Championing Women in STEM
After I graduated from Arizona State University (ASU) in 2016, I began my journey as a woman in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM.) Equal opportunity for women in this area is a topic of interest for many organizations across the globe. At Blue Yonder, we have done a commendable job to increase the inclusion of women in tech roles and improve gender diversity. To contribute to the larger initiative at Blue Yonder, I wanted to do my part to support the inclusion of women in STEM. Before I touch on the steps I have taken, I want to share my experiences and talk about my journey.
As many know, STEM fields tend to be male dominated, so I wouldn’t say it has been a smooth ride for me. When I began my first job in the tech industry, I was the only female on my team. This was not a problem but finding a mentor or sponsor to coach me in my professional journey was challenging. I started taking time right after meetings to connect with senior leaders. The exchanges were casual and quick, and I would follow up with a thank you and ask for additional guidance. Eventually, I found a male mentor and he was awesome. Without even realizing it, my mentor invested in my career and helped me in my journey. I am where I am today because of his encouragement and support, but finding him took a lot of courage. Female mentors in STEM can be beneficial because they can better understand your perspective and thought process at times. Having fewer females in this industry does not impact the quality of our work, but it can make us feel out of place, undervalued or isolated.
When I started my career, I was very submissive and would shy away from sharing my “out of the box” ideas, which could have positively impacted my organization’s growth. Around the same time, I read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, which taught me that as a female in a professional role, my thought process has a wide horizon. I also learned that often females look beyond their role and job requirements to help their company thrive and be successful. This gave me confidence in my vision, and with the support of my mentor, I put a lot of effort into my initiatives to provide equal opportunity for women in STEM. At Blue Yonder, I receive a lot of support from my leaders to fulfill this vision.
My journey has taught me a lot – to voice my concerns, be confident in the work I do, reach out and seek help. Now, I am doing my part to help with the inclusion of women in STEM at Blue Yonder. I am trying to do my part beyond Blue Yonder to encourage women who are starting their journey in tech at different organizations as well.
For the Blue Yonder associates, we have an excellent professional learning community to promote the inclusion of women in the tech industry. We encourage women to join the community so we can coach them to explore and achieve their potential. This community is a platform for all associates to come forward and learn tech skills. You do not need to be an engineer to join this community; all with a passion for education are welcome.
Outside of Blue Yonder, I coach female students at my alma mater who are just starting their STEM journey. I review their resumes, help them prepare interview questions and boost their morale to secure their first job in the industry.
As a woman in tech, I ask my female and male coworkers alike to encourage and support women along their journey. We can all do our part — reach out to your female coworkers, encourage women to come together and practice their tech skills, be a sponsor to your coworker, be a champion and nominate them in the workplace, give women an opportunity to advance in their career.
To be a champion of women in STEM, we need everyone to get involved.