tech pioneers, women in tech

Wendy Johansson, GVP, Experience Transformation Lead, Publicis Sapient

Advancing your career as a woman in tech isn’t as simple as the merits of your work. Aside from your work, you’ll need 3 components to empower yourself to succeed: Confidence, Community, Continuity.

Confidence is a long and drawn subject, but one way to “fake it until you make it” with career confidence is being able to quantify and qualify the value of your work. You may have doubts about the impact you have or feel impostor syndrome on a daily basis, but the nice part of tech roles is that the data is often there for you to tell a story. What major projects did your work influence? What value do those projects have to the company? How would you demonstrate the improvement in quality or quantity of your work over time? Tell your story and you’ll find the natural confidence that comes with the data.

Community is an important advantage to stave off the isolation and self-doubt that minority demographics face in an often monotype tech environment. Joining a community of mentors, peers, and potential mentees allows you to learn from the women who have paved the path before you, the women who are walking alongside you, and the women looking up to you. A community isn’t available at your company? Grab coffee or go for a walking 1:1 with female colleagues and get to know them and their stories. Don’t gatekeep your community to other women in tech roles, but open your network up to all women around you in your tech career – from marketing to sales to operational roles. Create your own tribe.

Continuity is building the muscle memory – you wouldn’t go to the gym once and expect long-term benefits. Even after a particular instance of advancing your career, such as a promotion or a new job, you need to keep practicing Confidence and Community. Quantifying and qualifying the value of your work becomes natural if you set regular checkpoints with yourself. Monthly goals? Weekly task lists checked off? This muscle will help you ease into a stronger sense of confidence in your tech career. Continuity of community is just as important. If you leave a company, or even move to a new city, keep in touch with the tribe you’ve built. They’ve seen you grow and surpass challenges, so their advice and perspectives will always be most holistic and inclusive of your journey.

About the author

Wendy built her 25-year career on leading UX teams as an early employee at successful early-stage startups. She was the first designer at Loopt, Sam Altman’s YC-funded startup that later sold for $43 million. As the UX manager at Ooyala, she helped build the marketing, videography, and UX teams before the company were sold to Telstra for $400M. Wendy also led the global UX team at AppNexus, sold to AT&T for $1.6B, before joining Wizeline.

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