What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
As a female, immigrant, and queer working in IT, I face biases quite often.
When you are the only female, standing at 5’5’ in a room filled with male executives, speaking with an accent about steps their company should take to mitigate existing IT challenges, cybersecurity and vulnerability risks, it can sometimes feel that you constantly have to earn respect and prove that you know what you are talking about.
Every single day I choose to show up and show leadership. Not just for people around me but mostly for myself, as showing up is the only way to never think less of myself.
How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
I started my journey with a reflection on my own implicit biases about men being better suited to IT and leadership. I identified patterns of thoughts that were programmed into me from a young age. In being able to recognize those biases within myself, I was able to start watching my behaviours more closely and changing them.
I chose to step up for myself and my abilities and prove that gender is not a factor. Throughout this process, I slowly forged my own path and earned my spot at many tables. Now, when I look back at my journey, I am glad that I never compromised who I was as a person and did not allow biases to determine which career path I chose.
I am also thankful that I have had a few male sponsors along the way who saw my potential and believed in my ability to bring value.
Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I have always been very analytical and logical. I like to think about things and find solutions to challenges. Once I found out that a college that I was considering studying at offered grants to women to get a Computer Science degree, I did not think twice and applied.
As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
I like to share with the world my knowledge and experience around the positive impact women have when they are invited to the table. As you know, it sometimes takes only one person to change the way we see things, so I choose to mentor other women in Long View and in the community. A woman, who believes in herself, will help to break the bias and do great things.