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Overcoming Obstacles to Success: Surviving and Thriving in the High Tech World Kelly Lopez File Sr. Competitive Strategy Manager Microsoft Corporation.

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Presentation on theme: "Overcoming Obstacles to Success: Surviving and Thriving in the High Tech World Kelly Lopez File Sr. Competitive Strategy Manager Microsoft Corporation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overcoming Obstacles to Success: Surviving and Thriving in the High Tech World Kelly Lopez File Sr. Competitive Strategy Manager Microsoft Corporation

2 Agenda Introduction Introduction How are women doing in high tech? How are women doing in high tech? Obstacles to success Obstacles to success How to survive How to survive How to thrive How to thrive Personal highs and lows Personal highs and lows Resources Resources

3 Introduction 37 years old 37 years old Hispanic Hispanic Mother of 7 month old baby girl Mother of 7 month old baby girl BS in Computer Engineering from U of W BS in Computer Engineering from U of W 20 years of experience: 20 years of experience: 8 software test and design 8 software test and design 9 software development 9 software development 3 competitive marketing 3 competitive marketing

4 In the grand scheme of things… Steve Ballmer Sales Enterprise Sales & Partners Field Competitive Strategy Technical Marketing ProductsOperations

5 How are women doing in high tech? Better in pay equity Better in pay equity Non high tech: $.73 on the dollar Non high tech: $.73 on the dollar Tech: $.92 on the dollar Tech: $.92 on the dollar *National Science Foundation *1998 US Census Data *2001 survey from techie.com of 106,000 workers across 39 U.S. job markets, all levels 40% of Computer Science degrees awarded to women in 1994

6 Top 50 Fortune Most Powerful Women 1. Carly Fiorina – Chairman & CEO, Hewlett-Packard 2. Meg Whitman – President & CEO, eBAY 6. Anne Mulcahy – President & CEO, Xerox 23. Betsy Bernard – President & CEO, AT&T Consumer 28. Ann Livermore – EVP, HP Services 30. Linda Sandford – SVP & Group Exec, IBM Storage Systems 32. Donna Dubinsky – CEO, Handspring 47. Janet Davidson – Group President, Lucent Integrated Networks 49. Louise Francesconi – VP & GM, Missile Systems, Raytheon 9 out of 50 are at technology-related companies 9 out of 50 are at technology-related companies

7 Common obstacles Attraction to technical education Attraction to technical education Getting through the door Getting through the door Retaining women long enough for them to move up Retaining women long enough for them to move up Individual obstacles Individual obstacles

8 Education issues Qualified female students don’t choose scientific majors Qualified female students don’t choose scientific majors OTA report of 2,000 9 th grade students OTA report of 2,000 9 th grade students End of high school: 280 male, 220 females have sufficient math for scientific degree End of high school: 280 male, 220 females have sufficient math for scientific degree But only 16% of qualified females vs. 50% of males choose scientific majors But only 16% of qualified females vs. 50% of males choose scientific majors College can reduce self esteem of women College can reduce self esteem of women 80 high school valedictorians – 20% of both men and women ranked selves as highly intelligent 80 high school valedictorians – 20% of both men and women ranked selves as highly intelligent During college, women outperformed in GPA During college, women outperformed in GPA But only 3% of women vs. 20% of men ranked selves high after sophomore year! But only 3% of women vs. 20% of men ranked selves high after sophomore year! Personal experience Personal experience The other two women in my program quit during 1 st quarter! The other two women in my program quit during 1 st quarter! Issues with a prof that wanted to flunk me out of Analog Electronics Issues with a prof that wanted to flunk me out of Analog Electronics Lab partners scarce, had to be creative Lab partners scarce, had to be creative

9 Filling the pipeline UMass College of Engineering – great work! UMass College of Engineering – great work! Minority Engineering Program Minority Engineering Program Engineering Exploration Program (SWE, Girl Scouts, College of Engineering effort) Engineering Exploration Program (SWE, Girl Scouts, College of Engineering effort) Women in Engineering Program Women in Engineering Program TWIST – great way to retain women! TWIST – great way to retain women! Corporate sponsorship Corporate sponsorship IBM, Ford, Raytheon, Texas Instruments, Microsoft IBM, Ford, Raytheon, Texas Instruments, Microsoft Take Your Daughters to Work Day Take Your Daughters to Work Day

10 Getting through the employer’s door Hiring processes can be um, biased… Hiring processes can be um, biased… Women often disqualify themselves Women often disqualify themselves Men: 20% job knowledge is enough Men: 20% job knowledge is enough Women: 80%! Women: 80%! Not negotiating well starts you at a disadvantage Not negotiating well starts you at a disadvantage Learn to “sell” your qualities to prospective employers Learn to “sell” your qualities to prospective employers On the other hand… On the other hand… Education pipeline problems mean fewer female candidates available – they need you Education pipeline problems mean fewer female candidates available – they need you NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK Networking is the #1 success factor for women in high tech

11 Retention Women are highest turnover group Women are highest turnover group Work-life balance Work-life balance Lack of mentoring and networking Lack of mentoring and networking Can’t fulfill ambitions, lack of professional development Can’t fulfill ambitions, lack of professional development “No matter how hard I try, I won’t win” “No matter how hard I try, I won’t win” Lack of visibility to upper management Lack of visibility to upper management Turnover makes it hard to find qualified female candidates for leadership roles Turnover makes it hard to find qualified female candidates for leadership roles Mentoring is key to retention

12 Individual obstacles “The imposter” syndrome “The imposter” syndrome Stanford study shows men more confident Stanford study shows men more confident Men more confident that they can handle the workload (2x) Men more confident that they can handle the workload (2x) Women half as comfortable speaking up in class Women half as comfortable speaking up in class 33% of women (vs 9% men) fear that speaking up will expose them as imposters 33% of women (vs 9% men) fear that speaking up will expose them as imposters Women tend to downgrade their capabilities Women tend to downgrade their capabilities Success attributed to “lots of hard work” vs. men who claim “innate ability” Success attributed to “lots of hard work” vs. men who claim “innate ability” Competing can be uncomfortable Competing can be uncomfortable Fear of the unknown, aversion to changes Fear of the unknown, aversion to changes

13 How to survive Fake it until you feel more confident!! Fake it until you feel more confident!! 1. Everybody messes up 2. Everybody feels insecure about their job performance 3. The most successful people are not those who mess up the least Learn to speak up in many different situations Learn to speak up in many different situations Ask the right questions Ask the right questions * Kaitlin Duck Sherwood, 1994

14 How to thrive Get more comfortable with risks, change Get more comfortable with risks, change My switch to sales and marketing My switch to sales and marketing Stepped down from manager to individual contrib role Stepped down from manager to individual contrib role “Can do” attitude helps ensure success “Can do” attitude helps ensure success Mentor and be mentored Mentor and be mentored 46.8% of women of color cite lack of mentoring as major barrier to advancement (Catalyst Survey) 46.8% of women of color cite lack of mentoring as major barrier to advancement (Catalyst Survey) 44% of women of color cite mentoring as a critical success factor 44% of women of color cite mentoring as a critical success factor UMass participates in MentorNet program – use it! UMass participates in MentorNet program – use it! Enjoy working with men Enjoy working with men They say what they think They say what they think They make great mentors They make great mentors They have wives and daughters, too… They have wives and daughters, too… NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK

15 My experiences… Just like the Olympics: “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!”

16 The Agony of Defeat Wanted to quit many times while working 30+ hours and FT college Wanted to quit many times while working 30+ hours and FT college Couldn’t break into the “men’s club” at last company Couldn’t break into the “men’s club” at last company Had to fire someone for sexual harassment Had to fire someone for sexual harassment Presentation to German Bankers 1 st 6 months on the job at Microsoft Presentation to German Bankers 1 st 6 months on the job at Microsoft Car and luggage stolen in Malaysia Car and luggage stolen in Malaysia Literally 100’s of dumb questions asked Literally 100’s of dumb questions asked In front of SVP – realized I was not prepared enough In front of SVP – realized I was not prepared enough Motto: always make it to the nearest bathroom before you start crying

17 The Thrill of Victory Overcame fear of public speaking! Overcame fear of public speaking! Presentation to peers at Moscone within 5 months on the job Presentation to peers at Moscone within 5 months on the job Denmark – 4 hour E-Commerce “seminar” Denmark – 4 hour E-Commerce “seminar” Bangkok – followed SVP to present to on E-Commerce Bangkok – followed SVP to present to on E-Commerce #1 rated speaker in the Executive Briefing Center #1 rated speaker in the Executive Briefing Center Making a difference Making a difference Conference Board conference, sharing results with MS management Conference Board conference, sharing results with MS management Most Influential Women of Color in Technology award Most Influential Women of Color in Technology award Included live radio interview Included live radio interview Mentoring and being mentored Mentoring and being mentored Technical accomplishments Technical accomplishments Kernel mode driver development in C++ of an NFS Server Kernel mode driver development in C++ of an NFS Server Designed and implemented an API for a customer; resulted in $1M sale Designed and implemented an API for a customer; resulted in $1M sale Promoted to manage a team within a year at Microsoft Promoted to manage a team within a year at Microsoft

18 Working mommy moments Missing my moment in the spotlight… Missing my moment in the spotlight… Code word for pumping: “maintenance” Code word for pumping: “maintenance” Never leave your pump unattended… Never leave your pump unattended… How to turn down international travel “opportunity” How to turn down international travel “opportunity” Never underestimate the effects of sleep deprivation Never underestimate the effects of sleep deprivation

19 Resources Contact me: Contact me: MentorNet: MentorNet: National Engineers Week National Engineers Week UMass Women in Engineering Program (WEP) UMass Women in Engineering Program (WEP) Women in Technology International (WITI) Women in Technology International (WITI) Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Society of Women Engineers (SWE) IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Toastmasters International Toastmasters International Positive Politics at Work by McKenna and McHenry Positive Politics at Work by McKenna and McHenry Why So Slow: The Advancement of Women by Virginia Valian Why So Slow: The Advancement of Women by Virginia Valian

20 Congratulations! Enjoy the new Microsoft Center for Women in Engineering and Science Questions/Comments?


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