Empowering Women in Tech: A Journey of Resilience and Leadership

An Unconventional Path to Leadership

In the dynamic and competitive world of technology, the journey to leadership, especially for women, is often fraught with challenges and obstacles. However, I have seen firsthand the resilience, determination, and the incredible potential that lies within the many women working in tech – especially those from unconventional backgrounds. I am surrounded by talented, successful women, all of whom have overcome adversity in their lives and careers. In fact, my own path to leadership has been unconventional, and while my story is not entirely unique within Televerde, it is unique in the business world. 

Before joining Televerde, my career was rooted in customer service and support roles. I spent a significant amount of time in call centers, navigating through various positions from client retention to inbound customer support. These roles provided a solid foundation and a deep understanding of the intricacies of customer service, setting the stage for my future career.

However, life took an unexpected turn when I found myself serving a five-year prison sentence. It was during this time that I learned about Televerde, a company that believes in second chances and the untapped potential of incarcerated women. Given my background and knowing that Televerde offered me the best chance of continuing my career after prison, I applied to work for the company. I was hired as a lead development representative, and I began my incredible journey within the company.

Rising Through the Ranks

My transition from a Lead Development Representative to a full-time administrative position dedicated to one of Televerde’s largest clients was swift. This role was pivotal, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the complexities of program execution and client value realization. It was here that I began to understand the critical nature of building solid client and internal relationships and how these relationships directly impact the client experience and drive revenue.

As I delved deeper into the world of Televerde, I took on the role of campaign coordinator, managing daily project functions, creating messaging and playbooks, and overseeing the development and training of agent teams. This experience was invaluable, allowing me to gain a complete understanding of our clients’ businesses, their go-to-market strategies, and the unique challenges they faced.

The evolution of my role only continued. I became one of the first messaging coordinators at Televerde, working closely with our training & development and operations teams to ensure our agents had the tools, training, and support they needed to succeed. I continued to dive deeper into our clients’ businesses, translating complex business strategies into actionable plans for our teams.

My journey with Televerde came full circle when I was afforded the opportunity to continue my career with the company upon my graduation from the program and release from prison. I quickly rose through the ranks, from Client Success Associate to Manager, and eventually took on leadership roles in new functions within the company, including Account Manager and eventually leading Client Strategy.

Today, I am proud to lead the Messaging and Project Coordination teams, the very teams that played a crucial role in my development. I also head Customer Experience and Revenue Operations, ensuring that every client interaction is best in class and driving revenues for both Televerde and our clients.

The Challenges and Triumphs of Women in Leadership

While the outcome of my story is positive, I know that the journey to leadership is not without its challenges, especially for women working the technology industry. Tech is still largely a male-dominated industry and can very much be a “boys club.” The male-dominated culture often leads to unconscious biases, stereotypes, and a lack of female representation in leadership roles. While many companies are making progress and creating space for more women, the pace of change is slow.

That’s why I was not surprised to learn that according to SHRM, 63% of all jobs lost during the pandemic were those held by women – a staggering statistic that shows how women still struggle with assumed gender roles and work-life balance. Much of the reason that women were disproportionately affected is that women are more likely than men to assume caregiving or childcare responsibilities. When schools and daycares closed, more women left their positions to take on caregiving roles at home.

Women are often slower to advance in their careers due to gender bias and societal assumptions. Some leaders even believe that women with families and working mothers are somehow less dedicated than their peers. The path to leadership can be difficult to navigate. However, the triumphs and successes that come with overcoming these challenges are immeasurable.

I may not have followed a traditional path or achieved a technical degree from a prestigious school, but I have over a decade of customer experience expertise and management experience. I have had the privilege of leading teams, developing strategies, and driving client success. What’s more, I have seen firsthand the impact that women can have in leadership roles, driving innovation, fostering collaboration, and creating a culture of inclusivity.

Strategies for Aspiring Women Leaders

For women aspiring to leadership roles in tech, the journey requires confidence, resilience, and a willingness to embrace challenges. Here are some strategies to help navigate this path:

Embrace Your Unique Journey: Your background and experiences are your strengths. Use them to your advantage and don’t be afraid to share your story.

Build a Strong Network: Connect with mentors, seek advice, and surround yourself with a supportive community.

Be Open to Learning: The tech industry is constantly changing. Stay curious, keep learning, and be adaptable.

Advocate for Inclusivity: Use your voice to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace, and be a mentor to other women aspiring to leadership roles.

The Future of Women in Tech Leadership

Tech companies must play their role in supporting women in leadership positions. Implementing mentoring programs, investing in professional development, and creating inclusive environments are just a few ways companies can foster a culture of diversity and inclusion. Encouraging work-day activities, hosting onsite experiences, and promoting a variety of activities can also help in making the workplace more accommodating for women.

Though women are still underrepresented in the tech industry, there are opportunities – especially given the focus in recent years on DE&I and ubiquitous inclusion. Women-founded tech startups are on the rise according to many sources, including Mind the Bridge and Crunchbase. Their data shows that the number of women-founded tech startups rose 50% in the last five years.

Women are valuable in any industry, but they bring unique and humanized insights to the tech space, and it shows with women leaning into tech startups supporting industries like healthcare, finance and manufacturing. Additionally, according to Tech Crunch, women founders raised more funding in 2023 than in 2022.

The future of women in tech leadership is bright, with more opportunities arising and a greater focus on diversity and inclusion. Women-led tech startups are on the rise, and funding for women-founded companies is increasing. As the industry continues to evolve, the need for diverse perspectives and innovative solutions becomes even more critical.

My journey from a call center to a leadership position at Televerde is a testament to the untapped potential of women in tech. The industry is at a tipping point, and by embracing diversity, supporting women in their leadership aspirations, and fostering an inclusive environment, we can unlock a world of innovation, creativity, and success. The future of tech depends on it.

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