Celebrating the Women of Litmos

Each year as I sit down to write a new version of the International Women’s Day (IWD) blog it really makes me think. How can I be a better woman this year? How can I be the best version of myself? Why is empowering other women so important in a society that constantly tells us we’re too fat, we’re too skinny, we’re not pretty enough, we wear too much make up, we need to look more presentable, we should be a stay-at-home mom, we should get a job, we should just be glad that we’re included in the conversation, we must have kids, we must get married, blah, blah, BLAH. Every day women are held to impossibly high standards, but each day we excel.

I am so thankful to be a woman and to be surrounded by strong women who push me to be the best version of myself every single day. Today I want to introduce you to some of those women and to some of the women who keep the Litmos wheels turning. They are bright, inspiring, strong, and beautiful and I am blessed to call them colleagues.

To get to know these women a little better, we asked them all three questions:

  1. Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
  2. What are you most proud of doing in your life?
  3. What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?

Here’s what they had to say in honor of IWD:

Kate Bos
Kate BosCompliance Product Manager – Content

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    Taryn Brumfitt – She’s Australian of the Year 2023, a writer, film director, and photographer. I have been following her for seven years now after watching her first documentary: Embrace. She inspires me with her honesty, fearlessness, and because she is teaching the world to celebrate diversity. I haven’t had many occasions in my life when a film, book, or documentary has had a profound and life-changing impact on my life – but Embrace was just that for me.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    I suppose I should say I am most proud of the incredible children I am raising, my career to date, or designing my recent house renovation – all of which bring me joy. Right now, though, I would say surviving 262 days of Melbourne Covid19 lockdowns is up there in my proudest achievements. For me it meant juggling working full time, keeping my family safe and well, assisting my unwell parents, teaching my two young children, and maintaining my own mental wellbeing. I’ve never been through such a prolonged period of uncertainty and challenge in my life. I remember reading this quote during the worst days of lockdown: “When juggling as much as you are, remember that some balls are glass, and some are rubber. You can’t drop the glass balls.” – Nora Roberts. It was all about prioritisation and working out which of those things were glass and needed your attention the most.
  • What is the most important piece of advice you want to give a young woman starting her career in tech?
    The most important advice I can give someone starting their career is to find someone who has your best interests at heart to champion your career – your own personal cheerleader! It could be a manager, colleague, or someone you admire in your workplace or industry. Women often can find workplaces very competitive, but I don’t believe we should be in competition with each other. We should be raising each other up to be the best we can ALL be. As women, I feel social conditioning often holds us back. It’s the focus on our appearance above our ability, or the idea we’re not strong enough, or “too emotional.” We all form views from a very young age through the media, our families, culture, religion, or society of how to act, what roles we should play in relationships and at work. It can set the scene for whether we succeed in our careers. Having someone to champion your cause can help break through that glass ceiling society has created. My most memorable managers have been very strong women who have boosted my career and not been jealous of my success. Whilst I don’t personally feel like I have suffered from inequality in wages or opportunity in my career, I certainly look at my daughter and want her to be given the same opportunities to succeed and receive the recognition she deserves (just as much as my son will). I feel like I can and should pave the way for future women to succeed in their careers – it’s what I can do to make a difference.

Jennifer Grey
jennifer greyAccount Executive

  • Who is a woman that inspires you and why?
    This may be a little cliché but I will have to go with Susan Wells-Yerger, my high school cheerleading coach. She is one of the strongest and smartest women I have encountered in my life. Despite a long battle with polio and then breast cancer in her later years, Susan did not allow those challenges to slow her down. She impacted thousands of high school students, but the cheerleaders were able to soak up the really valuable lessons by spending countless hours in her presence. She encouraged us to be respectable, intelligent, and driven young women. “S” – our nickname for Susan – inspired us to stand up for what is right, be kind and compassionate, and go after our dreams. I still have lunch with “S” from time to time and nothing has changed. She motivates me to do better, to be better, in all aspects of my life.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    I am most proud of myself for running the St Jude Marathon in 2016. I have always loved to exercise but this was not the ordinary visit to the gym or a casual jog. The amount of both physical and mental strength required to make it through the training season and then the actual race proved to be a difficult journey. Although I do not plan to ever run a full marathon again, I am incredibly grateful for the discipline and lifestyle that have stuck with me, not to mention crossing the finish line is a moment I will never forget.
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    The best advice I can offer is that you do not have to be the smartest person in the room. You just have to listen with intent. Listen to learn. Speak with purpose and ask questions when you need clarity. Be yourself. We are all wired differently and if you start trying to be someone you’re not, then the wires get crossed.

Sydnie Montoya
sydnie montoyaSupport Team Manager for North America

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    Everyone probably says this, but it’s so true! My Mom inspires me the most! She’s always wanting to help others; it’s totally where I get it from. She’s loving and caring and will do just about anything for family and friends. I’ve seen her time and time again strive for success and meet her goals throughout her life. She’s taught me so much, most importantly to be respectful. I will always be grateful for everything she’s done for me and what she’s inspired me to do.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    Over the last couple years, I’ve been able to purchase my own home and be self-sufficient. I found a new passion for all things fitness, health and wellbeing, and became a certified health coach. I’ve hit a turning point in life and am now building who I am and what I want to become.
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    Know your strengths, skills, and limits. Be honest with yourself. Take the risk, make mistakes, and learn from them. You will uncover who you are and what you want to do. Make sure to set boundaries because burnout is REAL! Most importantly, enjoy what you do.

Kavya Beerval
Kavya BeervalUI Developer

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    There is not just one woman that inspires me. I always loved reading about female CEOs. I take major inspiration from their stories. Being a mother myself, the motivating thing about these incredible women is how hard they work to balance their personal and professional lives while taking care of their little ones. One day, I wish to be a successful entrepreneur like them.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    I’m most proud of who I am today. The “Kavya” I am on this day is the personality that reflects years of dealing with many ups and downs. And this doesn’t stop me from working on myself; I thrive to be a better version of myself all the time. The attitude to always improve keeps me motivated – and waiting to meet future Kavya. 🙂
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    Don’t be afraid. You are nothing less. There will be people who try to put you down but stand up for yourself. Also, keep learning and challenge yourself. Be it any field of tech, get your foundation strong. Plan for the future; having a clear vision for the coming years is critical.

Michaela Schmidt
Michaele SchmidtDeal Desk Analyst

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    My Mother was a single mother, who was pulled out of school in year 10 and is Dyslexic like myself. She taught me that my dyslexia is a gift, not a disability. My mother is a self-taught database programmer and is an expert in her field. Her saying “fake it till you make it” has helped immensely in my career as it has hers. She taught me the value of not listening to those who would tell me I could not do it and asking myself if I can, even if she was the one telling me I couldn’t.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    Overcoming the debilitating anxiety that was destroying my life for many years and dealing with the hard issues I wanted to run and hide from. Since putting the work in to get mentally healthy I have been able to make strides in my professional and personal life, no longer feeling like I am behind the Eight Ball.
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    Don’t let others tell you that you can’t be in tech just because you are a girl. Tech needs women to look at problems in a different light. Never be scared to ask a question; you can not learn without acknowledging you don’t know the answer. Life is learning.

Darshini Chalam
Darshini ChalamSr. Director, Sales Operations

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    My older sister. To me, she is a real-life embodiment of Wonder Woman in five-inch heels; (we are short women 😉). She is my inspiration for continued/ sustained inspiration. Observing her and the choices she made through out the years, and especially how she manages to find work-life balance in her leadership role. The things I learned from her that I believe will help us all not just get inspired but stay inspired:

    • i. Learn to pick your battles personally and professionally.
    • ii. Know your priorities and stick to them.
    • iii. Find your “happy routine” and stick to it.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    On personal note, surviving cancer. In my tenth year of being cancer free, I ran 14 running races. I found my “happy routine” through this experience.
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    Don’t use someone else’s ruler to measure your own success.

Jen Jackson
Jen JacksonQueen of Everything
AKA Senior Vice President of Customer Experience

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    So many women, this is hard to answer.
    1. Katherine Hepburn is my go-to, in a time where equality for women in the workplace was really trying to find its place, Katherine stepped forward. She was not only incredible in her craft, but she was her own person, spoke her mind, and worked hard to clear the path for those behind her.2. Michelle Obama would be my more recent. I respect her approach, her thought process, and her vulnerability. She has opened the world to so many young people that may not have felt included before. I love that she is not only a strong female leader, but also a good role model and she is real. We need more of this.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    Making people. Despite their momma working nonstop, they are amazingly good humans with good hearts, and they perpetuate kindness and humility. They are my greatest achievements. But also helping, supporting, guiding , mentoring. Working to ensure any who need support have it, many times that’s speaking to groups about realities of women in tech, women in leadership, creating a positive culture of communication and collaboration. I work hard as a leader to emulate behavior of the culture we need, being approachable, vulnerable, and open. Wherever I am, no matter what stage or season of life, I try to not only help where I can, but to openly seek new ways to help. I live my values; people are humans before all else. I start with kindness, and ensure people feel comfortable to be who they are. I create space for all with intention.
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    Find the helpers. We are everywhere; get a mentor; get a coach. Identify what scares you the most, what you think is your weakest area and work on it. Before ALL else, remember, you are the right person for the role you are in. They picked you. They didn’t pick wrong. You CAN and will do this.
    You are right where you are supposed to be, and you are NOT an imposter. They picked you. Bring the Drunk Girl Bathroom Hype (DGBH) energy to your everyday life. Build up everything and everyone around you; make it a part of who you are. It’s contagious and the world needs it. It helps you grow; it helps you have good days, and it trains the mind and the eye to see the good, see the opportunity and not always be preparing for the worst. When we walk into the bathroom on the floor and walk out on top of the world!

Kyile Stair
Kyile StairChief People Officer

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    My mother. I always knew I wanted to mirror her work ethic and her ability to balance her life with everything else. She was a constant advocate and supporter for not just me, but my siblings as well. I loved the idea of one day, working in an “office setting” and doing “something in business,” just like she did. Also, a huge shoutout to my two sisters, who are both nurses. It takes an amazing person to do what nurses do day in and out. They are two of my favorite people on the planet, and always help ground me.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    Personally: Raising another human being (my son). After becoming a mother, I was blown away by how difficult it can be to raise a child and maintain your own personal identity. I’m also constantly learning from him (can I just say, “thumbs up for search engines!” to help answer my son’s constant questions). He reminds me to laugh and be silly.On the education side: I’m proud of achieving my MBA and becoming a certified coach. Both of these accomplishments took a lot of time and energy, and I was proud to have committed to each. I met amazing people along the way – and of course, learned a lot of interesting things!
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    Surround yourself with people who advocate for you, and (if the timing is right personally) put your name in the hat and say yes to that next (maybe scary) project or role. I was fortunate in my career to have some amazing female managers who were constantly pushing me to go for opportunities I never would have on my own. I wouldn’t have the work experiences I have today if it wasn’t for those who “threw my name in the hat” for new roles, projects, formal training programs, and more (sometimes without me knowing it)! Because of my own experiences, I’m a big advocate of women supporting women in the workplace. But regardless of gender, find those people who are putting your accomplishments and achievements out to world, just because they know how awesome you are and are rooting for you. Also, learn how your business operates, and maintain an understanding around financial acumen.

Amber Hodge
Amber HodgeSenior Account Executive

  • Who is a woman who inspires you and why?
    From a personal standpoint, my grandmother is my biggest source of inspiration. She passed away in January 2022 and despite being faced with so much adversity in her life she achieved great things. Most importantly, she worked hard and loved her family. I learned so much from her experiences and her wisdom was invaluable. From a professional standpoint, I’m inspired daily by the women I work with across all departments here at Litmos. I’ve been so fortunate to develop so many great relationships over the last 6.5 years with Litmos and there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing these ladies flourish both personally and professionally.
  • What are you most proud of doing in your life?
    Being a working mom is a challenging and rewarding experience. It takes strength, perseverance, and dedication to succeed in both spheres. While I’m certainly not the first to do it, and will definitely not be the last, I am so incredibly proud of myself for adapting and learning to balance the demands of work and family. It’s something I truly take pride in and it’s redefining what “having it all” means to me.
  • What is the most important piece of advice that you want to give to a young woman starting her career in tech?
    My number one piece of advice would be to lean in and build a community through relationships with other women in your company, field, and/or network. As women, it is so important for us to support each other in the workplace. Additionally, never stop learning and developing your skills. The tech industry is constantly evolving, and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and developments. Even if you don’t feel like you are the smartest in the room, always strive to work the hardest and try to develop a diverse range of skills that can help you stand out. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek guidance from those around you (remember that community I mentioned earlier). Finally, always believe in yourself and your abilities. You have earned your place in the industry through your hard work and dedication, so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.