Who Inspires You? Women in Tech Share Their Stories
There is a lot of talk at the moment about how positive role models can help encourage young girls to pursue exciting careers in technology.
The current results of our Women in Technology survey show that over 46% of the 500+ respondents answered the question: "What inspired you to get into technology?" with: "I just fell into it." (Full results of this fascinating survey will be released soon, so stay tuned!)
It started me thinking that there are lots of role models out there—people who either inspired us to get into technology or people who influence us on a daily basis to be brave, take on challenges and be the best person we can be.
I decided to chat to some of the fantastically smart ladies in the Ivanti Women in Tech community about who inspires them. Here are some of the responses:
Carla Thornley, Head of Service Desk, IT Services – University of Oxford @Larlylaa
"I can’t think of a specific person who inspired me to get into tech, but for the last few years, I’ve been inspired by Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts.
I love how Susan has linked introversion to leadership, creativity, and organisational transformation, and her message speaks very personally to me about self-belief, confidence, and individuality.
Susan speaks on behalf of so many who may have grown up to think that they are out of step with the world, inadequate, or too quiet to lead. She’s articulate and successful, and passionate about educating us all to see real positives in a human characteristic that is often misunderstood.
I think her work helps to change the labels we assign to people. Most powerfully, I think her ideas can change the way our children see themselves and their place in the world.
'There is zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.'"
Alison Howe, Senior Manager Technical Support – Ivanti @alphowe
"I have been inspired since being a small child in the mid-seventies, when their work first became public, by a group of women who for many years were a mystery: the code breakers at Bletchley Park. These ladies worked in signals intelligence during World War Two. By 1945, 75% of the staff of Bletchley Park were women, and of these six out of ten were in uniform. The very nature of their top secret work required that they remain unknown for so long—they were women who could and did, but were not able to be held up as role models and inspiration for the next generation of women."
Claire Agutter, Service Management Trainer, Consultant and Author @ClaireAgutter
"One woman who inspires me is Dr. Sue Black. She has achieved amazing things (including saving Bletchley Park) despite a tough start in life, and works continually to build networks and opportunities for women in tech. She does all of this while being active, friendly and engaged on social media, raising the visibility of all women in tech. You can follow Dr. Sue Black on Twitter @Dr_Black."
Melissa Oosthuisen, Service Management Consultant
"I can't say that anyone inspired me to get into tech, just that growing up, I was never told that I couldn't play with certain toys or do something because I am a girl. So I had no notion of gender disparity or that women couldn't 'do' tech.
I think the unlimited possibilities of tech itself is what inspired me. Now, 23 years on, I would say women like Sheryl Sandberg inspire me, not solely because of what she has managed to achieve, but because of her controversial idea that women can be their own worst enemy—firstly, our lack of confidence/not putting forward our ideas/where we sit in a room can hold us back, and secondly, we often judge other women in the workplace more harshly than the men (or maybe we just hold them to a higher standard).
So it's one thing to be aware of your company culture with respect to women, but I think it's just as important to be aware of your own possible double standards in this respect.
I think this is a pretty interesting and varied look at the people who inspire some of the Ivanti Women in Tech community.
Personally, I was not inspired by anybody to take up a career in technology. I am another one of the 47% who just 'fell in to it', but the more women I meet each day, the more inspired I am to be a leading force in the Ivanti Women in Technology community and help women in currently in the sector as well as working to encourage more today and in the future. I really believe that technology is by far the most exciting and fast-paced industry to work in, and I am very grateful that I did indeed fall into it. But it needs more women; diversity of all types can only have a positive impact on business."
We would love to hear about who inspires you! Let us know via @TheTechieGirls.