Women in Technology Festival: Breaking new ground

Kelly Moynihan, Senior Copywriter
Posted on Nov 11, 2021

A number of women from Imarc joined the 2021 Women in Technology World Series Online Festival – here’s what they learned.

In early November, we had the opportunity to attend the 2021 Women in Technology World Series Online Festival. At this event, like-minded women in tech shared ideas, discovered innovative practices, found mentors, and participated in expert-led workshops to build strong, sustainable careers. Here’s what stood out to us the most:

Katie Desmond, Partner & CRO

As a leader at Imarc, I am 110% behind every opportunity to raise the voice of women in the workplace, so this topic is near and dear to my heart. 

One session that I attended was “How To Lead High Performing Teams In A Distributed World.” It’s safe to say that many leaders are struggling with this as we aim to foster the human connection that came so easily in the office. Speaker Liz Burow shared impactful and yet simple tips for better engagement. She suggested conducting live polls during meetings, having regular check-ins with individual team members to make sure they understand their value, sharing praise for a team member’s success, and using that to inspire other team members. We can all incorporate these small actions to help lead stronger, more productive, and inspired teams. 

I am proud to see many women at Imarc in leadership positions who continue to empower those around them. I look forward to investing in the growth of women at Imarc and helping women find their voices at our agency.

Megan Valcour, Front-end Engineer

This was my first time attending the Women in Technology Festival, and it was fantastic. I didn’t realize how much of a gender imbalance there is within the industry until I was in (virtual) room after room with groups of bold, talented, empathetic, and supportive women. What a feeling!

I attended several excellent sessions, but a few stood out to me among the rest. One among these was a session led by Miriam Sampson, the Senior Manager of Corporate IT Governance & PMO at the Interpublic Group (IPG): “How to Stay Adaptable in Your Career.” It felt like a part motivational speech, part therapy session, and part psychology lecture. She emphasized how to stay adaptable and ways to measure our own adaptability. She also advised how to plan, reflect, and act to embrace change, and how doing so makes us not just marketable workers but stronger people. 

Her five steps for staying adaptable include how a person must 

  1. Reflect on how they want to grow
  2. Identify their goal for growing
  3. Plan the specifics of what they will learn
  4. Do the learning and the professional development
  5. Apply what they’ve learned to their own work 

The last made me think about Imarc, too. These steps reminded me quite a bit of the process we have in place for continually and intentionally reflecting on our work and identifying new ways to continuously build better products. It’s one of the reasons I love working at Imarc, and it makes each project more incredible (and more fun) than the last. 

The theme that wove itself through each session was what made the whole conference feel so empowering: women supporting each other. So many speakers said the same thing: Find a mentor and be a mentor. Talk to each other. Ask for help. Offer help. Explore together. Learn from each other. We can grow more together than we can apart. The work we do – whether it is engineering, creative, managerial, or something else entirely – will be all the stronger for it. 

Maribeth Fitzpatrick, Director of Front-end Engineering

This event was the first women-focused conference I’ve attended since becoming a director. After attending both technical and leadership-focused sessions, I feel empowered and ready to lead my team to continued success. 

A professional goal of mine this year is to foster team relationships and collaboration. This was the focus of so many valuable sessions I attended, especially in regards to a post-pandemic, distributed, and virtual world. A common theme I heard from Melanie Yencken (UX Director, Google), Roshni Sondhi (VP Customer Experience, Grafana Labs), and Elyse Kolker Gordon (Senior Director Of Engineering, Strava), were that we, as leaders, need to be clear, communicative, and compassionate. The “3 C’s” of management.

First, creating a baseline for how we interact with each other (video, Slack, email, etc.) goes a long way in setting clear expectations while so many of us are working remotely. Communicating these baselines along with other boundaries and stating our values directly helps our team members understand how to be successful. 

When it comes to communication, many speakers encouraged leaders to be open and honest and to “overshare.” Your team might be feeling out of the loop. Maybe they’re missing out on updates via hallway chats they used to have with their peers, or maybe they’re not having the same interactions since working remotely. Make them feel connected by updating them frequently, and allowing them the space to ask questions and give feedback on any topic. 

Lastly, we need to be compassionate. In a world where “Zoom fatigue” is growing rapidly, we need to get to know our employees beyond the screen, both professionally and personally. Make it a point to ask them about their weekends, children, dogs, hobbies, etc. This helps build trust and openness which leads to more effective communication and collaboration overall. 

With these “3 C’s”, you can lead a team to success and create a healthy and happy work environment, even through the screen.

Karin Rio, Director of Digital Marketing

The Women in Technology Festival was a diverse international gathering of smart and powerful women. These themes emerged as key takeaways for me: the need to understand digital transformation, women in leadership, and how much women do and must continue to help other women. 

Digital transformation – using digital technologies to meet business and market requirements – will continue to be an important trend for 2022. CMO of Genpact Stacy Simpson spoke on purpose-led digital transformation. She said transformation must be both backwards and forward-looking – something always incomplete yet aspirational. We continue to iterate on that here at Imarc. We are using, evolving, and evaluating marketing technology to help our clients best succeed.

It’s inspiring to see this many women in leadership today, but we still need more seats at the table. An unfortunate calendar conflict interrupted my attendance of “Becoming a Whole Leader with Victoria Ortigosa.” Her session synopsis reminded me of the book “Head, Heart & Guts,” which outlines for leadership:   

  • Be brave to be strategic

  • Build trusting relationships

  • Make decisions (sometimes difficult ones) based on authentic values

It was inspiring to join a virtual roundtable where I learned about the roles women occupy today while hearing women give career advice and share unique perspectives. It called for some self-reflection about the women that surround me and what more I could do to help them. My takeaway from the Women in Technology Festival: one intentional step at a time!

Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

See you next year!

After that great conference, we all walked away from our at-home workstations with more inspiration and thought-provoking ideas. We’re happy to have the opportunity to participate in further professional and personal development. We’re already looking forward to next year!

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