We are particularly excited about this week's story because we get to highlight one of our very own, Amelia Wong, MakeShift's Product Operations Manager.
In a still very male-dominated industry, Amelia is breaking tech stereotypes and encouraging other women to keep pushing barriers. Her grit, tenacity, passion, and brilliance in everything she does leads each and every one of us to up our game.
Leave your comfort zone
MakeShift: Tech has a gender diversity problem. Women in tech are still underrepresented making up a mere 25% of the digital workforce. How did you get involved in the industry?
AW: I happened to take a chance on the industry one day. I met someone who said to me, "you should work here." I had originally wanted to be in sports and fashion marketing and had never even considered working in tech. The individual offered me a business card, and on a whim, I decided that evening to apply for a job. I have been in tech ever since and wouldn't change anything about the last ten years. My education is in marketing and philosophy and it has given me the ability to fulfill many different roles throughout my career so far.
MakeShift: Wow, from fashion marketing to tech, that is a big jump. Your success clearly shows that if you want something badly enough and are willing to put in the hours, you can do anything you want! What have been some of the highlights of your growing career?
AW: I think the most memorable parts of my career have always been the people. I have met so many incredible people, with various talents, skills, and stories. I have learned the most from watching, emulating, and listening to the people around me.
Smash the patriarchy's stereotypes
MakeShift: What have been some of the challenges that you faced as a woman in your industry?
AW: Given that tech is predominantly composed of men in the workforce, it can be difficult to break through the "boy's club" mentality. Women can often be seen as lesser or not as smart, simply because there aren't very many women in tech. We may feel that we have to approach business with a more aggressive or competitive attitude. One of the things I like about MakeShift is the culture of respect and opportunity that each of us works to create. I enjoy working with our various teams to build and deliver a product we are all proud of.
If you are looking for a job in tech, follow us on LinkedIn to learn when we have openings. It is the kind of place that will make you love your Mondays.
MakeShift: Hey! I never thought about it that way, but you are right! We do love our Mondays. But, let's go back to the comment you made about women feeling the need to be more aggressive to succeed. What would you say to someone feeling that way?
AW: I think it is important to be yourself and recognize that you are talented and qualified, and your hard work has proven that. We, as women, have many amazing qualities to bring to the table and do not need to conform to the patriarchy's idea of what that should look like.
MakeShift: I know you said you love working at MakeShift (we all do!). However, if you could go back and change things, would you do anything differently?
AW: I don't know that I would change anything about my career, as I think I'm where I'm supposed to be. I hope that I can continue to grow and continue to encourage other women to keep pushing to break the glass ceiling.
Dare to be the dumbest person in the room
MakeShift: What advice would you give to other women who are looking to become leaders in their own industries?
AW: I'm not sure where this quote comes from, but I was given this advice very early on in my career. It doesn't just apply to women.
"Always strive to be the dumbest person in the room."
It sounds a little strange at first, but the goal is to always surround yourself with other women or individuals that you can learn from. If you are finding yourself amongst people who you think are smarter and better than you, rather than feeling intimidated (which can often happen as a woman) then you are in the right room. You can be a leader without being the smartest person in the room. Leave your comfort zone, innovate with your peers and you'll naturally find yourself leading and helping others.
The theme for this year's International Women's Day is #BreakTheBias. To learn more about the biases women face and how you can help break stereotypes, visit internationalwomensday.com
Join us next week for last in our four-part series spotlighting some of the amazing women who work very hard to #BreakTheBias in their communities, workplaces, and lives.