When ARDA asked me to participate on a panel “Working Your Way to the Top — Technology Career Opportunities for Women” at the recent ARDA WIN regional conference, I jumped at the opportunity for three reasons:
- WIN, a committee within ARDA that aims to educate and connect members, is near and dear to my heart. It is designed to bring together women in the hospitality industry to discuss important issues, promote advancement for women, raise money for charity and offer networking opportunities. This event raised about $4,400 for this year’s designated charity, Harbor House.
- I greatly respect the other panelists: Christine Spangler, vice president of strategy and architecture at Hilton Grand Vacations, and Barbie LaMothe, senior solutions manager of information technology at Hilton Grand Vacations, who also served as panel moderator.
- The topic was a perfect fit for me. Truth be told, I’ve always been a tech geek. When I was a kid, my first crush was Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. Back in high school, I often was pulled out of class to work with the school’s mainframe computer because figuring out technical problems came naturally to me.
I’ve worked in technology during my entire career and have never felt blocked or passed over due to my gender. But I know that’s not the case for others. In fact, women continue to be underrepresented in technology overall: They hold 51.5% of managerial and professional jobs in all industries but only 25.5% in computer and information systems management, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
WIN tech takeaways
When you get three technology executives talking tech careers to other women, you’re going to get a good turnout — 250+ women and some men, too.
The biggest takeaways:
- Tech jobs have changed. It’s no longer just writing code in a windowless room. Instead, the job titles are broad and varied: system architects, data architects, solution architects, business analysts, quality assurance, trainers/implementers, developers, business engagement, project managers and subject matter experts. This change means more opportunities for women.
- With more opportunity than ever, women shouldn’t be afraid to make the move to technology, even in mid-career. Follow your passion and don’t hesitate to seek help and guidance to make the transition happen. I’ve found that many workers in technology want to help others join the field.
- Another ingredient to success in tech: Learn to be comfortable with some self-promotion. You need to frequently remind co-workers and bosses how you’ve made the organization or the technology itself better.
Beyond the satisfaction from doing important work, personal advocacy has a dual purpose. You’ll get much deserved credit and others will get a better understanding of how technology improves the workplace, products and services.
About the Author
Suzzi is the chief technology officer for Nordis, a critical role as the company builds the features and functionality of its industry-leading Expresso communications management solution and related products such as ExpressoPay. Suzzi joined Nordis Technologies in 2015 after running a successful IT consulting company for more than 20 years. Suzzi also is a hospitality industry expert. She chairs the American Resort Development Association Technology Committee and holds an invited seat as the technology lead on the ARDA Meetings Committee.