Happy International Women’s Day

international women's dayIn appreciation of International Women’s Day, I kindly offer all of our readers this dedication to the incredible women in technology I am lucky enough to work with on a daily basis.

Each year around this time I like to reflect on how another year has passed in the world of being female, and I always come back to the same question and that is:

‘What has changed for the better for women since this day last year?’

Yet this 365 days around the sun has been drastically different than any other we have lived through in recent history, propelling everyone into a chasm of unknowing, whilst still holding up our “I got this” masks to the eyes looking in. As a woman, I have found that my role as a mother, a daughter, friend, leader, and professional have all been tested simultaneously, only to watch the metaphorical plates fall from the fragile points they are spinning on delicately above my head. This has taught me grace, compassion, and patience for myself which I think I previously lacked, in favor of excelling and performing in a male-dominated industry.

The women who have taught me valuable lessons in the last year include some I am never likely to meet, authors and thought leaders, such as Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, and Florence Given whose wisdom on the pages of books transformed my thinking and enabled me to question my place in the world that I have created for myself. They talk of shame, overcoming, knowing, and not belonging – about breaking free from the patriarchal norms set for us as women, and expectations to be everything to everyone. For their words and clarity, I thank them.

Other women more closely linked to me have demonstrated unbelievable tenacity and strength in a time when everything they know has been snatched away – my sister, an exceptional woman leading a business that has been forced to close for the better part of a year, still generating ideas and income through the most adverse of conditions, knowing that she will learn and thrive in the future, but taking time to read, recharge, and reflect on the things most important to being a successful woman in business and in life.

The women to whom this post is dedicated are the intelligent, committed, charismatic professionals from my team in SAP Litmos Training Content, who work behind the scenes shrouded in mystery, only known as “Developers” to the outside world, but to me have been focused, innovative, and held the highest of standards for our product, whilst also becoming trusted friends, confidants, and teachers to me over the years.

I hope you can learn something from their wisdom on International Women’s Day and build up your team of powerful women to create the impact we all know is within us.

Allow me to introduce part of the SAP Litmos Training Content development team based in the UK, the amazing women behind our product:

Alexandra Donohoe SAP LitmosName: Alexandra Donohoe
Job Title: Senior Developer (Animator)

A woman who inspires you and why:
Kayla Itsines – Australian Personal Trainer, Author, and Entrepreneur

She’s extremely passionate about fitness and helping people improve their lives through exercise and nutrition. Her business has grown exponentially and it’s inspiring to see what a difference she is making.

What is great about the job you do and why other women should think about getting into the Technology industry?
I love the creativity involved in my job. As an animator, creating online learning content, every project brings a new challenge, from developing visual ideas and storyboards to bringing them to life in a way that will have an impact on learners.

What’s great about Technology is that there is something for everyone. Women’s skills and talents are required in all areas, from programming, development, digital marketing to consulting and support.

Best piece of advice you have ever received:
Chances are, there’s never going to be a perfect moment to start something new or a moment when you’ll feel fully ready, best bet is to be proactive, jump in, and learn the rest along the way.

Danielle Hird SAP LitmosName: Danielle Hird
Job Title: Graphic Designer

A woman who inspires you and why:
My older sister, Michelle.

She is a creative person like me and taught me how to draw when I was young, I always aspired to be as good as she was.

She moved to Essex six years ago and went to work in London. She is an illustrator for Sage and also an author/illustrator of two published children’s books.

What is great about the job you do and why other women should think about getting into the Technology industry?
I love my job as I get the chance to be creative and to use the Adobe suite, which I love as it keeps my skills current and up to date.

I think women should consider the Technology industry as it can offer a lot of variety; it’s ever evolving so provides a lot of opportunities.

Best piece of advice you have ever received:
From my mum: it costs nothing to be kind.

Jasmine Ballard SAP LitmosName: Jasmine Ballard
Job Title: Scriptwriter

A woman who inspires you and why:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the US politician. She’s a brilliant young woman trying to make the world a better place for everyone. I respect that she’s in a position of power yet makes herself human and vulnerable, and her interests are the greater good. It’s very inspiring.

What is great about the job you do and why other women should think about getting into the Technology industry?
I love that I get to be really creative in my role despite working for a massive software company! I make my own decisions about my writing such as suggesting course titles, conducting research, and I have a great amount of autonomy – which means what I’m writing always feels like my own.

Other women should get into Tech because we need more women in this industry! Women can provide different points of view and life experiences; and we need diverse teams of people to make the greatest products we can.

Also, the Tech industry is always moving forward; it’s full of forward-thinking companies and people, so it’s a great place to be if you like to be challenged and you like to learn.

Best piece of advice you have ever received:
“If you don’t want to do something, you don’t have to do it.” Sounds really simple and obvious, but my older sister said it to me when I was little, and it kind of led me through life. It helped me to pick jobs and paths that I actually wanted to do, and not the ones that other people expected me to do.

Joanne WeedonName; Joanne Weedon
Job title: Product Development Coordinator

A woman who inspires you and why:
– Leslie Knope (portrayed by Amy Poehler)

Her character is an enthusiastic, dedicated, and optimistic woman with a heart of gold. Not only is she everyone’s biggest cheerleader but she has a firm sense of belief in herself which I find inspiring as she shows you really can do so much when you put your mind to it.

What is great about the job you do and why other women should think about getting into the Technology industry?
My two previous roles outside of SAP were very male-dominated and both within the tech industry. Since starting my current role with SAP, I have seen how this company encourages equal opportunities for everyone and provides the tools and the learning for more women to progress within technology roles. I love working within a diverse team with strong, creative people who encourage and support learning which keeps me motivated.

Best piece of advice you have ever received:
“Everything in life is temporary.”

Whether things are going great or things feel bad, they are always temporary, I feel like this has helped me to have gratitude and perspective and never take anything in life for granted.

Liz BishopName: Liz Bishop
Job Title: Senior Animator

A woman who inspires you and why:
My mum. She has always allowed me to choose what to do with my life and early on I realized how much of your life you spend at work – she encouraged me to do what I enjoy. She is always her happy, laid-back self, and has taught me the most important goal in life is happiness.

What is great about the job you do and why other women should think about getting into the Technology industry?
My job is the best; it’s one of the best feelings to choose what you want to do for a job and then actually spend a majority of your time doing something you love! A fear of mine was not landing the career I had trained and committed to – but I am doing it! I have a huge amount of pride in being a female animator as it’s not a common job, especially for women! In a male-dominated industry, both in animation and technology, I have a fun, fulfilling career and would encourage hopefully future generations of women and girls to become animators.

Best piece of advice you have ever received:
Always follow your gut instinct!

Sarah WilliamsName: Sarah Williams
Job Title: QA Specialist

A woman who inspires you and why:
Dolly Parton is my female inspiration. In song she details the struggles she faced as a child. Coming into the world, her parents paid the medical bills with a bag of oatmeal; they were that poor. Her songs are universally known and she has been awarded two Guinness world records for her contributions to music spanning six decades. Today she is one of the most charitable celebrities on the planet, most recently donating $1 million to help fight COVID and research the vaccine. She provides books to children free of charge to inspire a love of reading. She has a theme park named after her, created by her to help bring jobs to her community. I love her for her trueness to herself; her roots are her heritage. She is an inspiration as she followed her belief in who and what she wanted to be in a time when women were not taken seriously.

What is great about the job you do and why other women should think about getting into the Technology industry?
To be here at SAP is an honor and to be able to work with a product that is quite literally at the forefront of what companies need right now is an amazing privilege. I work alongside a number of strong women in technology on the team I belong to and for me that is a daily inspiration of how women in technology is changing. It is no longer to be viewed as male dominant with women able to pursue careers in any area of technology they choose. SAP is a great example of not only women in power but women in technology leading the way. I’m proud to be part of that.

Best piece of advice you have ever received:
“You are here for a short while, so don’t hurry, don’t worry, and be sure to smell the flowers along the way” – This is a small mantra I try to live by. When all around me is too much, I remember my existence is short and small so I look to nature for calm and balance.

For more information on the product that these inspirational women produce, contact us at sales@litmos.com.