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From Challenge to Change: 6 Ways Women in Tech Can Thrive

International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of the strides made towards gender equality and the work that remains to be done. In celebration, we’re exploring the evolving professional roles of women, particularly in the technology and Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) sectors. 

international women's day

Below, we explore the progression, challenges, and transformative changes marking women’s journey in the workplace, through conversations with a few of the many women driving industry transformation in their own unique ways. 

Their conversations are important, for they underscore the ongoing need for advocacy, policy reform, and cultural shifts to foster truly inclusive professional environments. 

The Challenge: The evolution of women’s professional roles continues to face historical and systemic barriers, especially in fields like technology, Ethics & Compliance and GRC, where gender imbalances remain stark. 

Advice from the Field 

Embrace Flexibility and Seek Mentorship 

Robbi-Lynn Watnik, Senior Consultant, Strategic Management Services, believes the progressive shift in workplace culture proves illuminating: “Leadership is more understanding if a child is ill; with the increased acceptance of working remotely, women can fulfill their professional responsibilities at home while caring for a child or other sick relative.”  

Leverage Mentorship and Recognize Your Value 

“I’ve seen more mentoring in the compliance space, which has been great as a younger professional. I have all these amazing and smart individuals to learn from who have entered the industry in so many ways, and I have yet to encounter someone who was not interested in handing out some words of wisdom, particularly women,” says Natalie Lesnick, JD, CHC, CHPC, Consultant, Strategic Management Services, LLC.  

“I also see more women doing meaningful work. Talented women aren’t stupid–we know when we are carrying the burden of slackers, and no one wants to stay where they are not valued,” Lesnick adds. 

Ensure Equal Opportunities 

“One of the most effective strategies for retaining talented women is providing equal opportunities for career advancement. It’s crucial to ensure women have access to the same opportunities that may have been previously overlooked. While talent is distributed equally, opportunities have not always been, and it’s important to address this imbalance,” says Jennifer Huffman, Vice President at Workplace Solutions Relationship Manager.  

“As more women bring their authentic selves to the workplace, they can fully utilize their skills, resulting in high performance and the effective use of their unique abilities within the team. This sense of liberation, combined with women operating in roles that align with their purpose, significantly contributes to retention,” she explains. “Women are drawn to environments where they can thrive, and providing opportunities for mentorship, allyship, and sponsorship has proven to be an effective method for cultivating a pipeline of talent and facilitating future career advancement, which is beneficial for succession planning.” 

Drive a More Equity-Focused Workplace

Taguma Nicholas, Director of Data, Entegrata, emphasizes the importance of visibility and advocacy for women:

“The tech industry has seen significant strides in retaining talented women through several approaches. Predictive Analytics plays a key role, by analyzing performance data, to enable the tailoring of career advancement opportunities specifically for women. Recognizing the diverse responsibilities and challenges women often face outside the workplace, flexible work hours and remote work options allow women to balance personal and professional lives leading to a significant improvement in job satisfaction and retention rates,” she explains.

“This not only supports women but also promotes a healthier, more productive work environment for all. Pairing experienced female leaders with emerging talents fosters an environment of growth and empowerment. This approach goes beyond traditional career guidance, focusing on advocacy and navigating the unique challenges women face in the workplace. These initiatives retain women and cultivate a richer culture of diversity and inclusion, leading to innovative solutions,” she says.

Promote Authentic Support and Action 

Christine Adeline, Chief Product Officer, SAI360, also calls for authenticity in organizational efforts to support women’s advancement in the workplace. She also echoes the sentiment that policies alone are not enough and emphasizes the need for more genuine support to take hold across all corners of an organization. 

“Diversity and inclusion programs are crucial…but organizations need to walk the talk,” she emphasizes.  

Foster Belonging and Flexibility 

Nikita Thompson, Bank Secrecy Act Officer at SpiritBank, adds: “To retain highly qualified talent in this industry, a sense of belonging must be established from the beginning and cultivated from within the organization.” This can be in the form of a mentorship, professional development opportunities, or seizing a joint committee role, she says. 

“A common practice we have seen within organizations is to provide flexible work opportunities, in addition to periodically taking time to discuss expectations, in an effort to connect them to their current role and increase the likelihood of job satisfaction,” she explains. 

“Providing an open environment where dialogue is encouraged routinely, and recognition for a job well done, boosts self-confidence and impacts perspective. It also removes any constricting beliefs that keep women from reaching their full potential,” Thompson says. “It’s important to generate a fearless and tenacious mindset that does not resign to the limitations that society may put on your skillset.”  

“Always remembering that you determine your destiny and that we are working to build something great. “ 

Final Thoughts 

The journey of women in professional roles is marked by continuous evolution, shaped by the relentless efforts of those who advocate for equality and inclusivity.  

These insights highlight challenges faced but also chart a course toward a more equitable future.  

As workplace cultures become more accommodating and opportunities for women expand, the hope is for an environment where gender no longer dictates one’s professional trajectory. 

Let’s Start a Conversation

Happy International Women’s Day

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