Fear Being Undervalued as a Women in Tech? Intel’s Head of Diversity Says to Speak Up and Speak Out

Realizing your career ambitions by staying true to yourself and cultivating optimism

Diverse perspectives are critical to creating innovative solutions that drive business results, but what happens when potential employees are concerned about finding a workplace that not only values their talents but also respects and celebrates their authentic selves?

Barbara Whye, Intel’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, recently spoke at the Wonder Women Tech conference and shared advice to women looking to break barriers and make their mark in the tech industry.

 

The following are four key tips for obtaining the skills, outlook, and resilience necessary to growing a rewarding career in tech:

  1. Seek Experience from the Get-Go

I recommend that young girls get hands on experience as quickly as possible through summer camps or after school programs. We see many opportunities to take part in sports programs in our communities.  However, it is equally important for young people to have the opportunity to take part in other activities such as engineering and computer science classes. Also, try to look for someone in your inner circle that’s in an engineering role and ask to shadow that person. It will give you a good sense of what’s possible.

  1. Harness Strengths to Lead with Results

Discipline, results and always giving your best are the critical ingredients of successful leadership and that cuts across gender and backgrounds.  It’s important that you are able to execute and contribute tangible results. In fact, the skills I’ve gained as a mother have come in handy at work on many occasions.  As a mom, you are constantly trouble shooting and balancing 10 things at once. I tend to see that play out in similar ways at work as well. There’s a quote I recite daily, and it is even a tweet pinned on my Twitter profile. It’s what I strive for as a woman and as a mom: “Leadership is about making others better in your presence so that the impact is felt in your absence.”

  1. Own Your Unique Superpowers

Speak up, speak out and stay true to your dreams and authenticity. Choosing to be uniquely you is the most freeing and powerful choice. There is power in simply being yourself and finding opportunities and organizations that are willing to embrace you and value your experiences. I often find that we are our worst critics. Give yourself a break, press pause, be kind to yourself, and seek counsel from mentors and sponsors that have your best interest at heart. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking you are going through challenges alone. You are never alone and challenges are not always personal. It’s important to remember that it’s not the challenges that matter, it’s how you choose to respond to them.

  1. Stick With It

Don’t give up. Hang in there and stay with it. Persistence and determination will always yield successful outcomes.  Sometimes you need to just silence your critics, put your fears on mute and stay focused on what you are trying to achieve.  This is an exciting time for women to enter the tech industry and we need you! There are more women in tech than when I entered the technical field.  It will continue to increase because it is our collective goal to drive more programs that result in more women and underrepresented minorities entering and staying in tech.

The Future of Tech is in Our Hands

Women currently represent more than half of college graduates. If we continue to do our work well at Intel, we can influence a larger percentage of female college graduates to pursue engineering careers. The possibilities are limitless and what we achieve as women in tech lies in our hands and in our decision making processes.

 

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