Women at Net Friends Blog Series
In celebration of Women's History Month, we are interviewing women at Net Friends about their experiences in technology and the career advice they have for women navigating this industry. Up first: meet Rachel, our Services Manager.
In addition to running our Support Center, Rachel is the first manager to graduate from our 9-week Emerging Leaders Boot Camp - a Net Friends initiative that personalizes leadership development for managers leading their specific teams.
We need more women in these IT positions to help guide and be a mentor for other women to succeed in this industry.
How did you get into the technology industry?
After graduating East Carolina University with a degree in Broadcasting, I took a job with a television station as a camera operator. I had big dreams to one day be on television. I lost my job at the station, less than a year in. I had every intention of continuing to pursue a career in television, but one phone call home changed everything.
My dad told me about an opportunity at very large, multinational tech company called IBM. I carefully weighed my options and decided to go for it. I knew it would be a long shot of course. I had no related experience or even a degree in that field, but after interviewing with the hiring manager, she offered me the position on the spot. I was there for the next 17 years.
Why is it important for women to lead in technology and business?
I once read that greater gender diversity in technology can impact businesses’ bottom lines. Having women lead the way in technology and business can be beneficial in many ways, including increased profitability and employee performance.
We have seen the number of women in leadership and management positions increase in the last few years. We need to close the gap on women’s under-representation in technology roles. We need more women in these IT positions to help guide and be a mentor for other women to succeed in this industry.
What are you most proud of in your time at Net Friends?
I began my career at Net Friends just a little over 2 years ago. In that time, I have been able to accomplish many things, but the one I am most proud of was my promotion to Support Center Services Manager. I was hired in Net Friends as the Support Center Team Lead.
After a year and half, I was offered this amazing opportunity to manage the Support Center. I must admit, I was caught off-guard at first, not because I did not realize the possibility, but with how quickly I was able to advance and take that next step.
I am extremely grateful for the team of technicians I have the pleasure of managing every day. I am part of a leadership team that truly cares for their employees, represents the core values of Net Friends each day, and goes above and beyond to ensure Net Friends is a company anyone would be proud to work for.
What advice would you offer young women interested in a career in technology?
Do not be afraid to chase your dreams. Take time to explore all the possible career opportunities technology has to offer. You never know what doors this might open or lead to.
When you find something you are passionate about, do it. Don’t hold back, be proactive, step out of your comfort zone. Try to find ways to volunteer in the field you want work in. Meet people and establish different relationships. There are many diverse career paths out there for women in technology.
What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The biggest challenge the next generation will face will continue to be women being taken seriously due to gender perception. Unfortunately, women continue to feel that progression is not an option. We need to change that.
We want to encourage and bring confidence to women in the tech industry. The need for more women role models and mentors to help pave the way is more important than ever.
What qualities do you think make good leaders?
- Communication: Good communication builds trust with your employees, sets expectations, and allows you to share in the company’s vision.
- Delegation: To delegate well, it is important for you to know and understand your employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Delegation can lead to team collaboration on a task or help people grow their skills in other areas.
- Humility: It’s important that we are open and willing to accept new ideas or concepts from others. It also means being able to acknowledge that you are not always right.
- Accountability: A great leader must be able to own up to their commitments. You must take ownership of actions and decisions not only for yourself, but the people you lead and manage, as well.