Interview: Career planning for executive women in IT
The opportunities for women in tech have never been greater. In this roundtable discussion, executive women in IT share advice for women entering the workforce and on the value of mentoring and learning management skills. Participants are Krista Satterthwaite, director of marketing for Core Enterprise Servers at Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Kate Swanborg, senior vice president of technology communications and strategic alliances at DreamWorks Animation; Susan Blocher, vice president of marketing for HPE Data Center Infrastructure; and Kitty Chow, director of Mobility and Workplace Services at HPE Pointnext. The IT executives touch on designing one’s own career path, work/life balance for both genders, and habits that can hold you back.
Here are a few highlights to explore before you watch the video.
On career planning
“One of the things that our organization put in place a number of years ago was a dual advancement track, where you could actually advance in your role but not into a management position,” says DreamWorks Animation’s Swanborg. That permits staff to get more into engineering, “so that the only path wasn't just that you had to suddenly start managing people” if that isn’t where your passion lies.
Whatever path you choose, consciously position yourself for success, advises HPE’s Satterthwaite. A mentor counseled her to make sure everybody knows what you're doing and how you're contributing. “There are a lot of people that work really, really hard, and then they're not sure why they're not moving up,” she points out. Sometimes it isn’t because anyone is resisting those contributions; it’s because not enough people know what they're doing. That’s a challenge, emotionally, as many people find it uncomfortable to self-promote. “But people need to know, so that they know what you're capable of,” she adds.
Careers are not linear, HPE's Chow points out: “Think about, perhaps, that non-traditional next role; it doesn't necessarily have to be in the same domain that you're in now.” Don't constrain yourself to a narrow path. There are opportunities across multi-disciplines, across different roles, different functions. “As long as you have that core skill set, you can do it. So, don't think within a certain framework.”
Women do sometimes hold themselves back. “We have to ask for what we want,” says HPE's Blocher. She points out that super-talented women often aren’t clear enough about saying, “This is where I want to go, this is what I need to get there, this is what I want to accomplish, and I'm not going to take no for an answer. I'm really going to be relentless about this." Blocher adds, “And honestly, as an executive of all kinds of people, I see average male employees who are quite vocal about when they're ready to take the next step.”
While it’s great to create relationships with other women in IT, it may be valuable to actively seek advice from male colleagues as well. “The executive who mentored me was one of these rough-and-tumble kind of guys who minced nothing and spoke very plainly, if you know what I mean,” says HPE’s Blocher. “I had to learn to sort of adapt to that style of being spoken to, and frankly, it was the best thing I ever did.” She now uses those insights to mentor other people, “with maybe a little less colorful language.”
A formal mentoring program can make a difference, says Chow. “It was a great opportunity to actually go through the formal process of thinking about your journey,” she says, including what makes you happy and what you feel is important. That’s in addition to getting direct feedback, such as discovering how others see you and learning about the next opportunity.
We need to listen to the voices around us, says Swanborg. At one point she would not have applied for an opportunity for which, ultimately, she was well-suited. “It wasn't in my sphere of awareness,” she says. But somebody else told her to go for it. “It's that moment that you have to listen for.” She advises: Pay attention when people say, “I see a capability in you, and frankly, even if I don't see the capability in you, I see a hole that needs to be filled and I need you to find the capability inside of you to go fill that.”
“Go find a couple of people within your company that you think are successful, that you watch their capabilities, their traits, and their values,” says Swanborg. “If you like their values and you like how they treat people, get five minutes on their calendar, go get a coffee with them, and say to them, ‘What is it in me that you think I could invest more in?’ [and] ‘What are the aspects you see about who I am that I could do more at?’” We're often not aware of how we’re viewed—so ask, she says.
On work/life balance
It’s tough to be starting your career at the same time you’re starting a family. “My kid, a lot of times, was the last kid at daycare,” says HPE’s Satterthwaite. But eventually kids grow and see how much you're doing in your career, she adds. They're happy about it, they're proud of it, and you're an example for them, so it ends up working out. “But it's stressful when you're going through it.”
Learn more from these impressive women in the video below.
Krista Satterthwaite: Hi, welcome to the Women in Technology panel. I am so excited to be joined by such talented executives, to provide you advice about your career in technology. My name is Krista Satterthwaite, and I'm the director of marketing for Core Enterprise Servers at HPE. So, let's start off with you introducing yourselves.
Kate Swanborg: I'm Kate Swanborg. I'm the senior vice president of technology communications and strategic alliances at DreamWorks Animation.
Satterthwaite: Thank you for being here, Kate.
Susan Blocher: Hi, I'm Susan Blocher, and I am the vice president of marketing for HPE Data Center Infrastructure.
Satterthwaite: OK, great.
Kitty Chow: I'm Kitty Chow, and I'm the director of Mobility and Workplace Services for HP Pointnext.
Satterthwaite: OK, wonderful. Well, I've got a list of great questions for you guys. I'm going to start out with you, Susan. First question is, what advice would you give to women entering into the workforce in technology?
Blocher: There are lots of opportunity, and I think one of the things that I would say is, really be open to learning as much as you can about whatever area you are interested in. I think trying several different kinds of jobs and really building what I call roots before you grow the tree too tall will give you so much strength, no matter in what way your career develops, to really have skills. And I think having skills and experience is what really brings value to you and to your company.
Satterthwaite: Would you give different advice to a man versus a woman?
Blocher: Honestly, I would give the exact same advice... I do a lot of mentoring, and I've had lots of men and women, where the first thing they say is, "I want to be an executive, I want to be a manager," and I say, "You know what? Youâre early-career. Just take a step back and really look around you, and figure out what you need to learn and focus on learning those things first, before you aspire to be a manager or an executive. Because I have seen people, and probably you have as well, that do get into some kind of management in a particular niche, and then they're really limited. They can't really grow beyond that, because they just didn't build that foundation broadly, and I think that's something that I would advise men and women.
Satterthwaite: OK, great. Thanks.
Chow: Well, I have a personal experience to share there. Actually, when I graduated from school, I became a manager three years into my career, my very first job. It was an honor, and I learned a lot from it, but it was actually really early, I found. And I think that at that age, especially when you are early in your career, you're not as comfortable with making mistakes, right? And so you feel as though you need to be 100 percent on, and that actually is not necessarily the best, right?
And I think as you progress in your career, you know, being able to be comfortable, right, knowing that perhaps you don't have the answer and being able to collaborate with others to actually seek out the answer, and being comfortable with actually expressing that you don't know the answer, it's good. It's really good. And I think, you know, when you're first entering the workforce, it's just hard to do that.
Satterthwaite: Yeah. And how long do you think it took for you to feel comfortable with leading the team?
Chow: Wow, so my journey was, I managed people for a while, and then I left and I joined HP actually, and I was an individual contributor again. And then I started managing people again, and then I became the new... so I've been kind of, like, back and forth, and I think with every step, it kind of helped me to think about, you know, who I am as an employee, who I am as a leader, and who I am as a manager. So, I think it's been good for me.
Blocher: Now, a lot of people resist going from a management position to an individual contributor, so talk about why did you make that decision?
Chow: So, I think for me it was ... earlier in my career, it was about actually moving companies, right? So that wasn't that difficult a decision to make. The second time around it wasn't my choice. So, it was an acquisition, and I was caught up in the acquisition, you know, in terms of just the ... change. And then it became a decision, as to, OK, so do I move back into an individual contributor role or do I look for something else if, I want to remain a people manager. And I guess for me it just wasn't that important to stay in that people management role. You know, others may not have the same experience, and it becomes more of a personal choice I think.
Swanborg: In fact, one of the things that we see at DreamWorks Animation, particularly within our engineering groups, is a mindset that people are supposed to progress from an individual contributor, an engineer, to a management role, to a director role. And the fact of the matter is that we have promoted people right out of their ability to be great at their job.
Swanborg: And so, one of the things that our organization put in place a number of years ago was a dual advancement track, where you could actually advance in your role but not into a management position, but actually into a greater role of engineering, and offering your skill sets in that space, whether it was through architect or fellow, so that the only path wasn't just that you had to suddenly start managing people. Because it's a very different skill set than doing the individual contributor, and quite frankly, it's not something that a lot of folks are passionate about. So that was a very important thing for us to do.
Satterthwaite: Yeah, and HPE has something similar to that. We do have a technical track, and people can advance in their career without becoming a manager. So that's excellent. Now, I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about balancing family and work. Kate, I'd love to hear if you have any tips for people on doing that balance.
Swanborg: Well, I'd love to chat about that, because my husband and I, we have two daughters. Right now, they're 14 and 17, but I was working full time when we were married. In fact, I was a production manager on âShrekâ when we got married. And after that, I actually was offered a position within a technology organization, and that was a funny discussion, because it went something like this, from the executive at DreamWorks: "Kate, we'd really like you to come over and work in our technology organization." I'd been working on the films, and I laughed, because I thought he was kidding, and I said, "But I don't know anything about technology." He said, "That's OK, they don't know anything about production and they desperately need somebody to help them appreciate what all this engineering is actually going to be used for because there's this big disconnect.â
So, I started in that role four monthsâ pregnant. And so, here I was, in the technology organization of DreamWorks Animation ... By the way, we have a world-class engineering organization. I mean, these engineers and technologists, they're just brilliant. And here I come in. I can't work the remote on our television and I am now in executive-level engineering meetings, trying to bridge the gap, and I'm pregnant.
I love my work, so one of the things that I realized was that it was going to be critical for me to not have a lot of time off, which was sort of where my head was at anyway, not because it was going to be a career advancement problem, but I had just started learning all of this stuff and I really needed to make sure that there was not a gap in that education for me, so that I could actually fulfill this role that I was in. And we had planned on me going back to work anyway, but at this point, I said, "Well, I'm going to go back to work in either six or eight weeks, so we have to find daycare."
Finding daycare was insanely hard. It was so frustrating. I found a lot of daycares in our area, Southern California, where we would have actually had to have been on the waiting list before we were pregnant ... which, let's think about that for a second, right? But one of the things that I learned very early then, as a new motherâlike, I've never been a mother before, I've never been in technology beforeâwas that I didn't know what I was doing.
And you know what? I wasn't going to know what I was doing, so I was going to have to ask lots of questions about being a mom, and I was going to have to ask lots of questions about engineering, and I'm pretty sure the first 10 years was nothing but asking questions. Like, "Is she supposed to have this many ear infections?" Or, "No, actually we should have tubes put in her ears." "Oh, OK, good, well, we should go do that then." And, "What do you really mean by scalable multicore computing?" And the number of acronyms alone that I had to keep a list of!
So, the whole first part of my career was nothing but questions, and that's how the balance came: asking the questions and spending the time in both spaces to learn as much as I could.
Satterthwaite: Yeah, well, that's great. Now, I have to ask, what types of things do you think the workforce needs to do to make it easier for people to balance the challenges of juggling a family and your career?
Swanborg: Well, I think that most of the companies in the United States, certainly the companies that we work for, offer benefits. They offer healthcare, they offer dental, they offer vision, they offer life insurance, but we need them to offer daycare. We need them, as a company, to be connected to daycares, connected to services that offer nannies or just child care and sick children offerings. It needs to become a regular part of the package.
Just imagine, the whole reason that benefits are offered for employees is to be competitive in the workforce from a recruiting standpoint, but also to keep your employees healthy, so that they can work. That's great, but if my kid's not healthy, or my kid isn't being taken care of, do you think I can work or that my husband can work? So that's, I think, what has to happen. I think it has to become a standard part of the benefits package.
Blocher: I think that's a great point.
Chow: It's a very good point.
Satterthwaite: And Kitty, any tips from you about balancing career and family?
Chow: Well, I'm fortunate because, actually, I live in Toronto, Canada, and so, certainly our leave is longer. We went to one-year parent leave actually, for parents who have kids. Yeah, but I also have two children, two boys in my case, and the same age, 14 and 17. I love the fact that we actually have flexible working programs. I'm a teleworker, and to be able to do that is fantastic. It's wonderful for me, because it allows me to balance what I need to do in my work life with what I need to do in my personal life.
And, I think, just not having the stress, right? Of dealing with the commute, and having a company that understands thatâit's actually fairly rare, you know? And I think that it's a real privilege, it's a benefit for us to actually have that. And I think it's, from kind of a mental perspective, it just makes it a lot easier for me, I think, as a mom, because it's the logistics I think, you know. So, when the kids are younger, it's all about the care, right? As they get older, it's the logistics, you know, and it's busy, because you've got these logistics, and my husband works as well, and we have to balance. And it can be insane, you know, at the best of times.
Satterthwaite: I always felt working for someone who actually understood those challenges, so that if anything does pop up as you're raising your kids, you're working for someone who is flexible enough to handle those things.
Chow: Absolutely. And I actually love the fact that the dads now, certainly a number of dads that I know, are taking parental leave. And they, I think, really understand what it's like to balance the schedules, the kids. I think women tend to worry more than men, I mean, that's my own personal opinion. And we also feel guilty, you know, when we can't be super-mom or, you know, I think we feel a bit more guilty than, in general, men do, right? And we worry. So, I think maybe it's just a bit of a mental makeup thing, if you will. But the fact that you actually have dads, and let's say you work for someone who's a dad, or you have colleagues who are dads, it just gives you this common platform, right? You can understand each other.
Swanborg: It's interesting, because while that's true ... at DreamWorks Animation we're fortunate because, quite honestly, from a gender equality standpoint, I think we do an amazing job. We've had a lot of female executive leadership in the company including producers, artists, and engineers as well.
However, I do recall my husband and I both working when the girls were little, and they were in daycare; daycare closes at 6:00. I would go in and find a meeting on my calendar starting at 5:30. Well, all of the people in the meeting except for me were men whose wives stayed home with their kids.
So, if they didn't get home until 6:30, 7:30, or 8:00, it was fine; dinner might get a little cold. Whereas for me, I had to be in the car at 10 minutes to 6:00, or my phone would be ringing off the hook. I think that things like that, where you don't really think about, "Well, that's a problem because you're a woman," because my husband would have the same exact challenge on the nights that he was supposed to pick up the kids. But I do think that there is an aspect in the workplace, where there is an imbalance between people who have those types of responsibilities and people who don't.
And the schedules typically are driven by the people who have more flexibility in their timelines, and that can be a really big challenge for new people, starting a life and starting a family, maybe even still in our society with a little bit more imbalanced toward the women. But I recall that being a challenge.
Satterthwaite: I remember too, for me it was 5:45, I was shot out of there at 5:45 every day, and luckily I worked for someone who was flexible enough to accommodate that. And then you put in extra time and effort in the ways that you can because of that. But, you know, my kid, a lot of times, was the last kid at daycare. But eventually I think your kids grow and see that how much you're doing in your career, and they're happy about it, they're proud of it, and you're an example for them, so it ends up working out. But it's stressful when you're going through it, I'd say.
Chow: I totally agree.
Satterthwaite: So, I want to talk a little bit about mentorship. And Kitty, I know you had a mentor in your career; can you talk a little bit about how that helped your career?
Chow: Yeah, I was actually on a formal program; it was called Accelerated Development Program, and I think it was great from two perspectives. I think it was a great opportunity to actually go through the formal process of thinking about your journey. And one of the exercises that we did in the program was to actually map our journey and to identify inflection points, right? Whether they were professional or personal. And it really gives you a good understanding of yourself. And I think that's a really big part of mapping your path; you have to have an understanding of who you are, what makes you happy, you know, all of these things. What's important to you? Because at the end of the day, it's your career.
And I think the second key thing is, it's the sharing and the learning, from the community of mentees that we were a part of as well as the formal mentoring program. So, we also had the surveys, you know, I think I've been analyzed to death.
Blocher: You know what quadrant you fit in, yeah.
Chow: Exactly, right? And some of the feedback can be a little bit difficult, but, again, it's a learning, a growing, opportunity to be able to actually see how others see you, you know, versus how you see yourself, and being able to do that comparison. So, there's kind of like the peer aspect of a mentorship program, as well as the formal, you know, kind of assessment by professionals, and then of course, the actual mentor-mentee relationship, like the individual. And kind of being able to ask questions, being able to understand what their path is. And usually, in the formal mentor-mentee relationships, the reason why you have that is so that they can actually help you, with opportunities perhaps, you know, think about the next opportunity, maybe open some doors for you, that kind of thing.
Satterthwaite: Now, Susan, I know you've been mentored as well. Anything that you learned through that mentorship? I know you also mentor other people.
Blocher: Yeah, sure. I've been both mentored, and I've done a lot of mentoring. I would say, just from the perspective of being mentored, one of the things I did early on in my career was, I actually was mentored by a male executive. And I chose that intentionally, because I had a lot of great relationships with female executives, and I felt like I had a network around me, but I felt like I wanted two things: I wanted the perspective of a male in the business, and I also wanted to have them get to know me, as an executive, and build that relationship.
So, that was an interesting experience, because the executive ... It wasn't at HPE, so nobody at HPE, but the executive that mentored me was one of these rough-and-tumble kind of guys, who minced nothing and spoke very plainly, if you know what I mean. And so, I had to learn to sort of adapt to that style of being spoken to, and frankly, it was the best thing I ever did, because all of the insights I now use to mentor other people, with maybe a little less colorful language, he gave to me.
And one of the things ... well, two things that really were, like, things that I live by, and when I mentor I tell them this all the time, first of all, he said, "Blocher, you don't have a lock on brains. You're smart, but you don't have a lock on brains. You gotta surround yourself with people that are smarter than you, and listen to them." And that struck me, because I thought I was pretty smart, and I thought, you know, that I was gonna be large and in charge, and he really humbled me and made me realize that the best outcomes come from when you bring a group of diverse perspectives together and really harness the value of those perspectives to create an outcome. So that was one thing that he taught me.
And the second thing he taught meâagain, I'm not gonna use his colorful languageâhe said, "As you're a manager and executive, there are times when you have to tear down your team; if it's not working or things aren't going the right way, you've got to let them know, you've got to be candid. But don't let them go home without their dignity, because they've got families, they've got spouses, they've got kids, and they need to go home with their dignity. So, no matter how bad, you know, whatever you've gotta tell them, you tell them; let them not leave the building without you saying, 'Look, I know you're capable, I know you can do this, I know you can conquer this one, and I'm here to help you.'"
So, I learned those two lessons, and in my mentoring, of men and women, I deliver those two messages regularly.
Satterthwaite: Now that's great advice, yeah. I have to say, one of the pieces of advice that I got that was really helpful, and I think something that a lot of women suffer from, a lot of women work really, really, really hard, but a lot of people don't know what they're doing. They're not promoting as much of their accomplishments as much as sometimes their peers are. And so, somebody was telling me, "Hey, youâve got to make sure everybody knows what you're doing, how you're contributing," because there are a lot of people that work really, really hard, and then they're not sure why they're not moving up. And sometimes it's because not enough people know what they're doing. So, it's a challenge, I think, for a lot of people, because they're not used to self-promoting. But there's a little bit of that that people need to know, so that they know what you're capable of.
Blocher: Agree completely.
Satterthwaite: So, this one is for you, Susan. What do you think, if anything, women do that maybe holds them back in their career?
Blocher: We have to ask for what we want. I think that the one thing that I've seen over and over and over again, on a regular basis, is super-talented women that are not, you know, aggressive enough about ... and I don't know if aggressive is the right word, but just clear enough about saying, "This is where I want to go, this is what I need to get there, this is what I want to accomplish, and I'm not going to take no for an answer. I'm really going to be relentless about this." And honestly, as an executive of all kinds of people, I see what I would call, you know, average male employees who are quite vocal about, you know, when they're ready to take the next step, and when they're ready ...
And then I see women who are perhaps even more capable, and they're still, like, "Well, there's more I could learn here, and I want to just keep going." And I think we've gotta be bold, and be brave, and I think ... Was it your story that you were telling me that, yeah, about being four monthsâ pregnant and going into an engineering role when you didn't know anything about engineering. A lot of women might have said, "I'm not ready. I'm just not ready. It's not the right time in my life. I'm not sure. I don't think I'm the right person." But you took the plunge, and that's courage. And I think we have to have that courage.
Satterthwaite: Well, and I read that a lot of times, when it comes to taking a new role, that's a step up, women wait till they're 100 percent ready, and then men feel comfortable if they're, you know, 30 percent, 40 percent. It's like, "Oh, I'm going for it." And that's what you're talking about, yeah, absolutely.
Chow: No, I completely agree with that actually, yeah. I think we're sometimes our hardest critics, you know?
Blocher: Yes, yes.
Satterthwaite: I agree with that, too.
Swanborg: And on that, that's where we actually need to listen to the voices around us. I can assure you, at that point in my career, I would not have applied for a job within the technology organization, if for no other reason than, quite honestly, it wouldn't have been because I wasn't capable of it, there wasn't anything about it that I could appreciate or that I would be passionate about. It wasn't in my sphere of awareness.
Somebody else saw it. Somebody else said, "I think that you should," and it's that moment that you have to listen for, because those are the moments in which people are saying to you, "I see a capability in you, and frankly, even if I don't see the capability in you, I see a hole that needs to be filled, and I need you to find the capability inside of you to go fill that.â
Blocher: But obviously they saw something in you that said, you know, you can overcome this.
Swanborg: Yes. And I sometimes wonder if we don't collectively listen to those voices enough. It would be one of my strong recommendations. And frankly, if the voice isn't forthcoming, ask the question. Go find a couple of people within your company that you think are successful, that you watch their capabilities, their traits, and their values. If you like their values and you like how they treat people, get five minutes on their calendar, go get a coffee with them, and say to them, "What is it in me that you think I could invest more in?" [and] "What are the aspects you see about who I am that I could do more at?" We're often our worst critic, you're right, but we're also often not incredibly self-aware of how we're viewed, and if the voice isn't forthcoming, it might be useful to buy someone a coffee and find out what they're thinking about.
Blocher: What's holding you back, yes.
Chow: Absolutely. I actually think, you know, going back to a point you made earlier about moving around, moving into different roles is actually a really great way to gain perspective, both in terms of the work and learning about what you like, and where your strengths and weaknesses may be, as well as actually building those contacts. It kind of gives you this broad base from which to actually assess both yourself and your skills, as well as that network, which is so huge when it comes to kind of finding that next step, or the path that you want to go down.
Blocher: Agree. I was involved in an intensive assessment of executives, and what makes executives executives, and what are the traits that they have in common, and the two common traits were passion for the business, being super-motivated about what you're doing, and two, being highly curious. And you reminded me to say that, because even when you're in a particular role, be curious about what makes the roles around you, and the teams around you, work. How are they doing what they're doing, and what's the connection between what you do and what they do, so that you begin to understand how all of the piecesâespecially when you're in a big company, because there's lots of sort of silosâhow those things all link together. And having that perspective gives you business acumen, and business acumen gives you opportunities
Chow: You know, that's actually a really great point as well, because ... this panel is called Women in Tech, right? But at the end of the day, we think about technology, but we're still, we're a business. And what I find quite fascinating about technology is that you are in this technology company, and there's some really smart technology people, and they're brilliant, right? But frankly, you know, you really need the business skills as well, because you're in a technology company but you're a business as well, and so, it's the marriage of that technology knowledge as well as the business knowledge that's really important.
Blocher: That's right.
Swanborg: Well, and I hear you. You talk about passion and curiosity, and I think that those are so critical. I would add one to it. I think that the most successful people I've seen, certainly at DreamWorks Animation but really anywhere, is that they're proud. They're proud of what they're doing, they're proud of the company they work for, they're proud of the work they're involved in. They want to go tell people about it.
And I think if somebody were to come up to me and ask, "Well, what advice can you suggest?" I'd say, "If you aren't proud and if you go home every day going, 'Look, it was a really hard day, challenging meetings, I'm stressed, etc.,' thatâs one thing, but are you proud? Are you proud of what you're doing?" If you can say yes to that, then that's going to be such a critical factor. And, you know, I've worked at DreamWorks for a long time now, and I've always been so proud of it. And I'm proud of our relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. And honestly, we wouldn't be partnered with a company we weren't proud to be partnered with. And I think that that is as critical as anything else.
Blocher: Yes. It's a sense of integrity, I think, that that's ...
Satterthwaite: I think people would be interested in hearing this from you guys. What would you say is your one piece of career advice? If you can only say one thing to someone, what do you think that piece of advice would be?
Swanborg: You're far more capable than you have any possible way of knowing. You have more ability in you to balance home and work, you have more ability in you to understand things you don't know about today, and you have more ability in you to make a difference for your company than you think you do. And sometimes I think that that's scary. Realizing that potential can actually be frightening knowing that, "I really do have impact, I do matter, I am capable." But if at any point you're wondering whether or not you are, you are.
And it is doable. And, of course, you can balance family and work, by the way. Is it easy? No, but who said it was going to be easy? But can you do it, and are your kids going to be great, and is your family ... Yes. So, don't ever wonder whether or not you are. You are. Go after it.
Blocher: I love that. I love that.
Chow: Yes, it's very inspirational actually.
Satterthwaite: Absolutely. Susan, do you have ...
Blocher: I would say, just on a practical, day-to-day basis, be vocal. Be vocal about contributing your expertise. Be vocal about what your career aspirations are. Be vocal about how to improve the company that you work in. Be proactive, take action. So, I think just, you know, having women really find their voice, I think that's one thing I'd like everyone to take away.
Satterthwaite: Yeah, that's great advice too. Kitty?
Chow: Wow. I'm not sure how I'm gonna follow those two answers. I think it's, you know, think outside the box. I mean, to the point about careers are not linear, right? You know, think outside the box. Think about, perhaps, that non-traditional next role. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the same domain that you're in now. It could be something that you've never thought about doing. So, don't just constrain yourself to kind of, perhaps, a narrow path, because I think in the environment that we are in now, there is just so much opportunity, right? Across multi-disciplines, across different roles, functions, etc. And I think that, you know, as long as you have that core skill set, you can actually, you know, to your point, you can do it. So, don't think within a certain framework.
Satterthwaite: OK, well, it's funny, I've got a little story about that. I was interviewing for a role in a different group that I'd never thought about joining before, and it was a promotion, a really good promotion, and I was like, "I just don't know if I want to do this day to day, you know, I'm not sure if I want to ... I'm more familiar over here." And one of the interviewers looked at me and said, "To get that bump, you could do anything for two years, and you're going to learn something new, which, if you stay where you are, you're not going to learn as much."
So, I did make the leap, and I was really happy I did, but when he said that, I was like, "I never thought about it that way." I thought about it, "Do I want to do this job day to day." I didn't think about the growth, and I didn't think about, you know, the career being like longer term hops to get to where you're trying to go. So basically, stepping out of the box, learning something new, and you grow as a result of that.
Thank you so much. I think you guys have given great advice, and I know a lot of people will get a lot out of this video. Thank you so much.