Career growth and moving up in corporate ladder by Kaitki Agarwal

Automatic Summary

Empowering Women in Tech: Challenges and Solutions

As we delve into the realm of career growth for women in technology, understanding the issues of unconscious bias and stereotyping becomes essential. This blog post will build on the insights given by our guest speaker, who is an esteemed member of the tech community with an expansive career and a strong advocate for female empowerment within the industry.

A Brief Introduction: An Entrepreneurial Journey

Our guest speaker boasts an impressive career in the telecom industry that spans over 20 years. With a keen entrepreneurial spirit, she has been a founding member of several successful startups, including Parallel Wireless and a 5G network company. Moreover, she is a prominent member in several communities aimed at empowering women in technology, including Women in Tech, Forbes women, Dell Women Entrepreneur Community, and I triple E Women in Engineering.

In her career journey, she has experienced firsthand the challenges women face in climbing the corporate ladder.

Building a Strong Foundation for Career Growth

  1. Know Yourself: Discover your innate strengths and personality traits.
  2. Be Decisive: You should know what you want and strategize your career path.
  3. Work Hard: Hard work and smart work go hand in hand in building a strong foundation for your career growth.
  4. Take Actions: Be fearless and never give up to reach your goals.

Identifying the Challenges

Our expert speaker highlights several forces creating challenges in the work environment.

Unconscious Bias and Stereotyping

Both men and women are influenced by unconscious biases and stereotypes. Women's work often goes unnoticed due to these biases, impacting career growth adversely.

The speaker also emphasized the role of personality traits in influencing professional opportunities. Women are often stereotyped as being likable and gentle, and when they display traits of leadership and assertiveness, it can lead to negative feedback.

Overcoming the Challenges

The first step towards overcoming these challenges is accepting yourself for who you are and focusing on your strengths. Try to develop those skills that you need for leadership roles.

Taking Action: A Path Towards Success

Once you understand your challenges and know your goals, you can begin to strategize your path to success. The speaker highlighted the importance of:

  • Continuous Learning: Reading books, getting a mentor, and seeking feedback are essential.
  • Empowerment: Remember, you are your best mentor. You are a role model for others.

Thank you for joining us on this exploration of both the challenges and opportunities women face in technology. Please feel free to connect with our expert on social media or contact her directly. She would love to hear from you!

Further Reading

To further delve into these issues, our guest speaker recommended some excellent articles for additional reading.

Check out these links: [insert links here]

To contact our guest speaker: [insert contact info here]

Remember, the key to success lies in you!

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone and welcome to today's session brief intro about me. Uh I have been in the telecom industry for more than 20 years. I have been very entrepreneurial throughout my career and uh been founding member of several successful start ups.I founded a company named Parallel Wireless in 2012 to transform the wireless industry. As founder and chief product officer, I grew the company to 600 plus people and established operations in the US UK uh Israel and India as one of the open brand pioneers, Parallel wireless, brought innovation uh and uh new solutions to the mobile industry. While that was an accomplishment on the business front, I had the opportunity to build a culture of innovation, openness and transparency in the organization. I led by example, built a strong patent portfolio and filed more than 50 patents. Now. Very recently, I have founded another company, a five G networks to drive five G core network innovations. I have been involved in several communities to drive and promote the agenda of helping and empowering women in uh technology. I'm involved in women in tech, of course, Forbes women, Dell women entrepreneur community, I triple E women in engineering. So I have selectively chosen these communities to empower and work with women in technology and engineering. My journey to get to this level in my career has been tough.

I had to work really hard and strategize my moves like a chess player. I will talk about some of the challenges you see in the Corporates, many related to unconscious bias and stereotyping career growth and moving up on the corporate ladder is a big challenge that a lot of women face. It is a complex problem that is influenced by a lot of factors. You all have different uh strengths and uh personality traits. Some come to you naturally, some we develop as we move forward in your career journey. So how do we create a strong foundation using the key traits and the personality traits as building blocks? So you have to know yourself really well. You have to discover yourself, know what you want be decisive. A strategize your career path, work hard and work smart. You have to take actions, be fearless, don't give up, never give up. Have mental toughness be resilient, make the best use of resources you have that all plays into creating a strong foundation for your career growth. So let's talk about some facts, observations and uh discuss the possible root causes of some of these issues that may be hindering your way up. It will also help us analyze what tools strengths you could use in different situations.

I want to highlight some of the points that create challenges in our work environment. These are what I called different forces, creating the overall issues. It is not one or two, they all together create the issues and challenges women face in their growth path. We'll first talk about them individually and then see how they are all interconnected. Let's talk about the unconscious bias. Both men and women have their unconscious bias. We all have our perceptions opinions about things. Often these beliefs set into our minds and we start taking actions based on that. And eventually these actions become the norm for you. Unconscious bias is also stereotyping the person. So knowingly or unknowingly, you start uh stereotyping the person viewing the person in a certain way.

Since you have a certain perception, image of the person in your mind, your actions are based on that image. Many times, we are not really open minded to view beyond our bias. We don't challenge ourselves to think beyond what we already believe in stereotyping has multiple impacts that contribute towards career growth for women. One of the impacts is that they're not given the opportunity because their good work goes unnoticed. Women don't make their work visible, they're not vocal about it. Men are stereotyped to be leaders, extrovert, assertive, confident in making things happen, boasting about themselves. Also, they make themselves visible as leaders, managers, board members who have the responsibilities to choose the right candidate for the position and put their credibility at stake will go with a less risky approach. They feel more comfortable with and stereotyped male leaders seem like the less risky choice they fit the template for promotion very well. But women don't, the person they choose for the next level is also someone they are comfortable with. They can trust, they can uh uh have uh casual chat with, have uh friendly relationships where they know the person will be loyal to them and they can go and discuss both positive and negative aspects of the business with them.

They understand each other's indirect cues, body language and work very well as a team. That's where the personality traits come in. On one hand, women are thought to be likable, gentle and typical stereotypical personalities. On the other hand, they are assumed to not have the assertiveness, leadership qualities making tough calls as per their professional job requirements. Sometimes they get in a no win situation. That is if they show likability traits, they are not ready for the leadership role, they are not too nice, not tough enough. If they show those leadership qualities, assertiveness, decisiveness, they call stubborn and feedback may be given to them to be more gentle and caring.

Oftentimes women's decisiveness is taken as stubbornness, but for men, it is treated as a good leadership quality and they are categorized as strong leaders. There is a fine line between pride and ego. Women's pride is taken as ego, but men's big egos are accepted and well respected.

Being a women leader becomes more difficult as one grows in a career. Male leaders are more comfortable with other male leaders because they prefer to work with each other and mentor one another. So uh I have talked a lot about the problems. So let's talk about what actions we can take to solve some of these problems and make things better. So women do not need to feel pressured to be what others are expecting you to be. Don't try to be likable. Be yourself. Focus on your strengths, be what puts you in the best leadership role, focus on your goals and do whatever is needed to achieve that goal. Don't let anything come in between you and the goal. So you need to have the laser focus. You may want to know who you are as a person, get to know yourself, put yourself in the role you want to be in, play that role uh in your mind or go to a close room and try to play that role. If you want to be a leader, you want to be a speaker, just play that role. Uh and see uh while you are playing that role, you may realize certain gaps and capabilities and soft skills that are missing. So try to build those skills, try to develop those skills. So I was a shy and introvert person growing up but I was strong willed and knew what I wanted. Over the years in my career journey, I became less introvert and more extrovert.

Introvert was not my natural uh behavior. It just came to me because um I was the only child and did not have many people around me. But as I started meeting more people, it changed and uh I uh started uh interacting and working with a lot of people. I was not afraid to speak up and I got comfortable with people watching me noticing me in the leadership roles, I learned how to manage myself in different situations. Once you know yourself, what your professional goals are, where you want to be in on your career ladders, strategize and build a path to get to your goals. Have a variety of skills in your toolbox because you will need different skills for different situations. You could add new skills, uh learn uh as much as you can read books, get a mentor or a coach because learning never ends. You may also seek feedback from others you trust also from those who may see you as a rival because they may have a respect for you and you may not know it. So it's good to interact with them, talk to them and work with them. So remember that there are other leaders and people who follow you, you're a role model for them, they respect you. Some are fearful of you because you're better. You're strong, don't undermine and underestimate yourself. You're your best mentor, helper and promoter.

So, uh thanks for joining me for this session and thanks to women in tech community for inviting me to share my thoughts. I would love to hear from you. Please uh connect me on the social media. These are some of the good articles uh and links that uh for the reading material that you can uh refer to and here's my contact information. Um I would love to hear from you. Thank you.