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From Brown Back to Brown: A Telecom Career Unfolds: Page 2 of 2
On being a woman in communications, yesterday and today...
At the beginning, when I was working as a vendor, most telecom managers were male. But when I switched over to become a telecom manager myself, I found an awful lot of other female telecom managers locally, here in Rhode Island. Most had started as switchboard operators, then were given more responsibilities. The next thing you know, they're the telecom managers because they knew pretty much everything that was going on. But I have not found that to be true nationally. In the ACUTA group that used to be very active [the Association for College & University Technology Advancement, dissolved in March 2017 after nearly five decades], women were in the minority -- maybe 30% women telecom managers. And, certainly, since I've been going to Enterprise Connect, I can see how few women there are in managerial roles.
I appreciate that you're trying to promote collaboration among women in telecommunications and IT management so that we know each other, and so that we can call upon each other, build relationships and grow trust in each other, ask questions of each other, and we can feel vulnerable -- if you will -- in not knowing but being able to ask.
On the biggest challenge of her career...
I'm not sure that the challenges [in general] have been different being a woman, and maybe that's because of who I am.
But we certainly know [the challenges women face with] salaries. I only have to look at the most recent statements about range of salaries for telecom managers to know how much more I would earn doing the same job as a male, so it would be nice to be paid properly. That said, I also know that working for higher ed pays less [for men and women], but I get benefits from that situation that may or may not outweigh pay -- generous vacations, and summer hours... things that add to work-life balance.
On her proudest moment...
My proudest moments are helping the underdog. At Johnson & Wales, we always had campuses that were neglected and hotel properties that people forgot about. My proudest moments were in convincing people to spend money on 'Cinderella' so she could have a dress for the ball and those glass slippers. It truly was like that, because they were these forgotten entities. We can laugh, but it's not funny. Taking care of Cinderella should be my thing.
On her advice for female empowerment...
Take a chance. Be assertive. Try anything once to see if it works. You can either fail or be successful, but if you don't try you'll never know. Develop relationships, and use those relationships to move something along. There's always a way to get something done.
Don't ask permission; seek forgiveness. And by this, I mean make your own decision -- a good decision. Again, it comes down to taking a chance.
On female mentorship...
I don't play a formal mentorship role, but I do have a few younger women I work with, and I listen to them talk, and I've read some of their emails, and I watch their style when we're working on projects and trying to get something accomplished. So I take it upon myself, and I ask (I always ask), 'May I make a suggestion? Are you OK if I suggest you do something differently?' And I'll say to them, 'If you phrase it a different way, it'll help you the get outcome you're looking for rather than leaving it to chance.' Don't be a victim; be the one who's driving the results.
It's not a 'hit you over head the with hammer' but a 'guide you with a velvet glove' kind of thing.
Would you like to share your career story with No Jitter as part of our Women in Communications series? Email me, and let's talk!