Women at Net Friends Series
In celebration of Women's History Month, we're interviewing women at Net Friends about their experiences in the technology sector and asking them to share career advice for women navigating this industry too. Follow along at Women at Net Friends.
Meet Christine, HR & Office Administrator
How did you get into the technology sector?
Originally, I planned to be a Middle School Science Educator. I had hopes of introducing STEM concepts to adolescents.
I truly believe that equity in technology needs to start at a young age. Sparking that fire and desire in students who may not have had the opportunity otherwise is what pushed me into the technology industry.
What pivotal experiences inspired your pursuit of technology?
I had extremely early introductions to technology, which were pivotal in my decision to seek out a position within a STEM company. My family were early adopters of home computing and networking capabilities. This allowed my siblings and I to grow-up with a lot of tech resources.
Having parents that worked in STEM fields opened up resources, but watching older siblings Frankenstein various machines gave me a wider understanding of various hardware components. No machine was safe for long, video game systems included. This exploration has made it so 4 out of the 6 of us kids ended up working or have worked within the tech industry.
Who is one woman who has inspired you and why?
It will seem very cliché to say but: my mom. Although I need to also include the band of female scientists that mentored/babysat me when I was a pipsqueak.
I pretty much grew up in various science labs. Throughout my mom’s career in IT, I would tag along during every after hour crisis, when she was stuck rebuilding servers and troubleshooting system issues. While I was busy making Petri dish fingerprint art with a nurturing group of female microbiologists and the stray organic chemist or two, my mom was configuring their lab systems or just fixing printing issues.
I grew up with this band of incredibly intelligent and insanely resilient women in STEM fields mentoring me. Most of these women had hard fought positions within male-dominated fields, while also busting through levels of adversity that my generation can’t even fathom. Growing up watching their “take-no-prisoners” approach to their respective fields offered me a glimpse into what it sometimes takes to achieve high levels of success. I try to use the wisdom that I gleaned from them and add some empathy with my daily approach.
What's one challenge you overcame to arrive here today?
Unexpected motherhood has been my biggest career roadblock. Being a mom has turned into blessing in disguise, but let’s just say it wasn’t part of my 5-year plan. On top of that, I chose to do what was best for my family at the time and became a stay-at-home-parent. That had been the most challenging/rewarding role I have ever filled. However, it allowed me to re-evaluate my place on this earth and determine what kind of contribution I wanted to make.
The patience, empathy, and resourcefulness that I have developed as a stay-at-home-parent has helped my growth mindset broaden. So, instead of passively following a traditional path, I chose to dive deep into a new adventure that landed me in Human Resources.
What's one major challenge for the next generation of women?
Work-life balance. There will always be the feelings of needing to prove oneself in any competitive field. But acknowledging that there is more to life than work will always be a major challenge to any young professions. Keeping this balance will help prevent burnout and keep the passion going!
What advice do you have for young women navigating IT?
My advice is to be willing to seek alternative routes. Busting into the technology sector isn’t the easiest barrier to break. By having a dynamic outlook, you may be able to stick to your goals while carving out a less traditional path.
You alone are your own best advocate and can always seek out information. Never allow others to gatekeep knowledge.
What are you most proud of in your time at Net Friends?
I may not be the most tenured Net Friend, however the relationships I am building and the knowledge I am able to gain through other’s experience is amazing.
With the mentorship provided by Net Friends, I have swiftly met career goals and I continue to strive for greater knowledge of all things Human Resources within the tech community.
What qualities do you think make a good leaders?
Empathy and a willingness to listen. Allowing employees to feel seen and heard are key qualities of any leader.
Why is it important for women to lead in technology & business?
Representation matters and having a female voice offers different viewpoints that may be otherwise overlooked.