***In honor of Women's History Month 2018, the women of ExtraHop are sharing their experiences in and around the tech industry. These blogs are in their own words. Read the full series here!***
How are you celebrating International Women's Day?
I'm not - I feel that, as women, if we are truly equal, we do not need a special day dedicated to defining us as different.
Why do you think it's important to have women represented in tech?
Because women are huge consumers of tech, they can provide different perspectives on design and function. They are also more people-aware in general, so they can bring that intuition to the tech industry, resulting in better teamwork and dynamics, as well as more usable ideas that are more socially driven, instead of purely technology-driven.
Who is a woman you draw inspiration from?
My mother. She continually reinvented herself: school teacher, guidance counsellor, mentor, and owner of multiple businesses, right up until her death last year at 78. She had enormous courage to try different things at different ages, was persistent and determined, and yet always approached her work as a service to others.
What's the biggest challenge facing women in tech today?
Work/Life balance. Expectations are still rife that a woman has to do it all.
What's something that's changed over the course of your career that has surprised you?
The swing back of tech companies to realizing that soft-skills are critical to being successful.
What is your job? What are your day to day responsibilities?
I am a senior trainer. I go onsite to customers (or do shorter remote training sessions) after they have purchased or renewed ExtraHop, and teach their users. My role is critical in increasing internal adoption, and helping to evangelize how ExtraHop can help make them successful.
What about your job do you find most fulfilling?
Making tech learning fun! There is a preconception that training must be boring, especially if it is training on another tool, so I like to break that mold and make it interactive and light-hearted, with exercises and prizes. The key differentiator for ExtraHop training is that we do it on the customer's own live data, so no two sessions are the same. It resonates so much more with the users to see things in real-time in their environment during training.
Any advice for young women just starting their careers?
Avoid preconceptions of what your life will or should be. There are always going to be twists and turns during your career that you never planned for or expected, and you will find yourself doing things you never imagined… and loving them!