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International Women’s week: Empowering the developing workforce

International Women’s week: Empowering the developing workforce

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To celebrate International Women’s week, Ping Identity has gathered the thoughts of some of its female employees to glean why being a woman in the field of technology/security can make a difference to its future development and drive gender-blindness.

What appealed to you most about a career in the technology/security industry? 

I was just drawn to it from a very early age – I had computer/programming classes as early as elementary school and this exposure was such a positive experience for my eager young mind,” said Remy Lyle, Director of Technical Enablement. “In college, I saw all the boys were getting engineering and computer science degrees, and I said, ‘Why Not Me?!’. 

What would you say to encourage females to pursue a career in technology/security?

“Personal identity is everywhere now, in every part of the economy and in every country,” Emma Maslen, VP and General Manager, EMEA & APAC. “A career in security/tech can take you to the most interesting places, understanding the most innovative companies in the world. If you like variety, tech is a great place to get that variety every day.”

“I think the biggest hurdle is what may be a preconceived notion as to ‘who’ pursues careers in technology and security – the standard socially awkward dude living in a basement,” said Remy Lyle, Director of Technical Enablement. “I am a wife and mom of two, who loves fashion and yoga and travel, surrounded by a ton of friends and family, and I have a full-time career in technology and security. There’s no reason not to rock Chanel pearl mules while coding an identity verification mobile application. My engineering degree is definitely funding my expensive fashion habits.”

“Security is a HOT space; it is relevant across vertical markets and will be for many years,” Beth Drew, VP Channel Sales, said. “Technology allows companies to grow exponentially. Being a part of tech means delivering meaningful solutions to customers that will significantly improve their businesses. You can make a difference.”

Was there any advice you were given during your career that you would pass on to another woman just starting out or looking to make a career change?

“Take the leap. You can always go back. I truly believe with strong sponsors and mentors, they will support you in a leap forward or a return to a past career,” said Emma Maslen, VP & General Manager, EMEA & APAC (and quoted here.

“Be bold, courageous and unafraid,” said Remy Lyle, Director of Technical Enablement. “Take the roads less travelled by. Regardless of gender, we are all just trying to figure it out so don’t feel like it’s just you. You can be exactly who you are and there’s no gender or physical features required to be in tech.”

“My mum always told me, ‘You can be anything you put your mind to’. I didn’t realise the power of these words until I transitioned from a career in education to politics and then to the tech industry,” said Jennifer Arzberger, Ph.D, Champion of Learning. “When I look back, I realise that her words are so very true. Each and every day, you get to write your story. You own your career and its trajectory. Growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone. Explore that edge.

“I love how Steve Jobs describes the journey: ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future’. There were moments where I didn’t know how to connect the dots, yet when I look back, I see the connection. I’ve discovered that the connection is leading change initiatives, creating culture, innovating and supporting the success of people. The connection is beyond a title. Trust that you will connect the dots as your journey unfolds and take advantage of opportunities that weren’t in your plans.”

“Confidence is your greatest quality; don’t let anyone take that away from you,” said Beth Drew, VP Channel Sales. “Be confident in your convictions and back it up with data. Ask for help. Women, in my experience, are always willing to lend a hand up if you ask for it. Leverage that network, seek advice and then pay it forward to other women.”

“Always be open to feedback,” said Michelle Jenkins, Director, Human Resources. “I know this sounds silly and we’ve all heard how much younger generations want feedback, but you have to really lean into it, accept it, change from it. The minute you stop accepting feedback well is the minute you will stop receiving coaching.”

What’s been the highlight or most rewarding part of your career? 

“The best part of my career and day job is helping people succeed every day,” said Emma Maslen, VP & General Manager, EMEA & APAC.

“My favourite part has been influencing the young ladies and engineers of tomorrow,” Remy Lyle, Director of Technical Enablement, said. “I regularly volunteer for Girls and Science, a STEAM career event sponsored by Denver Museum of Nature and Science and CBS4, and it’s so rewarding to see the young ladies and gents excited for careers in science and technology. As a female leader at Ping, I am so excited when I see young ladies that I have mentored start finding their own way up the ladder and breaking their own barriers.”

“The most rewarding part of my career is seeing others who I have trained and mentored experience greater joy, energy, meaning and purpose in their careers and lives,” said Jennifer Arzberger, Ph.D, Champion of Learning. “Being people-centric and dreaming BIG brings me a lot of joy and purpose and also accelerates my success. Challenge yourself to carry a vision larger than your current role. I believe business, more than any organisation out there, can influence people and solve the challenges facing today’s world. We don’t all go to church or to college, but we all go to work. We can use corporations across the globe to make the world a better place.

“I have sought out to work for incredibly smart and driven people. As a result, I benefitted from being constantly challenged to better myself and my career,” said Michelle Jenkins, Director, Human Resources.

What’s the best thing about being a woman in technology and the most challenging?

“The most challenging issue for women is the lack of innovation put in at the educational level to attract girls into STEM and tech,” commented Emma Maslen, VP and General Manager, EMEA and APAC. “We need to ensure STEM subjects appeal to females to truly see the allure of the subject. Otherwise, we will continue to be the minority in the workplace.”

“The best thing about being a woman in tech is the different perspective that we bring to the table,” said Remy Lyle, Director of Technical Enablement. “It’s wonderful to have diversity in all of the teams because everyone views and thinks differently. All of us working together, regardless of gender, race, age, etc. can help ensure the best outcome for whatever it is we are trying to solve for. When gender stops becoming a filter, the world is living up to its full potential.”

General advice for being successful in business? Tips to continue growing professionally? 

“No one cares about your career more than you,” said Candace Worley, Chief Product Officer. “If you count on someone else to make your career dreams a reality you will be disappointed. You must own it.”

“Humility and vulnerability are critical elements of leadership,” said Candace Worley, Chief Product Officer. “People want to work for people that they believe are capable of empathy. Strength and confidence are important attributes for leaders but confidence without humility translates as arrogance.”

“Credibility and hard work matters more in my career than gender, which is the key to being successful,” said Remy Lyle, Director of Technical Enablement. “Work smart and work hard. All things that are worth obtaining are never easy. You cannot shortcut your way to success. Make people gender-blind by the incredible work that you are doing.”

“Think like a stagehand,” said Jennifer Arzberger, Ph.D, Champion of Learning. “Stagehands are skilled in multiple disciplines, are often responsible for operating the systems during shows, and have a general knowledge of all the phases of a production. They also tend to develop specialties and focus on specific areas. They ensure everyone looks good on stage. In business, seek to understand how your role fits into the bigger picture. Support the mission of the organisation, as well as your team. Develop expertise in other areas. And, always find ways to make others look good. Being taught to think like a stagehand was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received that has helped me grow exponentially.” 

“Set your eye on the goal and don’t let your foot off the gas,” Michelle Jenkins, Director, Human Resources, said. “That doesn’t mean you will arrive promptly on time and you may even take some detours, but sometimes the hardest thing is to decide where you want to go. Along the way, learn, learn, learn. If you ever find yourself in a spot where you don’t feel challenged or you aren’t learning, that is the time to ask yourself where you are driving to.” 

“Be a lifelong learner, be curious,” said Beth Drew, VP Channel Sales. “I read, take classes, attend seminars….always looking for new ways to look at the world. Be true to yourself and listen to your gut. If a decision doesn’t feel good – it’s probably not.”

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