Statistics show a strong correlation between better representation by women and minorities in executive circles and business success. Even so, women in technology face an uphill battle. Successful entrepreneurs like Dara Treseder are seeking to change that.
Treseder’s passion for innovation, combined with her senior marketing expertise, has made her a global leader in the tech space. Currently the Chief Marketing Officer at GE Ventures, Treseder has earned her place as a woman of color in the male-dominated Silicon Valley.
Recently, Treseder stressed the need for women to build relationships with professional champions and then to “pay it forward” as their own careers progress. She also counseled women to bring their “whole authentic” selves to work. Those things that make you unique, she suggests, also make you valuable.
For Treseder, that means pouring her energy into training entrepreneurs in her native Nigeria and working to improve educational opportunities for girls from low-income families. Like other powerful women in history, she has found ways to use her own success to build and inspire others.
Women Who Paved the Way
Try to imagine modern medicine without Rosalind Franklin, the British chemist who was instrumental in our understanding of the structure of DNA. Picture computer programming without Grace Hopper, who developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. And as we all know, Marie Curie revolutionized physics and chemistry with the theory of radioactivity.
These women and others like them built a foundation for women in technology today. Grace Hopper once said that, outside of building the compiler, the most important thing she accomplished was training young people.
Building on these historical accomplishments, women now head up several of the world’s largest tech firms, including: IBM, Xerox, HP and Yahoo. Bringing their unique backgrounds and skills to the industry, these women drive innovation with inspired vision.
Unique Opportunities for Women in Technology and Business
Currently, women account for only about 25% of the professional technology jobs and own just over 35% of U.S. businesses. A look behind those numbers, however, suggests a far greater impact. For instance, while general employment has fallen 1% since the recession, in women-owned businesses, employment has increased nearly 18%.
In addition, since 2007 there has been a 29% increase in the number of women-owned businesses. Plus, a majority of the newly-formed firms are owned or run by women of color. It appears that women have begun to find their individual and collective voices.
Modern Leadership in IT Services
Jennifer Mazzanti stands out among successful women in technology. As CEO and co-founder of eMazzanti Technologies, she serves a worldwide community. To support its global vision, eMazzanti employs a diverse workforce, pulling from a wide variety of backgrounds to provide powerful retail technology solutions to retailers and others on nearly every continent.
In addition to building the company’s core business, Jennifer has used her passion for the ocean and the environment to develop eMazzanti’s Blue Project. The project serves not only to give back to the environment but also to unite company employees and motivate them to build relationships in the community.
Today’s industry needs more women in technology who find their passion and use that to forge the way for others. For Jessica Naziri, CEO of TechSesh, that means making technology accessible to regular people. For Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, it means empowering girls of color to enter technology fields.
Grace Hopper once said, “A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”
Women like Grace Hopper and Dara Treseder continue to chart a course out of the harbor. While challenges remain for women and minorities in technology, those challenges also provide grand opportunities for those who boldly find and follow their passion.