I thought I was going to be a teacher when I was little. I used to have a few old classroom desks in the basement and as a way of teaching myself, I would teach all my imaginary friends. We’d learn spelling, science, social studies, and English. The ironic this is if I could talk to that little girl now, I would tell her I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. I am a teacher first. While I have held many roles, responsibilities, and titles over my tenure in the professional world, I think the one I am most proud of is the mentorship of others. I have learned that technology has its own set of nuances, like most industries, I’m sure. But what I love about being in the tech field is the ability to continually, see, learn, and be, more.
I don’t see the need for all these titles, classifications, and boxes we need to check. I am a person. I am a leader. I am a parent. I am a spouse, a sibling, a child. I don’t seek to classify myself in one way, because isn’t this exactly what I want my children and grandchildren to be able to avoid? I subscribe to the belief that strong women raise strong women, but I do not let it define me. I use it to empower the legacy that I leave and the work that I do, as a collection of what will be.
When I think of women in tech, women’s history month, international women’s day; I’m proud. I’m proud to embrace our collective history, what people have achieved, what more can be done. I see an opportunity for others with similar situations, challenges, and experiences to unite, learn, and grow—not to enable a divide, or continue to compare genders. I believe that everyone in has seasons of life with triumph, challenges, and lessons. Every step forward demands recognition and the more we celebrate people and our collective success, the quicker we can build the world we want to be a part of.
Yes, women in tech are rare. Yes, women business owners, leaders, and executives are fewer than men. Today, those are real numbers. But putting a box around the numbers and the differences will only make it harder for our children to imagine what their world could be like. I don’t believe that I have achieved new levels of responsibility and leadership because of my gender, and frankly, I’d be insulted if that were the case. I want my daughter to be whatever she wants to be and give her every opportunity to explore the world around her. I expect that our household, family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and community will shape her mind and if she gravitates to technology, science, math; awesome. If she aspires to own her own business one day, we’ll sit down, build the plan, and make it happen.
Technology enables opportunity. We must embrace it, learn from it, and let it teach us. Whether we choose to use it, study it, or work with it; shouldn’t we all be able to make the—unbiased—choice? This is what it means to be a leader in tech.