Women in Technology

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Encouraging Women in STEM

  • 1.  Encouraging Women in STEM

    Posted Jan 19, 2018 02:21 PM
    Hey Ladies,

    I was listening to the webinar earlier today on encouraging girls to get into STEM fields. It really struck me how so many of the stories we heard were about women who didn't recognize their skills or who had been shot down by a coworker or teacher who should have been encouraging.

    After the session I was discussing this with my buddy and fellow #CRMUGDC Chapter member @Marghet Hager because my experience has been a bit different. Confidence in a male dominated environment has never been an issue for me. When I was in high school I was the only person in my computer science class because no one else wanted to take it but they still had the class for me in case that was the career path I took. It was so for most of my college career I was the only girl in class. Thankfully I had very supportive teachers (one year I was giving out valentines and one of the boys tried to give me a hard time to which the teacher responded "Be nice, this is the only valentine you will get this year").​​ Fast forward to when I got involved in CRMUG, I took over leading the DC Chapter even though I was the youngest member and one of very few customers who attended the meeting.

    Anyways, just wanted to raise this question for the whole group - how do you feel your past learning experiences have shaped your current confidence or lack of confidence in your skills? What are the ways other women can encourage those who are struggling?

    Kylie Kiser
    CRM Specialist
    Edelman Financial
    Fairfax VA

  • 2.  RE: Encouraging Women in STEM

    Posted Jan 22, 2018 09:20 AM

    I was one of the panelists on the Webinar. I am in my fifties so my experience as a youth may have been significantly earlier than yours. That being said, I was the only girl in 2 years of high school drafting, one of a few in Physics and the same for advanced placement math. As I also stated during the webinar, I had a fifth-grade teacher (female) that showed no gender bias when encouraging growth in math skills. She had an independent study program that she created and mentored. This program set me up to excel in math -  I learned I was good at math, I never thought otherwise.

    When I started in the workforce detailed receipts were handwritten and cash registers didn't tell you how much change to give back, fax machines were just being introduced and there was maybe one computer in an office. I was fortunate to be mentored and encouraged by men that saw my potential early on when it came to technology. I learned how to power up a computer on the job.

    Confidence, even for a confident person, can come and go. You may start with a company and a role with confidence. Then before you are aware, a toxic environment erodes your confidence, no matter how strong it may be.  If you find yourself in this situation, it may be best to move on.

    I would encourage anyone "struggling" to have at a minimum, the confidence to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or inability, it is a sign of strength and knowledge. Ask for help in completing a technical task, how to be a better presenter, getting a response from a co-worker or how to reply to a difficult email. Ask men, ask women, ask co-workers, or ask your boss - just ask. You will build relationships and earn respect in the process. You should never consider yourself too old, experienced or confident to ask for help when you need it!

    Cynthia Priebe
    Senior Business Analyst and Project Manager
    Liberty Grove Software
    Grafton OH

  • 3.  RE: Encouraging Women in STEM

    Posted Jan 22, 2018 10:59 AM
    Thanks @Cynthia Priebe. I completely agree! I think it is easier for me to be confident in my skills within the user group where I can control the perception vs in my day to day job. It's difficult if your decisions/authority are always questioned to continue to be a strong voice. It can be easier in that environment to take a back seat instead of fighting the same battles over and over again.

    I think everyone needs to be comfortable asking for help! It seems there is always an excuse not to ask either you do not want to bother someone or you want to appear like you can do everything. Neither of these are good. We always need help. And I would always rather someone ask for help early instead of make a mistake we need to clean up later. So I hope that I can make sure people feel comfortable asking me questions and also show that I need help by asking too.


    Also, the webinar from Friday I referenced was posted this morning. I highly encourage ​everyone to listen in and share your thoughts!

    Recording and/or Presentation Materials:

    CRMUG Content Library:  https://www.crmug.com/viewdocument/giving-back-promoting-stem-for-gir?CommunityKey=deff0985-b285-4252-b61b-a0bcf8681b5d&tab=librarydocuments

    Kylie Kiser
    CRM Specialist
    Edelman Financial
    Fairfax VA

  • 4.  RE: Encouraging Women in STEM

    Posted Jan 22, 2018 03:29 PM
    You what gives me confidence? Watching awesome women like @Kylie Kiser kick butt in her profession. Example: when she's leading our CRMUG chapter - I'm taking tips not just on on CRM, as well as leadership and presentation skills. I feel like I'm walking away one inch taller.

    Same for when @Cynthia Priebe lead that webinar - it gave me more confidence to be vulnerable and honest with myself. That can help lead to some real and lasting change in behavior.

    Honestly, I learn from watching others do. ​​Kylie and Cynthia - don't stop what you are doing. ​​

    Marghet Hager
    Member Community Manager
    Dynamic Communities

  • 5.  RE: Encouraging Women in STEM

    Posted Jan 23, 2018 11:23 AM
    I look forward to listening to the webinar!  It sounds wonderfully informative and encouraging!

    A recent change personally has had a positive impact on me:  Instead of saying, "I can't do such-and-such.  Will you please help me?", I'm training myself to say, "I'm having trouble doing such-and-such.  Will you please help me?"

    That small change opens my mind more to learn from the given help as opposed to accepting it, saying thank you, and going along on my way.

    It's been fun to see how much difference that small change in my thought and speech processes has made in my daily work!

    Best to all,


    Ann Riddle
    President & CEO
    TW Garner Food Company
    Winston Salem NC

  • 6.  RE: Encouraging Women in STEM

    Posted Jan 28, 2018 07:09 PM
    Growing up in the 70's was an amazing time for change in the world of women.  I have an older sister that I cold watch make choices available to her, that were not available only a year or two prior to her starting high school.  I also saw my stay home mother, begin to work and fearlessly embrace a full time position after being home for 15 years and excel at it and continue to maintain our home and family life, with a house full of teenagers.

    My dad was an amazing man, and always told us girls we can do anything we want.  I remember him telling my mother it was ok if I wanted to wear my brothers combat boots with my petticoat and climb trees.  I was fortunate to be nurtured and told the sky is the limit and to pursue my dreams.

    I am sure people have tried to shut me down, or not liked that I was in the room, but to be honest I am totally oblivious to other peoples issues because I am so busy doing my thing.  My biggest weakness is when someone doesn't like me for no apparent reason, I just can't get a grasp on that and feel really bad, trying to remedy the problem and really there is no way to change the fact that they just do not like me.  Freaks me out!

    First I would tell them to start doing the superman pose for 5 minutes in their mirror in the morning every day.  It is amazing what that does for you :)  My daughter is 19 and has learned the benefit of doing the superman pose.  She has been on a competitive winter-guard team for the past four years and every time they are waiting in the wings she can be seen doing her superman pose before their performance.

    Next if they need an extra boost, use their lipstick to write "I AM FABULOUS AND AMAZING" on that Mirror!

    Eventually they will start believing it.  Stop hanging around people that bring them down, and start hanging around the people they want to be like.  We all know those people that lift our spirits and those who suck the life out of us.

    Become part of a community that tells you you are "AWESOME AND AMAZING WOMEN"  and "YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO"  (Hint - Hint)

    Write positive affirmations in a journal about yourself daily, own them, believe them, live them.  Then when someone comes up against them and tries to bring you down, do not sink to their level.  Take a deep breath and remind yourself of who you are and what you are made of and RISE ABOVE!  Never and I mean never wallow with the pigs!

    Now get out there and sparkle ladies!

    Holly Kutil ~ NAVUG All-Star
    American Ring/Business Intelligence Dir.
    Solon, OH 44139

    **Great Lakes Chapter**
    ♥♥ Women In Dynamics ♥♥