Never thought I would host a panel on this topic. In fact I rarely attend a women’s designated industry event, but when the Flash Memory Summit organizers asked me to host the Women in Flash Technology panel, I said yes. Selfishly, it was a way to engage with some cool women in the industry, some I already know well and others being new.
Before you beg out of reading the remaining of the blog. Here are some stats:
For an industry that is expecting additional 1.2 million job openings by 2022, this is looking like a severe problem. And when examining other technology disciplines, such as EE degrees, the numbers are worse. For Electrical and Computer Hardware Engineering jobs, those held by women represented 12.3% and 15.3% respectively in 2014. Unlike computing this statistic never reached a peak and has remained flat. It is no wonder firms such as Intel and EMC are actively engaged with NCWIT (National Center for Women in Technology**). These companies are looking down the road and seeing a resource shortage that needs to be addressed now.
But addressing this shortage is more than encouraging women to enter into the world of technology; it is extending a hand and making this market a familiar, comfortable and engaging community for types of people. As individuals we are influenced by our peers, by the people we look up to and areas we are exposed to. I myself expected to go into transportation logistics. Why? It was because a family friend that headed up American Airlines freight transportation exposed me to the world of making things move. He engaged me and I felt comfortable, despite this being a very male dominated environment. Unfortunately, when I graduated the job market was going through a severe decline and thus I found myself in IT and never looked back.
Today, we can make an impact simply with the ways we engage with others in professional situations including biases that we are not even aware of, how we encourage them (or not), and through the actions as leaders we take in hiring and promoting. We make an impact by actively developing an environment that supports both men and women.
This panel will look at these issues, and in particular how we—men and women—can take day to day actions that help our peers, employees and the next generation find Information Technology an engaging community.
Maybe, by engaging with one person at a time, we can influence and change the trend.
Bev Crair, VP/GM Storage Group, Intel
Gail Greener, VP of Product Management, EMC
Janae Lee, Sr VP Strategy, Quantum
Tiffany To, VP of Marketing, Cohesity
Catherine Ashcraft, Sr Researcher, National Center for Women & Information Technology
**Serving on NCWIT’s board are two executives from the storage industry:
Fidelma Russo, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Enterprise Storage Divison, EMC
Rose Schooler, Vice President and GM, Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group, Intel