Home / 15 tips for women in tech and those who support them from ASU’s female tech leaders

15 tips for women in tech and those who support them from ASU’s female tech leaders

BY SJEANINE – MAY 25, 2021

What does it mean to be a female leader in technology? How has the workforce landscape evolved over the last two decades, and what challenges still remain? These are just some of the questions posed during the Powerhouse Panel: Women in Tech Leadership “Lunch and Learn” on May 13 during Empower 2021, ASU’s fourth annual IT community retreat. Attendees were inspired by the honest advice and straightforward experiences shared by three of the university’s female leaders in technology*:

  • Jess Evans, UTO’s Chief Operations and Digital Transformation Officer
  • Donna Kidwell, Chief Information Security and Digital Trust Officer
  • Leah Lommel, EdPlus Assistant Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

*Moderated by UTO’s Executive Director, Creative and Communications Samantha Becker.

The outcome: aha! moments, thought-provoking ideas and sound advice for the 380 participants who joined this session. From breaking barriers to building bridges, here are 15 pieces of advice from Evans, Kidwell and Lommel:

Mentorship & allyship

  1. “Think about who you are surrounding yourself with and who are your partners in making success happen. Work together to figure out how you’re going to climb the next mountain.”
    - Kidwell

  2. “We all have to remember to have each other’s backs. It’s not a competition between men and women, between women. There are no mean girls allowed in the business whatsoever.”
    - Lommel

  3. “There are a lot of people out there who want to see you aspire to whatever you want to be. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter where you came from. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in tech forever or not. If you have aspirations that are higher than where you currently are, seek those out who have the position that you want. Talk to them.” - Evans

  4. “Remember to pay it forward no matter where you are in your career. It always comes back in droves for you.” - Lommel

  5. “We have to help each other be successful. It's both men and women of all ethnic diversity. We're all in the room for a reason. Every single one of us in the room has something to contribute at all times.” - Evans 

  6. “[When it comes to a mentor], choose someone who helps you feel comfortable in your skin and can help you blossom into your own power. When you find mentors that value that, that’s when doors open because you are your authentic self.” - Evans

  7. “Recognize the work that people are doing — this goes for female and male colleagues  — we don’t spend enough time saying thank you.” - Lommel

  8. “When you have the valuable proposition of recognizing that everyone in the room, regardless of who they are and where they came from, has something of value to add, barriers get broken down.” - Evans

Be your best self

  1. You’re never too old to relearn things or to change your perspective. Read. Listen to podcasts. Take classes every so often. Life isn’t about the destination; it’s about the journey.”
    - Lommel

  2. “Roles that are going to be available to you are ones that we’re co-creating right now. Your opportunity is to step back and say, ‘What does my contribution look like when I match it to the problems that I see? How can I take that contribution and turn it into a great role, a great piece on a team, the next great project?’ Be entrepreneurial and think about how your contribution fits.” - Kidwell

  3. “You’re only bound by the limitations you put on yourself. Let’s create our own destiny.”
    - Evans

  4. “It does help, regardless of where you’re at right now, to have a real sense of who you are, how you want to contribute and better yourself to improve your contribution. The rest shakes itself out.” - Kidwell

How to be a successful woman in tech

  1. “I’m not surprised by the narrative of my career, but I never would have guessed it; the roles available to the next generation are being co-created right now — learning goes across the age spectrum.” - Kidwell

  2. We can’t hold the past accountable for what we’re doing today. We need to just keep moving forward.” - Lommel

  3. “[In technology] you have a lot of options. It’s one of the best places to be and it’s only going to get better.” - Evans

Thank you to these strong female mentors for sharing their words of wisdom with the Empower 2021 community and beyond! Want to see the full conversation? Watch the recording now! 

For more on the Empower 2021 conference, read the recap!


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