It’s Good for Your Soul and We Need Your Voice – Introducing the IT Unity Women in Technology Community Site

Heather Newman

by Heather Newman on 3/12/2015

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Women in SharePoint, women in technology

I’m proud to start a Women in Technology (WIT) community site with the talented and formidable Cathy Dew, specialist in SharePoint branding, leader of Rocket City SPUG, graphic designer and Microsoft SharePoint Server MVP. Cathy has done a great job along with Lori Gowin and Jennifer Ann Mason of building the Women in SharePoint community over the years, and I’m excited to lean in to their efforts and help to expand into the broader WIT scope. I have personally enjoyed attending the Women in SharePoint luncheon panels during SPTech Con and the IAMCP’s annual Microsoft Worldwide Conference WIT luncheon. I am also co-chair of the newly minted IAMCP Nor Cal Women in Technology committee.

Jennifer Mason, Sue Hanley, Heather Newman and Cathy Dew attend a Women in SharePoint meeting at SPTechCon in Austin, Feb 2015

Women in SharePoint meeting at SPTechCon, February 2015. Jennifer Mason, Sue Hanley, Heather Newman & Cathy Dew

In putting together our plans and thoughts for what this page should be we had some interesting conversations and meetings. We feel that a place where we could feature content for and about women without excluding men is something that is good for our overall technology community. Calling out gender infuriates some, others are all for it. Being seen as a technologist, influencer, marketer without the word “female” or “woman” in front of it is something I also like, so I see both sides. I’m sure there will be some dialogue about that and it’s a great discussion theme. If you feel so moved, please write an article about it.

Women in Technology and in business in general is always a hot topic. In the past few months there has been a deluge of activity–from Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech, to the heated debate on Gamergate, to the recent LA Times article, Women Leaving Tech in Droves, to recent Huff Po articles, Stepping out of the Debate on Women in Tech and Fewer Women Run Big Companies Than Men Named John, now more than ever we felt that having WIT represented on IT Unity was a natural progression of our core business values. These days its seems to me that all women are a “woman in technology.” From running a household to Fortune 500 businesses to a startup, we are all using (and become the experts for our families) numerous devices, smart phones, apps, gaming consoles, music players, car video players, you name it–making it more important than ever to be digitally savvy, literate and competent. I look to many places for information and resources to learn about tech and women’s issues and am thrilled to have our WIT site be an amalgamator of what is out there in the webisphere.

In my own personal career I’ve had some unbelievable female mentors in my life: my mom, my mother-in-law, Donna Messina (my high school speech coach), Jacqueline Vlaming (a dear high school friend’s mom), Nancy McSharry Jensen (the original leader of the Microsoft SharePoint team) along with some fantastic men. I think it is absolutely essential that we as human beings make a stand to elevate, support and inspire each other. Our world is so tough, life is so busy and changes on a dime. If one has the opportunity to provide a place, a harbor, a community to uplift, celebrate and sometimes simply listen, one MUST do that. Which is why I asked Dan and Jackie if we could provide that space on this site and of course they said yes.

I have had an amazing career working in and around Microsoft and SharePoint for the past fourteen years. I have always been in awe of our FIERCE community of both men and women. We are simply phenomenal. The women in our community are bad-asses and I am continually impressed with their ability to juggle it all. Watching everyone’s careers grow within Microsoft and its partners and with interesting moves to Amazon, Apple, Twitter and in-between partners is a true testament that while there are always set-backs, I do see attention and the support of fostering career acceleration growing in these companies.

I am excited that you will get to know the personal stories of how we all got started in IT. I come to technology through marketing by way of a theatre degree, so my getting into IT was a bit of an anomaly and yet here I am. And funnily enough, many of our ways into tech aren’t traditional. I know you will love reading the stories as much as I have and I encourage any of you reading this to think about becoming a WIT author and sharing yours. It’s good for your soul and we need your voice.

For our first quarter, our community site will concentrate on the five topics below and if you are a woman and you work in technology, we would love for you to write for us. I invite you to jump in, choose a topic and become an author on IT Unity.

  • How did you get started in IT?
  • Share something that recently inspired you
  • Best piece of advice you’ve received
  • Share a story about a mentor
  • How do you manage your personal brand?

Cathy and I both look forward to engaging with you and thank you in advance for joining us on this community site and in the conversation.

Topic: Women In Technology

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