No matter what career obstacles they encounter, women working in technology will “just do it anyway”, according to an industry expert.
Cathryn Posey, founder of Tech by Superwomen – an organization aimed at connecting and empowering women working in the technology industry – tells Forbes that women often face difficult obstacles in the technology workplace, given their proportionately low numbers.
The most important thing that women in the industry already do in order to gain success, she states, is press ahead and go for their dreams.
“Don’t stand down in the face of struggle. You might keep being told you can’t do something, but if you believe in it then you have to do it anyway.”
Posey, who has founded a successful and fast growing organization with Tech by Superwomen, says that from experience she has found it is “amazing what happens when you decide to just go for it”. Daily, she says, stories abound of women orchestrating phenomenal change in their business.
In fact, to just go for it will be the core message Posey delivers this week when she closes out a major event she has organized.
The inaugural Tech Superwomen summit, taking place in San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center tomorrow (Thursday), will feature a number of high-profile women in technology including Ann Ravel, vice chair of the Federal Election Commission, Todd Park, technology adviser to the White House, Julie Elberfeld, senior VP at Capital One, and Del Harvey, VP at Twitter.
The event aims to go far beyond the limits of technology itself, with subjects including managing entrepreneurship and motherhood, disrupting bias, improving policy, and navigating the workplace power struggle.
The key point of the event is successful innovation. “So much of the women in technology dialogue is focused around some kind of gender war, but we want to focus on innovation, which is entirely dependent on diversity,” Posey maintains. “We want to disrupt the bias out there and get some real positive discussion and inspiration.”
Posey, also a senior manager at a software optimization firm, has a strong background in her personal life around entrepreneurship, particularly for important social causes. Her work has included helping get more young offenders through community service instead of having prison sentences, efforts that regularly demonstrated a dramatic fall in reoffending rates.
She founded Tech by Superwomen in 2011, when living and working in Alaska and noticing the strength of the women in technology community, and the passionate discussions taking place on social media. The name of her organization is inspired by the Alicia Keys song Superwoman, which Posey describes as “all about being resilient”.
“We saw the audience for the approach we were taking, and we are really blessed to have found such a purpose,” she says. “The timing was right. There are so many women in the industry doing phenomenal things.”
There is no denying that the technology industry presents challenges, with a Harvard Business School report finding that 56 per cent of women in technology drop out halfway through their careers, double the male departure rate.
This means that “the issue is not just how to get a pipeline of female talent in technology, but how to stop that talent pipeline leaking”, Posey explains. The solution: to bring people together and foster success.
“Being a woman and a person of color, I want to focus on how to unite people, to bring people together and be pragmatic for results,” she says. “The door to power only opens from the inside, and we know that by encouraging change in the environment and creating real innovation then the greatest things can be achieved.”
More women in tech news on Forbes:
For more news, follow the Women in Tech Facebook group.
This article was written by Leo King from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.