Learning from the Leaders of Today

Last week, members of the 10Fold Team joined The Expat Woman for an inspiring “Women Leaders in Tech” panel discussion at StubHub. The team, panel and a couple dozen other industry professionals discussed success in the tech industry, the gender gap, current industry trends and advice for forging ahead in their fields.

Panelists included:

  1. Camila Franco, Director of Product Management at StubHub
  2. Kriti Kapoor, Worldwide Social Customer Care Lead at Microsoft
  3. Ewa Erickson, Director, Head of PMO at StubHub
  4. Angelica McKinley, Senior Communications Designer at Slack
  5. Gelena Sachs, Director of People Operations at Udemy
  6. Madhura Dudhgaonkar, Director of Engineering – Search, Data Science, Machine Learning at Workday

The panel was moderated by:

  1. Safia Ali, Director of Product Design at StubHub

Here are some top insights:

During the discussion, each panelist recognized that their family and cultural environments influenced their leadership style in the office. One panelist, Camila Franco, explained how being brought up in Brazil led to a direct communication style with her employees, resulting in to-the-point, honest conversations. Camila explained how this management style can be extremely effective with some employees and spur personal growth but isn’t for everyone. She stressed this is why cultural diversity within the office is greatly important.

Furthermore, the panel discussed how work culture can also influence behavior in the office. Madhura Dudhgaonkar discussed how her Workday really values the work-life balance, which she believes is a top-down process. She explained how a high-level executive in her company would reschedule meetings to spend time with his children. Madhura believes that company culture is strongly influenced by the top executives, and by setting the right example, the rest of the company will follow suit and adopt healthy work-life habits.

One of the most in-depth discussions was regarding gender and the workspace. In light of recent news surrounding gender, sexism, and discrimination in the Silicon Valley tech world, the discussion dug deep into how businesses can prevent this from happening. Some panelists noted the importance of finding “male allies” within the workplace.The panel noted that a large portion of their male counterparts has always been supportive, which should be acknowledged more often, especially by the media.

The last discussion topic covered career advice. The following insights that stood out the most included:

It’s okay to not have a set career path.
Each panelist spoke on how their careers have never followed a perfect path. One panelist shared, “When I started my first job out of college, if you would’ve asked me to draw the path my career would take over the next 20 years, I would’ve been completely wrong.” The panelists encouraged audience members to see a career change as an actionable moment, instead of something intimidating. It is important to make a career change if one isn’t fully satisfied in their current industry or role. Panelists recommended we all take the time to fully reflect on personal roles and positions, and ask ourselves if we are truly happy and growing. This reflection can help guide career decisions in the right path.

Never losing sight of growth.
People should look for future trends in the industry to help shape their continued growth, as this “forward thinking” is what keeps tech so innovative. Also, by expanding one’s own skill set, it’s less likely to fall behind in the fast-moving tech industry. “Think of your career as a marathon, not a race,” said one panelist, meaning that you don’t need to gain all the skills at one time, but keeping up a good pace of growth can really move someone ahead.

The importance of “soft skills”, such as empathy, dependability and a sense of urgency.
These skills can really help someone stand out, and can help set any worker apart from the pack. Create meaningful relationships with coworkers, and convey appreciation for the hard work they put in. “Sometimes the best thing you can do to help someone during a hard day is to tell them they’re doing a great job, this could mean a lot to them,” said Ewa Erickson.

No matter where one comes from, who they are or what they do, everyone is able to bring something unique to the workspace. This is most often a result of their upbringing and culture – both nationally and internationally – and is something that should be celebrated. The 10Fold team enjoyed this uplifting panel, and thank the intelligent professionals who came out to share their thoughts and experiences with the group.

By Nathan Zaragosa & Kyra Tillmans – contributions by Katrina Cameron

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