This Women’s Equality Day, Let’s Commit to Making the Workplace More Inclusive

Six tech leaders share advice for making companies more equitable for women.
Kelly O'Halloran
Written by Kelly O'Halloran
August 25, 2021Updated: August 26, 2021

What do women want out of their careers?

To be paid fairly and equally is a start. 

But for the six leaders below, it’s not about titles or responsibilities. Instead, these women share the desire to be challenged, heard and supported in their professional growth. 

In Austin tech, it seems they have found that. AJ Magsaysay, for example, recently moved into a new role after conversations with her manager at the retail operations platform Brightpearl. Knowing that Magsaysay’s career goals include learning new things and being challenged, her manager made her aware of a new opportunity that would be opening up soon.

After interviewing, she landed the position of operations project manager.

“I worked with Brightpearl to seamlessly transition into my new role without much disruption to my current team,” Magsaysay said. “This experience showed me that my company values me and wants to encourage my growth and happiness.”

 

More On Inclusion EffortsWhat Inclusive Leadership Looks Like In Action

 

Over at cybersecurity training platform Living Security, Kelsi Kamin joined the team 10 months ago as the CEO’s chief of staff. She continues to be invited into conversations about the company’s future growth and immediately impacted its strategic objectives. 

“There are constant opportunities for both upward mobility and promotions into new departments where employees may want to build a new skill set here,” said Kamin.

With Women’s Equality Day set for August 26, Built In Austin chose this moment to celebrate the career journeys of these movers and shakers and asked them each to share how companies can provide more opportunities and equity for women in tech.

 

Jessica Noglows
Xeek Program Director

 

What are your overall career goals, and to what degree have you been able to fulfill them at Studio X?

My career goal is to be a lifelong learner and constantly driven and challenged by the work that I do. I’ve worn many different hats in my career, with roles in product management, mechanical engineering, software engineering and strategy, and enjoy leveraging these different skill sets. My current role allows me broad exposure across the entire Studio X business, which aligns with my career goals. I drive technical leadership for the Xeek product and commercial use cases, set long-term strategies, determine business key performance indicators, and lead direction on a product build that I believe will change the energy world.

I’ve been running the Xeek product since it was merely an idea on a sticky note. It’s been incredible to watch the entire company grow from an idea to where it is now: a business with a multimillion-dollar profit and loss statement, a brilliant team and an exciting future outlook to create next-generation AI products for the energy industry.

 

What professional development resources does Studio X offer?

Studio X offers an educational assistance program through its HR arm that reimburses employees up to $1,500 per calendar year for college courses as part of a degree program or up to $500 per calendar year for continuing education expenses. Additionally, we are encouraged to attend and speak at conferences. This year and next, I look forward to attending a variety of different conferences including EAGE, SXSW, Collision and AI Week.

Organizations must strive to create truly inclusive environments where diversity is welcomed, celebrated and cherished.”

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Organizations must strive to create truly inclusive environments where diversity is welcomed, celebrated and cherished, and there is no one solution to achieve this. Some effective ways I’ve seen include building robust mentorship and support networks for women and other underrepresented groups, reevaluating corporate policies that impact women such as maternity leave or flexible working hours, and striving to ensure corporate events like off-sites and professional development are designed to be inclusive in both the type and the timing of events.

A diverse and inclusive environment is crucial for attracting and retaining exceptional talent and for driving business performance. Studies have shown that diverse organizations are more likely to meet or exceed financial targets, experience lower levels of employee turnover and outperform competitors. There is enormous value to be captured by embracing diversity and striving to create a truly inclusive workplace.
 

 

Engagency team
Engagency
Jennifer Dessin & Marlene Guevara
Project Managers

 

What are your overall career goals, and to what degree have you been able to fulfill them at Engagency?

Jennifer Dessin, Project Manager: A career goal of mine had been to get my Project Management Professional certification, which I achieved right before I joined Engagency. To maintain that certification, we have to complete a certain number of professional development units. At Engagency, there’s a lot of training and encouragement to use our time here to maintain our certifications. That support motivates us to think about how we can improve workloads and processes throughout the organization and within the individual projects we’re managing.

 

What professional development resources does Engagency offer?

Marlene Guevara, Project Manager: I appreciate how much effort and time is put into our onboarding experience. We are given sufficient time to take online training and get up to speed on what Engagency’s about and our technology stack. It’s nice to have that time to learn the business. You don’t get that opportunity in a lot of places.

Another thing that’s helpful in this effort is that the team is offered time during work hours to train and take their certifications. A lot of companies claim to offer training as one of their benefits, but you often have to do it outside of work hours. 

It’d be more impactful if we thought about how companies can get involved early to build opportunities for girls in the future.”

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Guevara: A lot of companies do what they can to help women feel included and welcome by making a consistent effort in hiring women. But I think it’d be more impactful if we thought about how companies can get involved early to build opportunities for girls in the future. I’ve read a lot of research on diminishing the gap between women and tech, and it always shows that from a young age, girls are just as interested as boys in tech, but they start losing that interest in middle school. It’s not that they’re not capable. It’s just that there’s a lack of exposure and empowerment. That’s a place where I think companies can step up in their local communities and help.

Dessin: I think having access to role models from an early age can help girls feel empowered to speak up when they’re interested in something.

 

 

Ivelisse Santiago
Director of Finance

 

What are your overall career goals, and to what degree have you been able to fulfill them at Pushnami?

I want to be the best at my trade. That doesn’t necessarily mean knowing everything or always being correct. It’s giving my best every day, feeling proud of what I do, and taking calculated risks while learning from my mistakes and sharing those experiences with others. At Pushnami, I’ve been given the opportunity to grow as a professional and as a leader. I’m encouraged to use my voice, which may not always be right but is always heard. We all work together to create innovative solutions for everyday problems that make our work life more efficient and effective. All that and more feeds my drive to become the best professional I can be.

 

What professional development resources does Pushnami offer?

One word that sums this up is also one of Pushnami’s core values: innovation. The entire team is highly encouraged to bring new ideas to the table, think outside the box and reinvent the way we do things. We are constantly learning and continually growing, individually and as a team. To support that growth and development, Pushnami offers a $1,200 annual allowance for us to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies.

I’m encouraged to use my voice, which may not always be right but is always heard.”

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Statistics are not just numbers on paper. Act, don’t just talk. Ensure your numbers don’t display biases or preferences. Create benefits and policies that promote a productive working environment regardless of gender identity, like flexible working hours and paid leave for the primary caretaker of a newborn. Ensure fair metrics are in place to measure actual performance. Allow a safe place for conversation among peers and management, whether it is to express, empower or encourage. We’ve come so far, but there is still a long way to go. Let’s keep working toward a future where inclusivity and equitability are everyday common terms, not cultural issues to resolve.

 

 

Cory Apperson
Sr. Director & General Manager

 

What are your overall career goals, and to what degree have you been able to fulfill them at LogicMonitor

I’ve always been drawn to a leadership role where I can help solve complex problems, drive strategy, and build and work with teams made up of high-performing individuals. I also take pride in working for a company that delivers a top-notch product that customers love. So my most recent move into the position of general manager of our strategic growth pillar, Airbrake, provided me with the perfect opportunity to lead a talented team and work within an organization where everyone wants to challenge and grow themselves to push the needle forward.

It’s rare to work for a company like LogicMonitor that is investing in a platform that delivers incredible value to our customers while keeping employee purpose and customer experience at the forefront. The feeling at the end of the day that we’ve accomplished something to enhance the business while continuously learning brings me purpose. 

 

What professional development resources does LogicMonitor offer?

I started at LogicMonitor as an individual contributor on the product team more than five years ago. The company has fueled my professional advancement by providing career development resources, investing in my personal growth, motivating and empowering LMers through its strong leadership team, and embracing a culture that identifies, supports and promotes hard-working individuals.

In addition to having unlimited LinkedIn Learning courses at our fingertips, LogicMonitor employees are reimbursed for personal professional development opportunities to help further our careers and shape our futures. We also have a handful of internal community groups that act as open forums for discussion and host guest speaker events that touch on important topics to push us all to be better, more respectful individuals.

Tech companies should take the crucial step of having more open and transparent conversations with their female employees.”

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Tech companies should take the crucial step of having more open and transparent conversations with their female employees. Promote a work environment where expectations on career progression and success are clearly articulated, so all parties are aligned and everyone benefits. Foster strategic support systems from peers and leaders who will develop, promote, and champion women — this includes support from our male counterparts. Tech companies also need to adopt policies and benefits that support and celebrate both new moms and working moms.

 

 

Kelsi Kamin
Chief of Staff

 

What are your overall career goals, and how have you been able to fulfill them at Living Security?

I have always had a passion for startups and connecting companies with the resources they need to grow. After spending the first part of my career as a generalist in venture capital and understanding how early-stage companies develop, I knew I was ready to take the leap into operations. I was excited to join Living Security for the opportunity to learn how to build and scale a hyper-growth tech company and to work with our CEO, Ashley Rose. 

A major benefit of getting in early at a startup is that if you’re curious, motivated to make an impact and willing to roll up your sleeves, you have access to unprecedented opportunities. Since joining the Living Security team last year, I’ve had a front-row seat to every aspect of the company’s growth. I’ve had the opportunity to influence company objectives and execute projects across all lines of the business. As the chief of staff to a CEO, I have a hand in everything from marketing and public relations strategy to product development and fundraising. These are skills that I know I’ll continue to accumulate as Living Security continues its upward trajectory.

 

What professional development resources does Living Security offer?

There’s really no ceiling at Living Security. We are a growing company full of young and ambitious leaders. There are constant opportunities for both upward mobility and promotions into new departments where employees may want to build a new skill set. Every employee is also given a mentor through the Living Security buddy program to help support team members and build relationships. In addition, Living Security supports continued learning opportunities for employees with regular training, monthly lunch and learns and sponsored employee certification programs.

Women are regularly promoted into leadership roles and there is a spirit of mentorship that abounds.” 

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Gender equality and diversity is an integral part of the culture at Living Security, and it’s evident in the fact that 50 percent of our team are women in a male-dominated industry. That culture doesn’t stop at the human resources door either. With a female CEO leading our team, women are regularly promoted into leadership roles and there is a spirit of mentorship that abounds. I know that the company’s leadership is determined to keep diversity and gender equality at the forefront of our recruiting and retention efforts, which will ensure that the Living Security team will always be a reflection of the outside community.

 

 

AJ Magsaysay
Operations Project Manager

 

What are your overall career goals, and to what degree have you been able to fulfill them at Brightpearl?

I don’t have traditional career goals, and I’m not chasing a specific title. My career goals are simple and not particularly role-based. Am I being challenged? Am I learning? Do I enjoy what I do, and do I feel that I contribute value to my team and company? These are what I focus on. 


What professional development resources does Brightpearl offer?

Of the resources Brightpearl has in this arena, my favorite is LinkedIn Learning. I regularly take courses on project management, leadership, soft skills and technical skills. These courses are also built into the performance goals I have made with my manager. Additionally, I’ve been encouraged to attend conferences and tech events, including the Women in Tech and Shopify events. 

The women in my company are a major resource for me. There is a community of amazingly skilled, intelligent and supportive women at Brightpearl I can lean on and learn from, one of whom is my manager.

Hire more women in places of power.”    

 

How can tech companies promote an inclusive and equitable culture for women?

Hire more women. Through equitable hiring practices and inviting benefits, bring diversity to your talent pool. Where are you posting your open roles? How are you marketing them? How are the roles worded? What benefits are you offering that are inviting to women? Not all women want a traditional family, but for those who do, how is your company facilitating that?

Diversity in leadership is vital for an inclusive culture, as it brings additional views to the table. Hire more women in places of power. Encourage communities in your organization, not to create cliques and silo groups but to give women and others an open and welcoming place to discuss their experiences, lean on each other and grow together.
 

 

Jobs from companies in this blog52 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
HR + Recruiting
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Product
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Data + Analytics
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Data + Analytics
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Sales
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Design + UX
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Content
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Sales
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Sales
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Sales
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Operations
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Developer
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Sales
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Product
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Data + Analytics
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Data + Analytics
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Finance
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Operations
new
ENGAGENCY
Austin
Finance
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Developer
new
Studio X
Austin
Marketing
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Data + Analytics
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Marketing
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Product
new
Pushnami
Austin
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Project Mgmt
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Sales
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Sales
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Developer
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Finance
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Sales
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Project Mgmt
new
ENGAGENCY
Austin
Sales
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Developer
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Sales
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Developer
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
Marketing
new
Pushnami
Austin
Sales
new
LogicMonitor
Remote
HR + Recruiting
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Operations
new
Pushnami
Austin
Design + UX
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Finance
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Operations
new
LogicMonitor
Austin
Developer
new
Pushnami
Austin
Operations
new
Brightpearl
Austin
Developer
new
ENGAGENCY
Remote
Developer
new
ENGAGENCY
Austin
Developer
new
ENGAGENCY
Austin

Austin startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Austin
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Austin Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Women in Austin Tech