Defy The Statistics

Women hold only 26.7% of jobs in the tech industry. About 83% of tech companies are actively unbiased in their hiring and training practices, so why does the number of women working in tech remain so low?

While the number of women in these positions isn’t increasing, the women working in the field are making waves to create a diversity-driven culture. Maryann Pagano of BlackHawk Data is a part of the 10.9% of women that hold tech CEO positions. Here’s some wisdom she’s gained in her years of defying odds in the IT channel.


Why Don’t More Women Work In Tech?

Maryann thinks the technology field scared off women in the early days of her career. It just appeared as a male-dominated field, and women tended to stay out of the way. To some degree, this is still true for women starting their careers; it’s less intimating since more women are in the field, but there are still many roles in tech that women stay away from.

Engineering is especially male-dominated – only about 25% of software engineers are female. Maryann has tried to find women on the engineering side to join BlackHawk Data, but the female population of this specific role is few and far between.


Stumbling Into Tech

Anyone wanting a career in tech should just go for it. If you don’t choose the tech field, tech picks you – at least, that’s how it was when Maryann started. You pretty much fall into the industry and grow with it.

From working in a tech firm in the early 90s as a receptionist to spending her career supporting others as an Inside Sales Rep, Maryann never imagined that she would someday become an entrepreneur and a tech CEO.


Before You Begin

Women can do any job role in tech, so be open to seeing what every position has to offer, not just the ones that seem “safe.” Most women in tech sit in marketing, and sales is a tough spot because you compete against the men. You certainly aren’t treated the same. You aren’t the chosen one, but you must stand up for yourself and assure yourself that you belong. Remind yourself that your contribution is essential because no one will do that for you.


Search for Inspiration

Finding role models and people within the field you admire is a key motivator for achieving what you want in the industry as a minority. Maryann is inspired by anyone working in sales – sales is a rough role, even harsher for women. Good accounts get pushed to the men, so you have to really advocate for yourself as a woman.

The women also inspire Maryann in her CRN Women of the Channel Group. They all help encourage each other regularly by guiding and mentoring them through challenging situations. The advice allows women in IT truly thrive and understand that they are valued contributors to the team.


Main Takeaways

Infiltrating the IT channel as a woman wasn’t easy for Maryann. She’s used trial and error to see what works and doesn’t work when entering a male-dominated field.

Some of the vital advice she’d give to any woman entering tech is:

  • You have to tell yourself you are constantly enough.
  • Play uplifting songs while on the train to help you feel ready to tackle the day.
  • Don’t try and prove yourself to everyone all the time. Prove yourself to yourself.
  • Don’t look for someone else to validate you. Validate yourself.
  • Try not to use words to describe yourself, like adequate or sufficient. That won’t help you feel better about yourself.
  • Resetting your mindset about yourself isn’t easy. It takes a lifetime of reminders, but do it consistently.
  • Learn to forgive yourself when you have an off day and try again tomorrow.
  • Get over your mistakes. Learn from them.
  • Keep your inner circle small. Find people who truly want you to be successful.
  • Embrace yourself.


Women in Tech Event

Maryann holds the quarterly Women in Tech event highlighting women making waves in the channel. Hear fromfive leading women in IT in the live stream of the Women in Tech Event from Sept. 26.


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