International Woman’s Day
Women in Technology
CyberReef is a diverse company. Looking at some stats about women within our team vs the industry standards we find:
- 30% of our team is female, 4% higher than the tech industry standard.
- The percentage of women who work at CyberReef has increased 5% over the last two years, while the percentage of women in tech has decreased 2% year over year since 2020.
- Our c-suite is 25% female. According to benchmarks, only 10.9% of tech leaders are women.
Today in celebration of International Woman’s Day, I wanted to take a minute to highlight some of the women from across our team.
Laura Pfender – Customer Success Manager
Where was your first job in tech? CyberReef. I came in as a business development manager.
Did you have any female heroes when you were younger? Not really. It is a generational thing. When there is a woman or man today do something to make a change, we point that out to kids. I never got that push.
What goes through your mind when you think of women who joined the workforce before you? In tech particular, it is a tough industry to break into. There is a still a gap between men and women now. I can not imagine how hard it would have been 10/15 years ago. We need to get to the point where when you say you work in tech or cybersecurity the response isn’t “how really?” we need to get to a point where it is not unusual.
What is the one thing you know now about women in the workforce you wish you had known earlier in your career? We can do every thing or do anything. We can be CEO, CTO, etc. I have always worked in industries that are male dominated in the C level suites. Working now with CyberReef and Rachel’s LinkedIn, it has opened my eyes to the fact women can do anything and should.
What would you tell women who are just starting in tech today? What would you like them to know? Have confidence and don’t be afraid to speak up. Share your opinions and thoughts.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about women in the workplace? You don’t have to be a genius to work in tech. it is like most other fields, there is a learning curve but it is not rocket science.
Why do you think women don’t go into tech now? There is a belief that you have to be tech-focused or tech-minded to go into the industry and your really don’t.
If you had to name one woman who inspires you today, who would that be? I would say Rachel Turkus and Tina Lehman – they are both at CyberReef. But they have both taught me a lot.
Siva Karuturi – Senior Software Engineer
What was your first job in tech? Coming from electronics background and settling in IT was not cakewalk for me. Last year of my college, I attended a demo session given by startup company on HTML, CSS and MEAN technologies which fascinated me to create basic webpage. I realized I enjoyed the process of solving coding errors and learnt much more in the process. At the end of my college, I have concentrated on the skills needed to land in the IT job. I started off my career in tech as a Trainee at Pyramid Soft Sol, India. During trainee period, I was shared resource among multiple projects for different domains. I worked as Data Entry, Tester, Developer with various technologies. In 4 to 6 months, I designated to Software Engineer and worked as a Front-end developer for a U.S billing project.
Did you have any female heroes when you were younger?
- My grandmother Venkata Lakshmi who earned and took care of her own needs till her last breath.
- My aunt Veera Vani is smart and strive to be independent. She got an opportunity to work as a Math professor but couldn’t serve it because she got married. But she didn’t quite her dream to be independent. She worked many jobs which can be done at home like online marketing, tutoring, and tailoring. She reminds me of popular quote “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
- Finally, My mom Bhagya Lakshmi who gave me another answer for “Why women need to work?”. I remember she once said, Job is not for Money but for “Self-respect”.
What goes through your mind when you think of women who joined the workforce before you? Nothing but Immense respect especially for single mom’s who take care of kids and balancing both personal and professional life.
What is the one thing you know now about working in tech, you wish you had known earlier in your career? That excelling in one skill is not enough. Working in tech is like updating software in our phones periodically. Just keep learning and update yourself…
What would you tell women who are just starting in tech today? What would you like them to know? Landing in tech Job is easier but sustaining in it is where your journey starts. Coordination and teamwork play key role. Be helpful to aspirants and don’t hesitate to seek help or question. Always credit the person who guided in your tasks. Finally, Give your 100% and keep learning. There surely will be ups and downs. I personally like It’s okay if you try and fail but it’s not okay if you fail to try…
Why do you think women don’t go into tech now? I guess, one of the major reasons is motherhood. I have heard stories in my country for companies not interested in hiring females because once they get married, they relocate to the husband’s place. If the couple work in the same state, then there should be no problem. But, if both work in different states, eventually in most cases wife goes to husband’s location. Companies find this tedious because they invest in training a person and EOD, they get a resignation mostly in women cases putting reason as marriage or motherhood. Companies also think twice or thrice to give higher positions to women since they may not be available at critical times in office citing maternity leave.
If you had to name one woman who inspires you today, who would that be? Sudha Murthy
Ashton Wong – Regional Sales Manager
What was your first job in tech? Verizon. I was there for 14 years. It was an incredible experience.
Did you have any female heroes when you were younger? Rogue from X-Men, she was my bad ass superhero. Her vulnerability and compassion for people, yet she was strong. She really struggled with the power she had. She could hurt someone by touching them. But she had such a big heart. Watching her figure out how to balance that always struck a cord with me.
What goes through your mind when you think of women who joined the workforce before you? My mom worked for Lockheed Martin. She was a secretary initially. She went to school while there and got her masters in computer science. She wasn’t around when I was young because she worked during the day and went to school at night. I knew from watching my mom, I was going to have to work harder and be more strategic to be recognized. I went into tech because my mom was tech. She paid the path that shows me what was possible.
What is the one thing you know now about women in the workforce you wish you had known earlier in your career? Negotiating pay. I never negotiated my pay when I started in tech, and as I continue to move up, it just took what they gave me, In 2017, I earned the right to be in the Women in Wireless at Verizon. I heard Tammy Irwin speak, who was the CEO of Verizon Business, and she said only 17% will women negotiate their pay. She said that women stayed silent out of fear. Fear they would not just get told no, but not get the job after all. At the point where you are negotiating pay, they have offered you the job. They wanted you for a reason. So ask for the money. Just ask.
What would you tell women who are just starting in tech today? What would you like them to know? Have confidence in yourself when applying for jobs. It’s funny because men can feel 70% confident about a job requirement and still not know the 30%, but yet they have enough confidence to say “let’s do this.” So, I think the biggest thing that I would say for women in tech is go for it. You will learn a lot. And that’s the thing. This is your journey and as you are working you will constantly be learning. Go for it with the mind you are going to rock it.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about women in the workplace? I think it goes back to confidence. Women are often master multi-taskers and do not get the credit for all that they do.
Why do you think women don’t go into tech now? It is difficult for a woman to stand in a room full of men and ask questions. To say “I don’t know. Can you explain that to me?” There are a lot of questions when you start in a new industry and the tech industry is not inviting.
If you had to name one woman who inspires you today, who would that be? Gal Gadot. She was Miss Israel in 2004 and then went on to serve in the Israel Defense Force for 2 years as a combat fitness instructor. She has fought for women and women’s right through out her career. Something as simple as having a female costume designer in the second Wonder Woman, allowed women to still appear strong and beautiful without being overtly sexual. She was also pregnant while filming that movie. Just an incredible role model for young girls.
Cheryl DePriest – Director, Strategic Partnerships
What was your first job in tech? Regional Sales Manager – CyberReef – CEO, Hilton Nicholson immediately recognized my passion and knew he could teach me the software side of things. Came to the table with a highly successful career in fashion and ZERO knowledge of technology – I jumped at the chance to try something new and LOVE it!
Did you have any female heroes when you were younger? Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel – She defied limitations and encouraged women to do the same in fashion, and beyond.
What goes through your mind when you think of women who joined the workforce before you? Trailblazers! Women who did not have all the answers but had the confidence to learn new skills and grow.
What is the one thing you know now about working in tech, you wish you had known earlier in your career? Technology is a team sport – it requires collaboration and a diverse set of voices.
What would you tell women who are just starting in tech today? What would you like them to know? Tech is a vast field – find your niche but continue to learn and acquire new skills as the opportunities for growth and career advancement are endless.
Why do you think women don’t go into tech now? The answer is simple – when asked who had the greatest influence on their decision to pursue a career in tech, 60% of female respondents said a family member or friend, 40% said a teacher. EARLY encouragement is KEY, Mentors are ESSENTIAL!!!!
If you had to name one woman who inspires you today, who would that be? In the tech space, Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO of Girls who Code, an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the tech sector and empower young girls to pursue 21st century opportunities.
About Rachel Turkus
Rachel Turkus, Senior Vice President of Marketing at CyberReef, has led channel marketing programs at both partner and supplier organizations over the past eight years. In every role, she has been challenged to build or shore up marketing processes and teams that were heavy on field marketing but lacking digital prowess required for modern channel programs. Most notably, Turkus has been named to women in the Channel three years in a row, named a Rising Star in 2021 by Cloud Girls, as well as been a part of the Alliance of Channel Women.