 4 out of 9 board members, are women or people of color. Over the last 10 years, Verizon has spent $50B with diverse suppliers, and has 100% pay equity in salary for its employees both women and men. 

These strides have not gone unrecognized. After being named a top place to work for women executives, working mothers and multicultural women, we wanted to provide some further insights into what it means to be a woman in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), field and what kind of opportunities are out there.

STEM offers an abundance of opportunities that most people don’t anticipate and working in technology does not always require your degree major to be Engineering or for someone to have an affinity for AI (Artificial Intelligence). Sometimes working in technology just means getting the best technology and technology support in the hands of the people who need it most. Technology has been helping the world move forward since the invention of the wheel, all the way to the onset of machine learning and the 4th Industrial Revolution, and we don’t plan on stopping there. 

Although the engineers, product designers and technicians innovate and develop the technology, without marketers and business managers, that technology could fall on deaf ears. This integral part of STEM requires a different skillset, but leverages technology and data just like the rest. Marketers and business managers still find themselves utilizing data analysis, communication, creativity, and problem solving to meet the demands of the modern consumer. 

Beyond a STEM overview and details about VPS career development programs and accolades, we wanted to show you what a career in tech could look like and how you could get there, even if you don’t want to learn a programming language. After asking several of our key company leaders in marketing and arts roles to remark on their experiences in the technology industry, here is what they had to say.

Tools and Resources

If you’re thinking about a career in the industry, find an area of the field that you are motivated to dive deep into, and commit yourself to that pursuit. Sherry Sandoval, a VPS business manager with over 30 years in tech, says that it is important to seek out interpersonal relationships and when completing tasks or studying material, and you should ask yourself questions like:

  • •What does the market need and how does this field impact other areas? 
  • •How does this build my expertise and understanding?
  • •Which resources or individuals can I look to for guidance and support?
  •      

There are many degrees that can help you break into the tech industry but often to go the extra mile you’ll need to develop your skills and aptitude for tech with hands-on experience, industry insights through reports and participation in groups like STEM clubs. 

With 28 years of tech experience, Verizon Partner Solutions’ Sophia Eyassu shares this top piece of advice, “Find a mentor or role model in a technology field. Watch, listen, and learn from them. Then, leverage those relationships to enhance your confidence, as well as your personal brand.”

Once you are set on the tech industry and want to progress, Susan Fox, a VPS marketing manager with 36 years of experience in tech, says “Look at joining an industry group or Employee Resource Group (ERG) like those Verizon offers to its employees.”  Susan also suggests having candid discussions with your supervisor to explore ways you can exceed expectations and showcase your talents to the widest possible audience.

Creativity and Standing Out

There is a lot of outside the box thinking involved when creating marketing or sales plans in order to get your technology in the hands of the right audience. This may involve design, copywriting, strategy, event support and much more. When doing these marketing tasks, you’ll find yourself leveraging technology to elevate your campaigns and ideas. 

If you’re looking for a career in this industry, go for it! As Saida Ruscitto, VPS’ Marketing Director of Global Networks notes, “Technology is key to the careers of the future and it needs many more women participants. We live more and more in the digital age, so technology is important in all jobs. Thousands of companies across industries are relying on technology to power their business operations.”

Krissy Sasso, VPS Marketing Manager offers, “If you want to stand out as a woman in the technology industry you need to be confident in your skills, don't be afraid to challenge yourself and others, step outside of your comfort zone and speak up because you deserve a voice.”

Build and Apply Your Skill Set

Don’t be discouraged that you don’t know everything—things are constantly evolving; so it’s important to build your skillset, enabling yourself the flexibility to adapt to each situation or innovation. Melissa A. Hefley, A VPS senior manager with 22 years in tech says, “Technology changes quickly and there’s a lot to learn, but if you have a love of learning and critical thinking skills, you can develop an understanding of the technology and bring your transferable talents and skills to the position.”

Lifelong learning and technology go hand in hand, as the industry is ever-changing. Don't allow yourself to be deterred from the tech field because at times you may be the only woman in the room. This imbalance creates an opportunity for women to drive future change. You may very well be the first to push a new innovative method or idea. If you’re looking to join the tech industry, ask for what you want and own it. We're in business, so lay out the business plan for what the future should look like—whether it's more responsibility, flexibility or even to embark on a whole new career journey.  

Creating the Right Work Environments

As more global organizations recognize that a gender diverse organization can have a positive impact on financial performance, the more we’ll begin to bridge the gap. Beyond economic return, there is also a virtuous cycle as diversity in the workplace attracts further diversity. That being said, there is still work to be done. We need to each continue to pave the way for girls coming behind us and create work environments that are supportive and encouraging for women to be successful.

VPS Marketing Manager Vicki Kropf, an industry vet with more than 30 years of experience, says, “Technology was and still is an exciting sector that opens up communications across the country and across the world. It is also a driver for ingenuity and creativity, and needs more input and direction from women to create future solutions that help to address everyone’s requirements.” 

The collaboration between VPS’ President Eric Cevis, and VPS’ Chief Strategy Officer Jenn Parkhill, along with the Global Leadership Forum, has shaped some of the newest topics of conversation about global diversity, inclusion and belonging in the industry. Conversations such as these continue to help Verizon to be a thought leader that helps to increase awareness and opportunities not only for women in the tech industry, but also for more businesses to see the financial and overall business benefits to having balanced representation of many voices in the workplace.

If you would like to learn more about what a career in a technical STEM role would look like, head to Part 1 of our Women in Tech Series to learn more of the ins and outs of the industry. If you would like to get more involved with combating gender inequality within STEM, please check out the Global Leaders Forum's Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report.