Happy International Women's Day 2019! The campaign this year is #BalanceforBetter, a call to action for "doing everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world." At Aviture, we strive to live this “Balance.” Gender diversity makes us a better company and to encourage these efforts, Aviture has enhanced our maternity leave program to include additional time-off with pay and greater flexibility when returning to the office following leave. Additionally, 70 percent of our new hires this year are women, including some of our senior leadership. To make this year’s International Women’s Day special, we recognize and celebrate women in technology by highlighting a few of the women of Aviture and why women strengthen and enhance our company.
One may ask, "Why women?" As a company that lives and breathes through innovation, we emphasize diversity of thought and cross-pollination of ideas - it is key to our culture and growth. The diversity in backgrounds, roles, approaches and gender is vital to Aviture's DNA and is represented in our approach and delivery each and every day. Aviture CEO and founder Mark Griffis put it best: "The perspective brought by women in technology - and the opportunity that they have within Aviture to make a difference, to lead and to inspire provides a necessary and healthy creative tension that continues to push us forward as a single team toward our vision of making a significant impact in the lives of our customers."
Emma's enjoyment and skill for math and sciences led her to the field of computer science. As a software engineer in her first professional role after college, she's had opportunities to work more directly with clients to understand the problems she is solving and to figure out how to best solve them. She acknowledges that sometimes it can be difficult for her voice to be heard, but working in the tech industry has helped her ensure that she speaks out and is able.
Her advice to other women who may be considering a STEM career: "Don't be deterred by the fact that there aren't many women in this industry comparatively. There are a lot of environments that are really nurturing and good to women in tech. There are challenges to overcome but there are people who will help you along the way."
Program manager Ashleigh Reeker describes herself as a lifelong learner. Working in the ever-changing technology industry fulfills her passion for learning and has given her a chance to learn about different industries such as the agricultural or financial domains. "You cannot become stagnant in the technology field, and that fits really well with my values," Ashleigh said. She looks at working in such a male-dominated field as a good challenge. "Women are able to bring in different perspective, whether they are developers, designers or part of the operational team. It may challenge your comfort zone, but it's a great opportunity."
Her advice for women who are considering a STEM career: "As a woman, you can set yourself apart. If you're talented at what you do and can relate to people, that will set you apart. Take the leap."
In her freshman year of college, Michelle Weeks, an undecided major, randomly ended up under the academic advisement of a computer science professor. He persuaded her to take a look at computer science and it worked out perfectly for her. She's worked on projects involving anything from weather technology to natural gas metering and more - and has loved delving into various industries to understand her clients' problems more. Michelle also enjoys mentoring and she mentors younger or less experienced developers in her work in tech as well.
Michelle has two daughters at home and they talk a lot about problem-solving and logic - she doesn't want them to be scared or intimated by the STEM field when they start college. "I love being a software engineer. It's all about solving problems in an innovative way and there's always something new to learn."
The continuously evolving world of software and Kate White's entrepreneurial spirit (see Third Space Coworking) makes Aviture a great fit for her. "I want to try a lot of different things. Within the fields of user experience and design, you can try new research methodologies or new design softwares and I really enjoy that kind of thing." Kate attributes her career growth to the environment of learning, cross-collaboration and innovation in tech, as well as specifically Aviture's involvement with the start-up community. That's not to say there aren't challenges, but overall, Kate has enjoyed her experience in the tech industry.
"If you asked me when I was 18 if I wanted to work in tech, I would say, 'No, that sounds boring.' But it's actually not boring - it's really interesting. The problem solving, the teamwork and the collaboration - it's pretty cool. And there's a lot of ways your career can go."