This year for International Women’s Day I’m choosing to challenge the stereotype of female technical leaders.
As a woman in a technical leadership role, I’m aware that I’m different than other leaders. I do things differently, sometimes because I want to and sometimes because I must. Some of these differences were amplified over the past year with the challenges of the pandemic. While I was used to occasionally being the only woman in a meeting, this year, I was sometimes the only woman and the only person with kids in the background (or more realistically, climbing on me while I was on camera).
The pandemic gave us a view into our co-worker’s lives. We saw inside homes and met family members and pets. We were forced to be vulnerable. I hope this vulnerability brings acceptance and empathy, and perhaps shows another dimension to our leaders and co-workers. Despite everything that has happened this year, the work was done, products were launched, executive meetings were held, even with some technical difficulties such as barking dogs, and kids on laps. Perhaps this is the silver lining, that we recognize that “different” gets the job done and going forward, we view “different” in a new light.
I am grateful for companies like Medtronic that embrace the “different”, value diversity, and work hard to attract, develop, and retain women.