Networking and Communities
As a woman in tech, networking and building a supportive community is vital for continued professional success. The experience and support of other women can help to overcome stereotypes, and as research published in the Harvard Business Review shows, having other women in your inner circle can increase your chances of obtaining executive positions and receiving higher pay.
Frequent communication plays a major role in Monika Dęregowska’s day-to-day life. She recognizes that in her role as SoDa’s Account Manager, a collaborative environment is key in reducing competition between team members. To achieve this, her team engages in daily meetings to discuss ongoing challenges and share successes, prioritizes face-to-face interactions, and establishes online interest-based groups to foster a sense of community. By encouraging frequent communication, the team can develop a sense of camaraderie and create an open platform for discussion.
In addition to cultivating a supportive team environment, actively seeking opportunities for growth and connection is essential to expand your network. Médea Baccifava, Co-Founder of CraftHub, offers some tips to find like-minded individuals, and create your community:
- Utilize social media: Connect with professionals in your industry by following them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. Engage with their content by commenting and sharing their posts. You can also join relevant Facebook groups to connect with like-minded individuals.
- Join professional organizations: Find a professional organization related to your industry, such as Women in Technology International (WITI) or National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
- Attend webinars and online events: Look for webinars or virtual events related to your industry or interests. Many organizations offer free webinars or events, so keep an eye out for those. Participate in the chat or Q&A sessions to connect with other attendees.
- Participate in online forums: Join online forums; Reddit and Quora are great places to start. Answer questions, share your knowledge, and connect with other users.
- Attend local events and conferences: Meetup is a great place to find local events. Attend these events, introduce yourself to other attendees, and network.
- Volunteer or speak at events: This is a great way to meet other professionals and make connections. You can also offer to speak at events to share your knowledge and expertise. This can help you build your reputation as a thought leader and expand your network.
Inspiration from Mentors and Role Models
According to a study conducted by The Glass Hammer and Accenture, 83% of women in the technology field who aspire to management positions reported having a role model. Many of our panelists echoed this sentiment, saying that their mentors and role models offered support and advice throughout their careers. Being open, honest, and professional when looking for a mentor led to more meaningful and fulfilling connections for Daniela Mariscu, VP Entrepreneurship at PWN Romania. Her tip: approach your role models with humility when seeking help and guidance.
In another example, Monika learned from her role model that the most important thing for a leader is to be yourself. Each of us is unique and has special talents and ideas to offer in every situation. As leaders we should strive to create conditions for a safe exchange of ideas; team members should feel empowered to speak their mind and share their perspective. When you trust your intuition and stop people-pleasing, you may even surprise yourself!
Encouraging diversity and new ideas can help drive success and foster the supportive community we all need. As a leader and role model herself, Co-Founder and President of Geek Girls LatAm, Joanna Prieto, underscores the importance of viewing other women in the tech industry as peers, not rivals. There is room for everyone to succeed, by lifting others up, you also help yourself. She often receives messages from women asking how to overcome the fear that comes with stepping into a leadership role. Her slogan is, “Authenticity is the new sexy.” Be yourself, follow your intuition, and you will push through the fear and see what kind of a leader you can be.
Becoming a mentor can also encourage workforce diversity. There’s a strong link between diversity in the workplace and higher revenues, levels of innovation, effective decision-making, and low staff turnover, says Anna Doroshenko, VP Cloud Practice at Innovecs. Mentoring can also help you to grow, by interacting with others that think differently than you, you are pushed to learn and think in new ways.