In case you missed it, March 8th was International Women’s Day!
This year’s theme for Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge, focusing on challenging the stereotypes people have about women, especially at work. We sat down with a couple of the ladies on our Wisper Sales and Marketing team to get their perspective on being a woman in the tech industry.
For Shannon Shores, VP of Sales and Marketing at Wisper, this isn’t her first experience in a tech-based company. Shores founded Wellex, Inc, a patient-centric national provider of confidential health screenings in 2015.
“In my very first position out of college, I had a female CEO, and I remember going up to her and saying, ‘Tell me how you became CEO’,” Shores says. “And her answer has been a guiding light for me, and that was to never say no to an opportunity. With that in mind, I continued to learn new skills and take those on as tools to grow in business.”
Wellex, Inc. was listed in the Top 50 Fastest-Growing Companies by Small Business Monthly and St. Louis Business Journal and named to the Inc 5000 listing of fastest-growing companies. Shores herself was named Top Business Woman in 2019 by St. Louis Small Business Monthly and Enterprising Women Magazine.
We also talked with the Social Media Coordinator, Susie Steffes. Steffes has also worked in the tech field prior to Wisper, and she enjoys the opportunities to learn new skills and processes in the tech industry.
“There’s always something new to learn in technology,” she says. “Just be sure to ask questions! Don’t let the technical jargon intimidate you.”
In 2020, women made up only 19% of entry and mid-level roles in the tech industry and only 16% of senior-level positions. There’s a number of reasons to explain why this number is still so low, from girls being less likely to take STEM classes in school to a lack of female role models in the industry.
To women and girls looking to get started in technology, or any other traditionally male-dominated field, Shores and Steffes have some good advice.
“Don’t let it scare you,” Steffes says. “If it’s something that you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to be really good at it.”
“As women, we have so much power to learn and to make sure that we can be who we want to be,” Shores says. “And what we have to remember is that we have the answers, we have the power. Don’t let someone write the script for you.”
We often hear about the disadvantages of being a woman in a business environment, but we wanted to look at some possible advantages.
“Especially as Wisper, being on a female-dominated team, I think we get the opportunity to be creative and expressive in a way that helps move the company forward,” Steffes says. “We also get to challenge the norm and the stereotypes that people have in our industry.”
“I don’t think we have many advantages for being a woman in business, in fact, it’s often the opposite,” says Shores. “You might have someone tell you that you’re being emotional, or not take you seriously because you’re a woman. My advantage is in my confidence, and my ability to look for the next step in a situation because I had to adapt to those criticisms.”
International Women’s Day might be over, but with March being Women’s History Month, Ladies, be proud of yourselves! Continue choosing to challenge those stereotypes and we can’t wait to see what you do.
Watch our full International Women’s Day interview on YouTube!
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