In celebration of Women’s History Month, DroneDeploy hosted a remote “Women in Tech” panel with our female leaders to discuss their experiences and challenges they’ve faced within this industry. Among the panelists were Geri Cruz, VP of Marketing, Pamela Holliday, VP of GTM Operations, Whitney Leberman, Director of Sales, and Olya Royall, Engineering Manager of Growth. Moderating the panel was Katie O’Leary, Senior Product Marketing Manager. Throughout the hour-long session, these women detailed their favorite parts about being in the tech industry, suggestions on how to place more women in leadership roles, and policies that have made a difference in their careers.
While everyone agreed that working in the tech industry provided numerous opportunities for continuous learning and innovation, each also stated the importance of diversity in the workplace and having a team that supports one another. To bring more women into positions of leadership, companies have enacted policies such as rotational programs, equal pay initiatives, tailored benefits (i.e. maternity leave or childcare benefits), and mentorship. "Creating an inclusive culture within your organization makes it easier to keep and maintain a diverse group that will spill over into hiring,” said Royall. A 2018 McKinsey study confirmed, diverse workplaces frequently outpace their competitors in financial performance, so it’s beneficial for both parties to have a seat at the table.
These policies each illustrate why advocacy is so important, and such was frequently brought up by our panel. Advocates in the workplace both inside and outside of your industry act as career-advancers whether intentional or subconscious. Advocating is one way to “give [women] the guidance and the tools to become leaders,” said Cruz. Showing up for your female colleagues when they’re not present and being mindful of their career aspirations gives them a positive environment in which to thrive, and creates future opportunities for growth.
To end our discussion, each of our panelists gave their advice to women beginning their careers in tech. Among them - being your own greatest advocate, learning from your mistakes, and investing in your personal strengths. “Treat others the way they want to be treated,” Pamela Holliday stated, “and take the initiative.”