IWD

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Long View Women who #BreaktheBias

This year we set out to #BreakTheBias in big tech by taking a moment to recognize and celebrate some of the outstanding women at Long View.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
It means that I can be seen as someone who can stand and be recognized as a leader in technology regardless of age or gender.

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
I have always been one to lead by example. I had no problem showing that I could do the same thing that my male counterparts could do, whether it was lifting monitors or network troubleshooting.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
Though I do not currently have any children who are school age, I have seen many of my friends and coworkers struggle with taking care of their children that couldn’t be put in daycare and being a teacher to those learning remotely.

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I was always interested in computers and at the time I went to college there was a demand for programmers. My goal had always been to work on the Space Shuttle and that path opened the doors for me to do so.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
I support women owned businesses and organizations and give back to my community where I can make a difference.

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.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
Breaking the bias in technical business analysis for me comes from the support of other women. By encouraging each other, we create a safe space to work, learn, and grow together.

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
I have achieved success as a woman by being open to opportunities and chances to learn something new. I try to always keep a positive attitude and treat everyone as an equal.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
I think the pandemic has affected women by impacting the responsibility on us to care for sick and/or elderly family members. It puts additional pressure on us to perform well in and outside of the home.

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I chose IT because it’s an outlet for innovative and creative solutioning, and I am passionate about the value that our solutions can bring the world.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
I make an impact on our community by positively representing women in the IT space and encouraging my peers not to be intimidated by the technical world.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
For me, BreaktheBias, fundamentally means that, as individuals and a collective, we are going to change the way we have been thinking and doing, to one that is based on looking at what we’ve done and learned in the past, and evolved to a NEW way of thinking and doing for the future!

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
As a critical thinker 24 hours a day, I have spent a large amount of time during my career attempting to understand how my male counterparts and colleagues approach and drive towards success, against my own views of the same. I’ve always tried to reflect and marry the two approaches with collaboration to achieve greater outcomes than expected.

Do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
Yes, it’s possible. However, I believe that, today, both men and women are taking greater shared responsibilities within family and the workplace. What this means to me is that the impact of the pandemic has been widely felt by everyone and that we each have had to step up to work with our partners to achieve well-rounded success. At times, we have each achieved outstanding outcomes, and at others, we were not as successful. My hope is we’ve learned to rely on each other in a more collaborative manner and have learned better open communication skills.

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I didn’t choose cyber or IT, it chose me! There is an inherent logic within security and IT that I absolutely have an affinity for, but the reality is, I fell into this career early on and had some great mentors that encouraged and supported me towards success.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
I spend personal time mentoring several men and women that are early in their careers. In a general community sense, I love to volunteer locally and give back to the community I live in, both in Vancouver and in the Okanagan. I find it a rewarding way to give back and to get to know those living around me at the same time.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
I have never encountered bias throughout my studies or in my professional career. However, I recall the time my mother helped me choose my career path. At that time, teaching and medicine were deemed suitable for a woman in Pakistan. She challenged the bias and encouraged me to study IT when there were very few girls pursuing that path. She instilled the belief in me that there is nothing that a woman can’t do.

#breakthebias to me means equal opportunity for women in every field based on their skills, education and experience rather than bringing diversity.

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
I have been volunteering for The Citizens Foundation (TCF) Canada for more than 3 years. TCF Canada is a charitable organization that has been educating underprivileged children in Pakistan for over 15 years.

Due to my dedication and hard work, TCF Canada recognized my efforts and gave me the opportunity to lead the Calgary chapter. I am the first female chapter president selected across Canada in 15 years.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
The pandemic has tested women’s ability to multitask. A working woman has to juggle home and job responsibilities — and in my case volunteer work too. Women are not only managing work-from-home, but work-for-home too.

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I chose IT as profession because I have always been genuinely interested in technology. As an IT professional, you are expected to keep up with industry changes and new technology and I like learning new tools and software.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
As an active member of TCF Canada, I am raising money to educate underprivileged children and encouraging my kids to be a part of the effort too. My daughter participated in a fundraiser called ‘the literacy challenge’ last year and contributed to the cause.

I also mentor University of Calgary and Mount Royal University undergraduate students and help them set up charity clubs that raise awareness about lack of financial resources to educate kids in developing countries.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
To me, Break the bias means people aren’t assuming you are a diversity hire but were hired for your skill.

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
I have been able to find success in being creative when dealing with a male only workplace, and getting back up when I got knocked down.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
The pandemic allowed the men in my work and personal life to witness the gendered bias that women endure every day and for some, opened their eyes to a new perspective.

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
Technology fit my way of thinking and allowed me to use that thinking to fix things that were inefficient or broken, which makes me feel powerful.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
I hope to help broaden what parents see as suitable careers for their daughters, and I also hope to make it a little easier for the women who follow.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
For women to be able to speak with passion and assertiveness and for it to be seen as just that – not as being emotional or being a ‘B’. In addition, I was a young single mom and the chips were stacked against me. I chose to rise above and contribute to changing the mindset of what a ‘single mom’ is – I am proof that it can be done. One day I would love for the stigma to cease!

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
I had some amazing women mentors, and some tough women bosses – I learned exactly what I wanted to be, and what I didn’t want to be. I have stayed determined and haven’t waivered from being myself – which includes a fair amount of grit. I was told in my early 20s that I wouldn’t make a good leader because of my assertive (emotional) nature. From there, I decided there was no such thing as ‘can’t’…. I taught my three boys this very thing – you can do anything – it may be tricky and not easy, but you can do it.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
I believe women have always had to juggle and balance family duties along with building a career. This made it extra challenging during the pandemic, but it also leveled the playing field, so to speak, as dads got a glimpse into what it was like to have work and life all mixed together. As much as this pandemic has been a challenge for women, it’s also demonstrated what amazing multi-tasking skills we have and that nothing stops us!

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I didn’t go searching for a profession in IT. I was searching for a role that would allow me to be innovative, creative, and ‘build’ things – 13.5 years ago, Long View offered me this chance, so I took it.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?

As a pioneer in my field (first one in Canada to receive the highest level designation for proposal management), I have made it a mission in my career to pave the way for the next generation of women in leadership. This is evident in my team as the core leaders are all women, as well, we have a lot of diversity within the greater team. I also have a very successful side business which empowers me to invest back into my community.

What does the phrase “#BreakTheBias” mean to you when it comes to your career?
For me it means representation. Forging forward even in uncomfortable situations because the next generation of women need to see someone do it. As a black immigrant mother to two girls, the weight on my shoulders is heavy to show the world and my girls that the sky is not the limit and we are capable!

How have you achieved your success as a woman in a male dominated environment?
Success has been being at the forefront of owning that I have young children but that does not impede my ability to perform in the workplace or somehow skews my commitment to my career. I have loved seeing other people starting out get encouraged to chase their dreams regardless of their situation.

How do you think the pandemic has impacted women specifically?
The pandemic brought to the forefront the gender stereotypes that we all secretly hold and woke people up to the reality that a lot still needs to be done to level the playing field. I think career women also became aware of the immense work it takes to be a stay-at-home mum and there is a new respect for this group of people.

Why did you choose a profession in IT?
I was always curious about making work faster and easier. Computer Science seemed like the best place I could have a positive impact in the world whilst also feeding my very inquisitive mind.

As a woman, how are you making an impact in your community?
I have made it a point to connect with other women in my community and at work to get opportunities to share my story and in turn hear other people’s experiences. I strongly believe a sense of shared goals and values pushes people to be better not only for themselves but for the greater good.

I am also heavily involved in my former girls high school program to mentor young girls and show them that their situation right now does not determine what they may become in the future. I am also a huge advocate for sex education and sanitary wear for girls in marginalized societies. If anyone is interested, please reach out to me and we can maybe do something.

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