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The Friday Sit-Down: Four women forging paths in tech leadership

By Adrian Alleyne, Digital Storyteller on 10/03/2017

Filed under Digital Transformation

women in tech leadership

It’s been inspiring to see the continuation of Microsoft’s #makewhatsnext campaign, which encourages girls to seek out careers in STEM subjects, as part of International Women’s Day. One of the issues brought about in this campaign is the choice of career paths that these girls will undertake once they enter the workforce.

We wanted to explore the topic in more depth, and as women look to forge careers in technology – both those with STEM backgrounds and those without – it was important to dig a bit deeper on the things that drive them to succeed. This includes everything from the network of mentors, colleagues and family, to the actual technology they use to be more productive.

In this week’s Friday Sit-Down, we were fortunate to get insights from four dynamic women at different stages in their careers at Microsoft, from someone just few years out of university to someone leading our global efforts around digital transformation. In this four-part series, we get a glimpse at the ways women are forging their own paths in tech companies, and their insights into the future for the girls who will #makewhatsnext.

We were fortunate to hear from (listed alphabetically):

  • Dr. Nicola Hodson, Vice President of Field Transformation
  • Phylissia McCarthy, Devices PR & Image
  • Oksana Meleshykhina, Sr. Premier Field Engineer
  • Jasmin Sohi, Surface Marketing manager

Part 1: How do you succeed in business?

The way in which you’re measured changes [as you progress in your career], but I think what you define as success is within you, really.

Our panel talk about the importance of bringing passion, energy, curiosity and determination to their roles – regardless of where one is in one’s career. They also discuss being able to bring a challenger and growth mindset to their roles, as well as the importance of focusing on and defining (and redefining) what success means at various points through one’s career.

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Part 2: What tools do you use to be successful?

I use a lot of technology… but the whole thing seems to just blend together.

An interesting dissection of the word “tools” in this section, as our panel looked at everything from technology to mentoring to family and professional networks. And while we do talk about Microsoft technology as an enabler of success (it is part of our mission, after all), it’s interesting how it’s just part of the broader fabric of tools that our panellists use to achieve success.

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Part 3: What role will technology play in your success?

“I think it’s going to be brilliant, especially for women – or men – who choose to spend more time with family”

The panel delves into the future of technology, and what role it will play in their careers. The interesting common theme was how empowering mobility, and the mobile experience, has been for their professional and personal lives.

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Part 4: What advice would you give to girls thinking about tech careers?

“I was brought up with technology, so I didn’t look at the IT industry as a scary thing but as something that enabled me to get to where I am.”

In looking forward to the next wave of career women, our panellists express their sense of optimism for what the work world – especially the tech world – will look for the girls who will #makewhatsnext.  They discuss everything from the importance of role models to Millennials’ expectations for digital technology.

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What’s Next?

There’s so much to take away from this sit down, and (much like with the women on our panel) this is an ongoing dialogue and there isn’t one single path for readers to take. Here are a handful of resources for you to continue to explore the topic of women in tech.

Take a closer look at Microsoft’s #MakeWhatsNext campaign

Read our News Centre feature about girls in science and technology

Learn more about Microsoft’s focus on women in technology

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