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Spotlight: International Women’s Day

Spotlight: International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. There’s no better way or us to celebrate this day than to highlight the incredible women leaders we have at Social Solutions. We’re honored to have them as the leaders that will take us into the future today and everyday.

 

What is the most important message you want to send out to our users and all the women around the world for this occasion?

The pace of inclusion and diversity in leadership of technology companies is going to keep going in the proper direction and we need to come together to accelerate it. When there is a diversity of experience, there is a diversity of thought, which results in a better outcome. It is everybody’s job, men and women, to push that message forward.

 – Kristin Nimsger, CEO

 

Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?

I admire Ava DuVernay for a lot of different reasons.  She didn’t even pick up a camera until she was 32 and, since then, she has directed and written some of the best shows and movies I have ever seen. Ava consistently acknowledges other people’s contributions and successes, even when she is overseeing a cast with hundreds of people and spends her weekends talking about other people’s work. Most of all, she has grown in her profession, starting from the Black Filmmakers Showcase, a 12-minute film, to now directing A Wrinkle in Time, a feature-length film slated to be a box office hit. I moved into the field of software when I was 40 years old, and am inspired by her creativity, resilience, and determination to succeed against all odds.

– Aletra Nicholson, Professional Services Director

 

What advice would you give to women just starting their careers?

In my career, I have been fortunate to have some great jobs and work for inspiring leaders.  I’ve also had some not-so-great jobs and worked from a couple of pretty terrible bosses.  It’s easy to find lessons in the good experiences and the inspirational leaders, but it’s also important to look for the value in the not-so-good ones too.  Every experience that you have, good or bad, is an opportunity to learn, grow, and make decisions about the type of leader you want to be. Every experience you have is a step in the right direction to achieve your full potential.

– Jessica Coburn, Director of Training

 

What experience from you career has shaped you the most as a leader?

The experience that shaped me the most as a leader was taking a chance to join a young company and learn something new outside my comfort zone at the time. This helped me discover new talents and provided me with the chance to step up into a leadership position. For women just starting their careers, I would tell them to be open to new experiences because you might not know what you are good at until you try!

– Zareen Hansotia, Solutions Specialist Director

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

You can be credible, effective, and direct while maintaining any level of femininity that you want. Be genuine to yourself (and others) and focus on your skills and relationships rather than fitting into a stereotype or living in fear of how you’re perceived because you’re a woman.

– Kinga Vajda, Director of Agile and PMO 

 

 

Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?

My mom is a source of daily inspiration. Growing up, I watched her switch careers, leaving the accounting firm that my family owned and starting a new path in the male-dominated financial services industry. What inspires me the most, though, is not just what she’s achieved, it’s that she’s always driving forward and challenging those around her to keep up. While I’ve benefited from her encouragement and drive, I’ve talked to countless of her colleagues and friends who all speak of the motivation she’s provided. In the same way that my mom inspires me to always be more, I hope that I can turn that around and do the same for those who surround me.

– Shelly Johnson, Director of Essentials

 

What advice would you give to women just starting their careers?

Live with integrity because there is nothing that matters more in life. You, and you alone, are responsible for the path of your career.  Work hard, stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Strike up conversations with people from all walks of life and then truly listen to their words, you never know who you are talking to and what door can be opened in line at a coffee shop. Understand your value proposition. Speak it often and loudly. And lastly, don’t be afraid of failing, not every action will result in success, it’s how you handle it that determines the next step.

– Jamie Hunter, VP of Revenue Operations

 

What experience from your career has shaped you the most as a leader?

I was nominated to be the President of a non-profit, women’s organization in my previous industry. The nomination came from the VP of Marketing at one of our biggest competitors and would have me leading some of the top leaders in our industry. These were women who I looked to for mentorship so the thought of leading them felt overwhelming. I learned that leadership is not about being in charge, but rather is about finding people who have great potential and helping them realize it themselves. That’s what they did for me.

– Heather Smith, VP of Marketing

 

What advice would you give to women just starting their careers?

One of my most important roles as a manager and a leader is guiding less experienced women through difficult conversations around understanding and asserting their value in the workplace. We as women are often culturally encouraged to be quiet, to accept what we are given, and to not question authority. It is intrinsically uncomfortable for many of us to speak up. I encourage women at every stage of their career to focus simultaneously on developing their value and actively demonstrating what they know. Ask questions, raise your hand, make your point, demand what you deserve. Embrace that it will be uncomfortable, because breaking out of a place of familiarity and safety is how we move forward and up.

– Auburn Rutledge, Director of Client Services

 

Who is a woman that inspires you the most and why?

I did a book report on Eleanor Roosevelt in elementary school and became completely captivated with her – for months I walked around reciting her quotes – my favorite is “women are like teabags, you don’t know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.” She was the first “serious” woman that I can remember respecting and wanting to emulate. At the time I couldn’t have fully appreciated her impact on Human Rights, her disaster relief work with the Red Cross in WWI, her activism on behalf of women and African Americans and the transformation of the role of First Lady. She came across as kind, authentic, influential and sharp and I knew at that young age that those were characteristics I wanted to have. There have been many moments in my career where I’ve stopped and asked myself….what would Eleanor do….I’ll look for a quote or peruse some of her writings and always find inspiration that bolsters my confidence and sets me on my path.

– Margaux Gillman, VP of People