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Mind the (Gender) Gap: Career advice from some of tech’s top women

Posted by | February 13, 2017 | Advice, Career

via Vogue : Mind the (Gender) Gap: Career advice from some of tech’s top women

Despite having placed a global spotlight on the need for more women in tech, the gender gap persists in famed Silicon Valley—and beyond. According to the most recent Global Gender Gap Report (released annually by the World Economic Forum), if current trends continue, “Women are at risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities,” while further contributing to unwavering hiring practices and reduced diversity from the top down. So how can new startups and established companies alike promote a more level playing field in the tech space—and what can you do to personally succeed? We asked some of tech’s top women for career advice.

Michelle Zatlyn, cofounder of Cloudflare

On the gender gap in tech:

“I think it’s getting better, and I’m optimistic for the future. If you’re a woman thinking about what to do next in your career, tech is a great industry. It’s growing, you can impact so many people around the world, you get well paid, and you work with really smart people. Tech is starting to impact every domain, every industry—whether it’s fashion or food or software. It’s clearly going to be around for the next little while, so it’s a great place to build a career.”

On overcoming imposter syndrome:

“You never want to get over your skis, because that’s fraud, but sometimes it’s okay to rally and show confidence even if inside you don’t feel that confident.”

Lexi Reese, former Google vice president and chief customer experience officer at Gusto

On the gender gap in tech:

“If we’re going to make a difference in this area, we’re going to have to have radically candid conversations about why we are where we are, and put some real energy behind making a difference. I think sexism—and perhaps even more insidious, racism and classism—persists in all of our boardrooms in the U.S. I think it’s important to say that white women and women of color are living in sometimes different universes, and even more than white women in technology, women of color are less represented. For me, diversity is not just a women’s issue, it’s about having a world and boardroom that’s as reflective as the New York City Subway.”

Her career advice:

“Don’t go crazy on Future Think. Pay attention to now. Think about your life in this minute and the people who are around you, and what good you can do now. If you spend too much time thinking about what’s ahead of you, you’ll miss some of those surprises that are right in front of you.”

Caryn Marooney, VP of Global Communications at Facebook

On career advice for women:

“I’ve learned almost everything from Sheryl Sandberg: Have a seat at the table and own the space you’re in, and be brave enough to say what you really think. It helps how people perceive you and your career advancement.”

Her advice to her younger self:

“I was really stressed about being successful. I was really worried every day. If something didn’t go right, I beat myself up. The dialogue in my head was so negative, and it really made me unhappy. I was just so worried about how I would look to others, if I was moving fast enough—the comparison thing, I did it all the time. I wish I could tell my younger self: ‘Chill out; it’s going to be okay if you focus on what you are good at, what you like doing, and if you are providing value to the place you are right now.’ ”

Shaherose Charania, cofounder of Women 2.0 and founder of Founder Labs

Best career advice:

“Find your voice and use who you are to your advantage. Let people know what your strengths are. Become branded. People know that I’m great at product strategy, people know that I’m great at building a movement, so those are the things I tell people over and over—whenever I get the chance to plug myself, I do it.

“Make friends with people who are five and 10 and 20 years ahead of you in their career. It’s more or less a mentorship relationship for sure, but make it a two-way relationship where you know what your value is. If you’re talking to someone who’s 20 years ahead in their career, they’ll still learn something from you.”

Ellen Petry Leanse, former Apple and Google executive, advisor, and instructor at Stanford University

On the gender gap:

“We did something really powerful at the Women’s March; we elevated our voice. We did it with respect, dignity, organization, and power. We showed up and said our voice will be heard; I will not keep quiet. And I think we can do that in the workplace, too.

“We need to shift the paradigm. There is no apologizing; there is no proving; there is no explaining or justifying who we are or why we belong there. We simply show up and we bring our feminine power, our feminine force to benefit the existing paradigm, the existing consciousness, and make it better than it is now.”

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