The New Face of Techies


“Women in technology” has been a hot topic for the past few years, particularly the lack of women representation in tech businesses. The female presence was strong at the 2012 Techweek Conference + Expo, held at the Merchandise Mart June 22-26th, with the week being overseen by executive director Arabella Santiago and panels stocked with female tech frontrunners including Yesenia Sotelo, SmartCause Digital, and Maureen Wozniak, ContactKarma, who shared their thoughts on women in technology. Look for more from them, as well as hear what’s Leah Busque has to say.


sotelo_yeseniaWhat unique perspective or skills do you think you have as a woman in tech?

Yesenia Sotelo: “I’ve noticed that there are some core differences between the way that I approach a project and that of many of my male peers. I truly want the people around me to succeed and grow in their roles, even if that means I sometimes have to step back. I value my colleagues’ individual skills and preferences as an integral component to problem solving and managing. For example, if I’m gathering a group of people for a brainstorming session and I know one of them prefers to have some individual time to consider the issue, I will give her or him some information to review. Taking each team member’s preferences into consideration is a small investment that will make our project more successful.”




What is the future looking like for women in technology?smallwebsitephoto

Maureen Wozniak: “I do believe with the recent focus of helping girls know of the careers in tech we will move towards an even split in the next decade. I took my 11 year old daughter to Techweek, and she now is excited about a career in Tech. I explained to her that a Tech career offers a womenflexibilityto work from home or wherever she chooses. In addition these tech careers are higher paying positions that many women hold today. It is up to us to talk to the young girls in our lives and get them excited about all the options a career in technology can give them.”





One of the common themes throughout TechWeek was how to capture the interest of future tech women, as Maureen mentioned above. The responses mimicked the above, with interaction and hands-on education starting young, as well as having influential math and science teachers. As Yesenia mentions, it’s the different perspective women offer that has the potential to change how companies are run, and if we can start young with changing how technology is viewed, why can’t we start young to change how leadership is viewed? Could the next generation be filled with future female technology moguls, or better yet, future CEOs?


For more thoughts on women in tech, check out the WBDC’s recent interview with Arabella Santiago, Techweek executive director.




About Hedy M. Ratner

Hedy M. Ratner is founder and co-president of the Women's Business Development Center, the largest, oldest and most comprehensive and successful women's business assistance center in the U.S. She blogs about entrepreneurship, working women, success stories, small business and more in “Windows to Business Success.”