Our Lead(H)er series shares the stories of women leaders at some of the fastest-growing companies in the tech industry.
Here is a recap featuring the 26 inspirational stories from 2022 with a short segment from each profile. You'll learn everything from the challenges, successes, and surprises of their careers, lots of useful advice, and more!
Jess Dashner, Director of Media Strategy & Operations at Gupta Media
"Seize every opportunity you can. Say yes to everything (within reason). If it pushes you out of your comfort zone, even better. Some of the best opportunities are ones you need to ask for, so don’t wait for them to be offered to you. And when you do ask, make it easy to get that “yes.” You might not be ready to take the lead on a juicy new account, but you’re ready to listen in on the pitch or help the team with research. These will all be valuable learning experiences early in your career, so be a sponge."
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Carolyn Pampino, Vice President User Experience at SmartBear
"Read obsessively. Not just design blogs & books, but business blogs and books, too. It’s important to learn the language of the business to align your work with business outcomes. Learn about leading change, about influencing without authority, and apply one lesson at a time. Then, when someone opens a door of opportunity, run through it with all your glorious superpowers! "
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Erica Jenkins, Chief Product Officer at Crayon
"Be curious. Coursework can only teach you frameworks in technology. The more you dig into a business problem, the more you understand and generate empathy about how to solve it."
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Terry Trail, Senior Manager of PMO at Paperless Parts
"Know that most people are happy to help you; don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn / through your network to learn about their experiences and network with them. When you do meet to network, make it easy for them and come with questions so that they don’t have to drive the conversation."
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Meg Lister, VP, Product & Operations at Flipside Crypto
"In general, I think the best advice is to follow your passions – even if they don’t lead to a clear change or growth in your career now, you will learn and work best when you’re passionate about the subject, and that opens doors!"
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Angela Cantu, Sr. Engagement Manager at Fairmarkit
"Be humble. Be willing to learn ALL the time. Volunteer for projects that are out of your comfort zone. Don’t bring a problem without a Solution to your manager. And last, but not least, be passionate and love your work. Life is too short to not enjoy your career and personal life."
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Aoife Sullivan, Senior Director, Client Delivery at Vestmark
"Don’t be afraid to make the career choices that work for you and your family. When you’re ready, look for the opportunities that match your aspirations and speak up for yourself. Build strong relationships with your peers through your work and show that you can be counted on to do what you say you will do. If you are starting out as a manager, ask for a coach to help you as you navigate the new path. Look for mentors among the people you admire, ask for their guidance, and let them be your sounding board."
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Elizabeth Storti, Chief People Officer at PathAI
"Take chances and be curious! Focus on expanding your scope and impact while doing work that fuels you."
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Ashima Dua, Director of B2B Product at Outcomes4Me
"You can switch roles anytime or multiple times in your career. Try something, and if you don’t like it, try sometime else. Be curious about the work at your company and learn if that may be a fit for you!"
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Alison Durant, Chief Marketing Officer at EngageSmart
"In terms of long-term career goals, I can’t stress the importance of working with people you can learn from. Much like sports, you only get stronger, smarter, and more skilled by playing with folks who excel in areas you don’t. Also keep in mind that if you have joined the right team, you bring a unique point-of-view and skillset to the job. You want to be around people who inspire you to learn and grow, but who also support your curiosity and build the confidence of the team in positive ways."
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Anna Fisher, Chief Marketing Officer at Spiff
"Don’t get hung up on what title you think you should have, or the salary you believe you deserve. Just get in there, do the work, and get your hands dirty. If you work hard, you’ll move up quickly. If you can find something you love, things won’t feel as tedious along the way. Also, learn from others. Being new is actually a great opportunity, because there are so many smart people willing to help if you ask."
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Christine Ho, Senior Director, Technical Programs Lead at Motional
"Don’t compare yourself to others. You are a unique individual on your own adventure: you get to define, learn, and iterate through every step in your career. Also, you are your own biggest cheerleader and advocate. This advice is especially relevant for women who often aren’t as vocal in advocating for their advancement, whether it’s taking on a new project, position, or raise."
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Lauren Hughes, Senior Director of Customer Success Strategy and Operations at Forrester
"I believe strongly in Daniel Pink’s work which states that the key drivers of motivation are mastery, autonomy, and purpose, with purpose as the main driver. Keep looking for the organization where you connect with the why; why the company exists. In that organization, you will find the most opportunity to grow and develop."
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Caitlin Reiche, Chief Commercial Officer at Zus Health
"I wish I could say I planned it, but of course much of the evolution of my career happened organically. Early on in my career, I didn’t think of myself as a salesperson. However, over time, I realized that external, strategic, customer and partner-facing conversations were the most invigorating parts of all of my roles - that introspection helped me realize that a Chief Commercial Officer or a go-to-market leadership position is the best fit for my interests and skills."
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Sofia Kaufman, Chief People Officer at Aura
"You don’t need to know everything to do the job. Many times people (especially women) think that because they don’t meet every qualification on the job spec that they are not ready. Most people are willing to help you if you are willing to ask questions."
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Anita Peterson, VP of Client Services at InvoiceCloud
"Take every opportunity you get to get yourself in front of company leadership or a department you’re trying to work your way into—be prepared for these moments, because they can change your career. Don’t be afraid to take any entry-level position and work your way up to where you want to be.
And be yourself. I don’t believe in completely separating your work and home life. I want to work with well-rounded people because I think they make better colleagues. Tell me about your family, your hobbies, your favorite book. Let your sense of humor shine through. I want to work with YOU, not some anonymous corporate mannequin."
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Thuy Hill, Vice President, FP&A at PrismHR
"Don’t let your first job define your career. There are many graduates who know what they want to do coming out of college and it works for them. If you’re like me and not sure what you want/wanted to do, explore. You can refine your career along the way."
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Nicole Hildenbiddle, VP, User Experience at Rue Gilt Groupe
"There's a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I revisit, which is: "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." I felt so much pressure to have it all figured out when I graduated college, but there was no way I could have foreseen how my journey would unfold. Each step introduces you to new people and opportunities, so forget about the five-year plan, focus on the now, and take your first step."
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Rachel Bates, Chief Revenue Officer at WorkStep
"The biggest piece of advice I can give is to build a 20-year network. Interactions with every single person you encounter are important. Every relationship at every level matters. Staying in touch with people and keeping the connection even after all the time has passed speaks volumes. You should always be thinking about long-term brand and that comes from the relationships you build."
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Mariah Bridges, Sr. Director, Content & Community at InsideTracker
"I never thought my career would take me to where I am now, but I’m not surprised by it either. My only career goal has been to help people, grow outstanding communities, and learn along the way. So with that as a goal, I would say I’m right on track."
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Holly Knights, VP, Digital Marketing & Analytics at SmartBear
"Don’t be too picky about finding a job. When you get one, use it as a learning experience and get as much as you can out of it. Learn the business, and always ask questions. If you start at a marketing agency, try and understand your clients’ businesses. It’s a unique opportunity to have a broad perspective across industries to see what works and why."
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Christina Nelson, VP of Sales at NuvoAir
"Don’t be afraid to fail or just start over. You’re not stuck in one path just because of your major. Find your passion and go for it."
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Maayan Arbili, Senior Director of Customer Success at Aqua Security
"Don’t settle. Take the right role where you are happy, challenged and find the right cultural fit. "
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Anupama Sharma, Senior Vice President Of Technology & Delivery at Actabl
"Take risks, don’t be afraid of failure – raise your hand to take on new opportunities even if you are new to the functional area. These are great learning experiences."
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Nandini Karkare, VP of Sales Operations at EDB
"Be curious, ask questions. Sleep on it before you act or answer. And keep rolling the dice!"
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Mary Kaufman, SVP Product at Takeoff
"Find a job that sounds interesting to you and see where it takes you. Remember the job you will love 20 years from now might not exist today so just build your skillset out and learn as much as you can. So many career opportunities come from people you know or have worked with in the past, so keep in touch with those people you’ve enjoyed working with."
Check out the full Article View takeoff's COMPANY PAGE