International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8th to honor women's achievements, promote the global support of women, and raise awareness about gender disparities.
InformData is so proud to have a phenomenal group of talented female directors, and we are excited to highlight them and their leadership within our organization. Introducing:
We asked the group a series of questions about being a woman in leadership, their advice, and how women can help each other prosper within their organizations. Get ready to be inspired!
Q: What do you think helped you the most to make a career as a woman? What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Rissa – Having confidence in my abilities and not being afraid to take calculated risks. Once you gain confidence, it becomes easier to use your voice to advocate for yourself, your teammates, your clients, and topics you're passionate about. Use that same confidence to push yourself to try new things; you never know what opportunities may unfold when you explore new territories.
Jamie – I have never put any limitations on what I could achieve or do in my career. I have always strived to be a positive impact within the company and to be adaptable to find solutions to challenges. My grandfather always used to tell me, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That has guided me through my career to always put myself out there for new opportunities and be willing to put in the hours to achieve my goals.
Dorinda – Success is the key word. Each person needs to know what that means to them in relationship to their personal life goals and career goals. I have measured my success by setting my goals and decisions on my desire to learn, to adapt to change, to lead by being a partner in others success, to provide value and to enjoy the work that goes into supporting the mission and the people that are in this journey alongside of me.
Ryan – I was raised to believe that with enough hard work and determination, there are no limitations to what I can accomplish. As women, we innately have a special set of attributes that are often missing in high level leadership teams. I’ve learned that used correctly, they can assist with producing extraordinary results.
Melissa – Having a good mentor is key to success.
Q: What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Rissa – (1) Be curious. Ask questions, seek feedback, and approach constructive criticism as an opportunity to learn & grow. (2) Be agile. The only constant is change, and being able to roll with the punches will benefit you tremendously. (3) Own your mistakes. Raise your hand as soon as you realize you’ve messed up and start working on a plan to fix it. Demonstrating accountability will help build your credibility.
Jamie – Never allow yourself to be put into a box. Often time we are our own worst critics and we convince ourselves that there is no point in trying to be different. Women are often times labeled as being too emotional for business or leadership. This does not have to be a weakness. You can turn it into a strength to use throughout your career.
Dorinda – I would advise that you take advantage of the time, effort, and fortitude that generations of women before who have put forth in order to help ‘break the glass ceiling”; who have fought to forge and see new laws enacted and who have paved a path for gender equality in advancement opportunities. I would advise that you do not measure your success by others ‘yardsticks’. I would advise that you are to be your best “self-champion” to your goals. I would advise that to clear the path for your equality in advancement towards those goals, that you gain the education, skillset, and tenure to make your opportunity for success equal to the measure of the career that YOU want.
Ryan – When you’re told you’re “too much”, it’s always coming from someone who is too little. If you’re being held an arm’s length distance away from what you want, lean in, take a step closer. Remarkable things happen when it gets uncomfortable.
Melissa – Never stop learning and being open to change.
Q: Do or did you have a woman leader as a mentor, or a specific woman who inspired you and why? / Have you drawn professional inspiration from other women?
Jamie – I did have a mentor. She was the first person that helped me understand that there is a huge difference between a boss and a leader. She fought fiercely for her team and really helped me create a mental model of the type of leader that I want to be.
Dorinda – My fortune was to have my mother lead by example. She did not accept any excuses labeled to her as impediments, such as ‘wife, mother, female’. She gained the knowledge and education to be considered equal in the field. She built respect and trust with grace and persistence. She determined the direction she wanted to go and where her own measure of ‘success labels’ would be placed based on her own personal and career goals.
Ryan – I am blessed with so many inspiring women in my personal life; my daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother. Professionally, female leadership has largely been absent. It’s critical that everyone sees themselves represented at the highest leadership level in their organization. Leading a predominantly female team, it’s my responsibility to help our organization get there.
Melissa – My mom- she worked for the same company for 42 years and worked her way up the ladder. There were very few women working in her governmental defense role and she embraced the challenges and was very successful.
Q: How can women support each other in their organizations?
Rissa – Communicate, share experiences, and offer to collaborate. Regardless of gender, being an authentic teammate and trusted partner for others in your organization goes a long way.
Jamie – I believe one of the biggest things that we can do for each other is to be there to support each other. I believe that there is a strength in knowing that you have a community of people that will help you. To create an environment that is positive and helps put an emphasis on being the best version of yourself that you can be. Also, to help young leaders understand that it is ok to have bad days, the test is how you pick yourself up and move forward.
Dorinda – We can mentor. We can listen to make sure that we find opportunities that may fit or be a good career pathway for others. We can make sure that we are supportive, non-judgmental and do not impede upon the ability for women to learn, adapt, grow in tenure and apply for the jobs that they are equally qualified for in the industries. We can speak up; we can speak clearly, and we can do it with integrity.
Ryan – If you’re in leadership or a position of influence, create opportunities for learning and success. Be the encouragement your team and colleagues need and recognize their accomplishments on the largest scale possible. Create an environment where taking risks is encouraged and failing is nothing more than something the team learns from.
Melissa – Encourage each other.
We are thankful for this group, and all the other superwomen at InformData, not only today, but every day! Happy International Women's Day!