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Panel Focuses on Women Leaders in Tech

Tuesday, August 13, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Leadership California

When you talk about the California economy, you must talk about California’s impressive technology sector. The “Women Leaders in Tech panel,” a first for the CIT program, explored all angles of this dynamic industry and how women leaders are gaining a foothold.  

Joining CIT alumnae and Leadership California Board Member Christi Haley-Stover (’14), who served as panel moderator, was Abi Eckstein, Chief of Staff for Lyft; Suejin Kim, Senior Manager UX for Google; Dev Patel, Vice President of Go to Market Strategy and Cloud Services for Oracle; Meme Rasmussen, Vice President of Innovation and Legal for Splunk, and Tejal Thakkar, Senior Direction of Business Ops and Strategy for Symantec. 

The conversation focused on how tech is different than other industries. Tejal shared that “the pace of change is accelerated in tech and present opportunities to leverage a diverse set of skills.” The panelists also spoke about how the industry has spawned a different kind of culture and workforce that encourages more autonomy but also necessitates a strong mission and leadership. 

The panelists agreed that data privacy and security are one of the biggest challenges facing the tech industry right now. Abi spoke to the more human elements that are creating challenges. She said, when tremendous and rapid organizational growth occurs, it can lead to silos and a disconnect of communication and collaboration across teams and functions. “Opportunities exist for women leaders who can make connections and get people to work together.”  

For women leaders establishing yourself in a traditionally male-dominated field according to Dev, “requires finding your own voice” and Suejin added that “how you communicate it often more important than what you say.” Meme said, she has found that you must be knowledgeable on a wide range of tech issues. “To break through disagreements with male colleagues, you must project confidence, be authentic and know what you are talking about.”

A common theme throughout the panel was the topic of work life integration and being a mom in tech considering the demanding nature and fast pace. The panelists spoke of the rewiring that happens, knowing when to buckle down and when to let go. Meme talked about having the confidence to set your own boundaries, “Women have more power in this arena than they think because of what they can bring to the table, she said.” 

CIT Class of 2019 in action!