Women’s History Month highlights the contributions of women in society, recognizing their achievements and encouraging forward progress towards eradicating inequality and bias. To celebrate the vital role of women in tech, the Quantcast Women’s Network hosted a web event, “Strong Women Leaders at Quantcast,” bringing together a stellar lineup of our female executives to discuss the challenges and rewards of working in the industry. These accomplished women shared their individual stories and collective advice about perseverance, taking risks, setting boundaries, using your emotional intelligence, developing confidence, finding your voice, and paying it forward.
Christine King, Chief of Staff and Operations to the CEO
My grandmother has been a tremendous inspiration for me. She grew up in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, the oldest of eight kids, and had to take care of her siblings after she finished elementary school. And yet she never lost her hope and perseverance, and simply never gave up. When most people retired, she went back to school and earned her high school degree in her 60s, graduating as valedictorian. Now in her 90s, she keeps working as a volunteer at a hospital, continuing to make a difference. I strive to be that kind of optimistic, genuine, kind person, who lives with gratitude and turns lemons into lemonade.
Ingrid Burton, Chief Marketing Officer
As a young girl, I had limited career options: teacher, nurse, librarian, or secretary. I chose teaching, after discovering an aptitude for math in high school. Fortunately, my college’s Career Center was adamant that I belonged in software engineering instead. I learned on the job, doing assembler, Fortran and then 3D graphics programming. One day, a colleague said, “You’re really good at explaining technology. You should be in marketing.” I laughed in his face. But he convinced me to give it a try, and I found my niche in product marketing. Even though I had to take a lower position and work my way up again, it was worth it, and now I’m CMO at Quantcast. My career chose me. I could never have predicted the path that my journey would take. I took risks along the way and found that I excelled as an individual contributor but also as a manager and leader. And I have a huge passion for marketing, which is quite similar to math, as it turns out.
Ileana Falticeni, General Counsel
I’ve always had a tremendous interest in international politics and affairs. I had a set path at age 10: I wanted to be a lawyer and then Secretary of State– still working on that! After law school, my career in financial services took off and I became managing director at Barclays in London at age 35, but I felt uninspired, lacking passion and direction. I wanted to find meaning in my 14-hour days at work. And so, I made a massive career change to tech in San Francisco; I derailed my linear path and reinvented myself. I found a work-life balance for the first time, and I’ve never looked back. It’s made me happier than anything I could have imagined. I learned that choosing a career should not solely rest on your technical skills and abilities; it must take into account who you want to work with and what you want to accomplish in service to others.
Heba Williams, Vice President of People and Places
I had to give myself permission as a woman to do what I needed to be successful. Over and over again, I found my counterparts, mostly men, had a partner at home who took care of their children, so it was a real challenge to balance my profession with my family and not feel bad about it. I was forced to confront this imbalance in my life when I lost my brother in a tragic accident. Struggling to support and care for family and myself as we grieved, while building my career, I was given invaluable advice: you have to take care of yourself. I used it as an opportunity for growth, creating parameters and being transparent about what I needed from others. I started carving out time for myself, waking up two hours before my children, to have decompression time. During work hours, I stay focused on my job; my children see that mom works really hard. But mom also knows when it’s time to play, so when it’s family time, they get my undivided attention.
The work-life balance will continue to be really tough for women, even in the next few generations. Society has to do a lot to change that cultural norm, but we also need to look to our lawmakers to create policies that support caretakers and make it easier for women to be in the workplace. And we need male allies to amplify women’s voices–not only to treat women as equals in pay and opportunities but also to champion and raise up their female colleagues.
Sonal Patel, Managing Director for Southeast Asia
A female strength that I use to my advantage is picking up on nonverbal communication. When I’m working on commercial deals, I’m aware that what someone is saying or how they are acting is not necessarily incongruent with how they’re feeling. I’m bringing a diversity of thought, adding something critical that nobody else can pick up on.
According to brain science, women look at problems in twelve different ways versus men who look at things as black/white, yes/no, 1/0. We enjoy and excel at coming up with multiple solutions to problems.
I recently published a piece, “Defeating Self-Doubt and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome,” on developing self-confidence. Women can have perfectionist tendencies, which hold us back from taking risks and learning new things. By setting the bar too high for myself, I sabotaged my own opportunities. Now, instead of only tackling projects or new responsibilities that I feel 100% confident I can do well, I push myself to go for it as long as I feel 70% confident. I don’t let fear get in my way.
Finding Your Voice
As one of the only women in my math and computer science classes and then the only software engineer in my organisations, and even in recent years as the only female executive at a tech company with 1200 people, in order to be taken seriously, I learned to be direct and blunt to ensure my voice was heard. I had to learn how to fit in with all male teams and as an example went skeet shooting at an offsite (when I would much rather have been at a day spa), but I had a fun time and it built camaraderie, so I learned something there. Now that I’m at Quantcast, where half of the executive team is female, my voice is heard, and so I have learned how to be more tempered and measured. I love being in this unique, balanced environment.
Pay It Forward
I’m a strong believer that we have to pay it forward to the next generation of women by investing in their education. It is my professional commitment and personal challenge as a mother of daughters who love math and science. We need to expand the talent pool because there’s enough opportunity to have more women in the tech space and in the workforce. I will continue to leverage the privilege that I have, and that I’ve worked towards, to reinvest it in the next generation.
I think it’s critical that young female leaders start to amplify their voices and make sure that AI bias is muted as much as possible. When I scroll through my LinkedIn feed, it takes 10 pages until I see any female posts. If we don’t share, we’re not going to get the high fives that gentlemen do, which raises their profiles’ visibility.
Inclusivity and Diversity in the Workplace
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality; we can all choose to recognize and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can help to create an inclusive world.
Quantcast supports gender equality and actively seeks to support our female employees in achieving both personal and professional success. To celebrate and grow the unique culture of women in tech, we founded the Quantcast Women’s Network (QWN) in 2014, offering skills workshops and career mentoring for our growing workforce. Quantcast is committed to promoting inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. To find out more about Quantcast, visit our website.
Interested in Learning More?
We’ll be celebrating Women’s History Month throughout March through internal development workshops, and we’ll be highlighting more of our strong women Quantcasters here on the blog and on our social media channels.
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