What inspired you to pursue a career
I believe the career found me. When I started in the engineering business in the early 1980s, as a plumbing designer, there was no “IT.” As I advanced from plumbing design to HVAC and control systems (all pneumatic controls back then), I had a mentor that required me to actually draw out the entire control sequence down to every detail. As things transitioned from “air” to “wire,” I had been taught the basics that I would use to build on as systems, security and advanced technology systems began to take over the built environment.
What is the most challenging part about being a woman in IT?
In the early 1990s, there were almost no women in engineering disciplines, let alone anything IT and security related. People thought I attended meetings to get people coffee, not run the meeting. Thankfully over the past 10 years, things have changed dramatically. I am no longer the only woman in the room and many of my clients are also women. That said, my biggest challenge is hiring women in technical positions. While my entire marketing and accounting staff, including my Finance Director, are all women, I have very few in lead technical roles.
What is the most rewarding part about being a woman in a leadership role?
I take a lot of personal pride in building my business from the ground up. I love acting as a role model to other women and letting them know they can be business leaders AND wives and mothers at the same time. I also like being able to take charge of a situation and help solve problems.
Why is diversity in business important to you?
Creating the right solution for your clients means you need a diverse set of viewpoints. Having a diverse team inherently allows many varying views to be presented.
What advice would you give an aspiring female IT leader?
Establish a roadmap and follow it. Don’t ever back off when you feel strongly about something and never let anyone negatively impact your self-confidence. There will always be setbacks and you will have to admit when you are wrong, but you always get back up, dust yourself off and get back to business. I always tell my staff “one door closes and another one opens.
Help Us Keep IT Diverse
BlackHawk Data is proud to be a woman-owned small business. We’re committed to sharing the stories of women in our industry and opening doors for young professionals. We believe everyone should be able to make changes in the tech world.
Learn more about our commitment to diversity today!