Encouraging women to pursue careers in the traditionally male-dominated technology industry isn’t just about creating more job opportunities for women—gender diversity in the workplace can boost a company’s success. According to a report by Catalyst, businesses with the most females had, on average, 42 percent greater return on sales, 53 percent better return on equity and 66 percent greater return on invested capital. Workforce diversity also leads to teams that are more creative, innovative and capable of responding to changing market needs.
CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Technology (AWIT) Community is helping change the makeup of today’s tech workforce with initiatives focused on supporting women in the industry and inspiring girls and women to explore careers in technology. Here, two long-standing AWIT members—Cristina Greysman, chair of the AWIT executive committee and vice president, partner recruitment, at SAP, and Kathryn Rose, AWIT executive committee member, senior advisor at Achieve Unite, and CEO/founder of wiseHer—share what the community means to them and provide a sneak peek into AWIT’s latest project, which aims to connect women with technology career resources.
A Room of Their Own
Being inspired to pursue a career can be as simple as seeing someone who looks like you succeeding professionally, but both Kathryn and Cristina know what it feels like to navigate industries where they are among the only women. Their involvement in AWIT changed that—and now they are seeing the tech industry change as well.
“Six years ago, I went to the first [AWIT] community meeting at CompTIA’s All Member Meeting. At that time, I’d been in the tech industry about 15 years and most often the only woman in the room. I felt like I’d been representing my gender my entire career—and suddenly, there was a community to address this issue,” said Cristina. “It was so nice to be in a room filled with women in tech.”
Kathryn’s experience was similar and championing women who choose careers in male-dominated field has always been a passion of hers, which made participating in AWIT a natural fit. “Women are innovative and often excel at soft skills, which can be a huge advantage in technology—technology careers really can be a natural fit for many women, they just need to be made aware that it’s an option.”
But, Kathryn notes, it’s important to understand that ultimately, the goal is to make the industry more inclusive to all people. “It’s not about women instead of men. It’s about people working alongside one another.”
As workforce needs change and more jobs demand a hybrid of business and technical skills, it’s important that women and girls learn about, stay current with and feel comfortable applying technology in any field—whether or not they see themselves becoming software engineers or coders.
“Technology isn’t going away. This is the future, and we have to adapt. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a baker or clothing designer, you still have to learn about technology. It’s everywhere, all the time, and to thrive in our lives and in the future, we have to accept and embrace it. Women in particular have not been groomed to embrace technology,” said Kathryn. “Understanding technology is now critical in many jobs. You’re a part of the whole ecosystem, and there are a number of different technology career paths that don’t involve coding.”
Women also need to be represented in leadership positions as technology continues to dominate the marketplace. “Women are users, consumers and buyers—as much as men—so it’s important for our point of view to be included as technology products are being designed, manufactured, marketed and sold. We need a voice and a seat at the table,” said Cristina.
Bringing It All Together
In the last decade, hundreds of organizations have launched with missions focused on introducing young women to STEM fields and helping professional women navigate careers in the tech industry. But locating these resources can be difficult. AWIT’s latest project, the AWIT TechGuide, which launches later this year, aims to provide an online directory that compiles all of the tech resources available to women and girls.
“What if we took the hundreds of organizations that have the same goals and values and brought them together somehow—created a single source destination—where any woman or girl or parent interested in the industry could access information and resources about the tech industry. For the mom who wants to go back to work looking for options, to the girl who wants to learn more about the tech industry, to military personnel looking to translate their skills to corporate IT, to the female startup founder seeking investors and advice—basically create the ‘Google’ for women in tech,” said Cristina.
Kathryn agrees. “There are a lot of people out there looking for resources, who may not know where to start. The thinking behind [the AWIT TechGuide] is that there are so many organizations and not all of them have a lot of exposure. As part of CompTIA, we have the ability to create something that can give them visibility and direct traffic to them. It also gives organizations the opportunity to find out about each other and potentially work together on initiatives—ultimately, increasing their success and impact.”
CompTIA AITP members have the opportunity to join four CompTIA communities, including Advancing Women in Technology, Advancing Diversity in Technology, Future Leaders and Technology Lifecycle Services. Communities also provide CompTIA AITP members with opportunities to network, share ideas and develop meaningful programming and initiatives. Find out more about CompTIA communities.
Not a member? Join CompTIA AITP to get involved today.
About Cristina Greysman
Vice President, Partner Recruitment, SAP
Chair, Advancing Women in Technology Community
Cristina Greysman is an enthusiastic promoter and idea generator who consistently seeks synergies among people and businesses in order to create new opportunities. An entrepreneur at heart, Cristina seeks out needs and fills them in her profession and in her community.
Cristina’s 20-year career in technology spans both startups and corporate America in the Philadelphia region, specializing in business development, strategic alliances and partner program development. In the fifth grade, Cristina begged her dad for a computer, which he finally purchased even though he had no idea what she would use it for. Those early experiences “playing” on the computer led to an interest in the Internet and the co-founding of a website design firm just out of college. Today, Cristina is an advocate for women pursuing careers in the technology industry, serving on committees such as Philly Startup Leaders, CompTIA’s Advancing Women in IT community and the Women in Tech Summit, and speaking on the topic of helping women “Dream IT."
About Kathryn Rose
Senior Advisor, Achieve Unite
Executive Council, Advancing Women in Technology Community
Kathryn is an award-winning author and speaker on sales and online marketing topics. She is the author of nine books including two best-sellers: Solving the Social Media Puzzle and Return on Relationship. For seven years, Kathryn was a successful
marketing consultant, creating engaged communities totaling over 3 million fans, followers and connections for her clients.
Kathryn has a 20-plus-year career in sales and marketing and was a top Wall Street sales executive responsible for over $100 million in sales per year. Kathryn is the founder and CEO of wiseHer, an innovative technology platform that provides on demand advice for women in business, career and life. Her career in technology and the IT channel began at UBM Channel (publishers of CRN magazine) where she was the top salesperson. She speaks at many industry events, including CompTIA ChannelCon, Xchange, IT Best of Breed, IBM Partner World, Citrix Summit, Qlik Qonnections, Red Hat Partner Summit, Dell World and more.