Women at Net Friends Series
In celebration of Women's History Month, we've interviewed women at Net Friends about their experiences in the technology sector. We've also asked them to share career advice for women navigating this industry as well. Follow along at Women at Net Friends.
Meet Holly, Finance Director
How did you get into the technology sector?
I was researching Health Information Management (HIM) career options. I stumbled into bookkeeping years ago, and almost completed a clinical dietetics degree, so HIM felt like a way to merge the skills and experience from the two. When I saw a job ad for a purchasing and accounting position at Net Friends, I applied to learn more about IT for that side of HIM.
Why is it important for women to lead in technology & business?
There is a lot of peer-reviewed research that shows how much businesses benefit, both financially and operationally, from having women in leadership roles.
Diversity in leadership is vital – it helps to prevent a business from becoming stagnant from groupthink, thus leading to greater innovation and strength in all business arenas, from strategy to operations.
What advice would you offer women interested in IT?
There are so many tech specialties they could explore, from IT to software programming to consulting. I would suggest that they research their options and narrow down their areas of interest. Then, they could practice their craft on a self-guided basis and research certificates that will boost their careers and earnings.
Who is one woman who has inspired you and why?
My sister, because she overcame adversity in her early adult years and rose through the ranks of the Army National Guard with her ambition and persistence. She is now a Captain in the Army and has two master’s degrees, one in cybersecurity. She’s currently serving as an Army Congressional liaison on the staff of a Congress member. My sister is one of the most hardworking and generous people I know.
Are there pivotal moments that inspired your pursuit of tech?
I’ve been intrigued by various tech activities for a long time and dabbled in a couple things like website design and building my own computer, but I didn’t feel like it was necessarily in the cards for me based on the career path I was headed toward.
The pivotal moment in my career was when I was promoted to Finance Director at Net Friends, which has allowed me to learn and access more tech information and concepts such as fintech, which yields tools for greater efficiencies, insights, and automation.
What is one roadblock you overcame to arrive here today?
Imposter syndrome is the greatest challenge I’ve faced. Coming into the tech world with no tech work experience, combined with my high expectations and sense of perfectionism, made for the perfect storm to let in the imposter syndrome. It’s important to counter those feelings by stepping back to acknowledge and embrace your skills and accomplishments.
What are you most proud of in your time at Net Friends?
I’m proud that my work quality over the years was recognized by a promotion to Finance Director, and that my contributions have made an impact. I’m very proud of the progress my team has made in the year that I’ve been in my current managerial position, including the quality of our work and its results.
What's one of the biggest challenges for women in tech?
I feel gender equity will continue to be an issue for a while. Despite making up more than 50% of the population, and graduating college at higher rates than men, women will still face these equity challenges in the workforce. Less than 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and women are still less likely to advocate for themselves when it comes to asking for a raise or promotion. I feel that I’ve seen some strides in the right direction, and I hope progress with this issue will soon take off in leaps and bounds.
What advice do you have for the next generation?
My advice is to not get stuck in the traditional career and education pathways that previous generations pursued. There are so many avenues that people can take to pursue a career in technology.
I recommend playing with different tech tools and resources to learn what really gets you amped up and inspired to pursue a career in this industry.
What qualities do you think make a good leader?
I feel that a good leader will recognize the value of their employees and share that feedback with them. Listening to employees’ ideas and contributions to the organization are key as well. A good leader will also encourage and support personal/professional development and will lead ethically.