For all the technology industry has to be proud of, one of its biggest areas for improvement remains the fact that it is still largely male dominated. Even though women now make up the majority of the overall U.S. labor force, women are still a minority in the technology sector.
Last December Bluebeam hosted a contingent from the local Pasadena Women in Technology group for networking and a panel discussion featuring some of Bluebeam’s female employees to discuss how they got into technology and how women can continue to advance the industry.
About 60 members of the group listened as the following panelists described their ascent into the technology industry and what motivated them to enter it.
- Lilian Magallanes, Program Manager, Community Development
- Won Chong Kim, Product Delivery Manager
- Isabela Harrington, Sr. Product Delivery Director
- Faline Wu, Sr. Director Customer Experience Infrastructure
Here’s what inspired each of them to enter the technology sector:
Lilian Magallanes: My grandfather is a carpenter. He still is working in construction. So that’s always been part of my life—seeing how things are really built with your hands. And although I never really aspired to be where I am today, I knew that I wanted to always work somewhere along the lines of building and designing. It wasn’t until my last job, working for a mid-size construction management firm, that I fell into BIM coordination and working with construction technology and getting familiarized with the different types of construction technology that is out there. Once I started to really explore how it’s really changing the way we think about building things, using technology, I wanted to be a part of it.
Won Chong Kim: I wasn’t planning on going into technology, and I think the things that inspired me to get more involved and go down that path were basically the passion I could see in technology being applied to solutions, and the fact that, back when I started my career, it was a different sort of field from a typical job. There’s a lot more flexibility and a lot more of the teamwork in technology, instead of the top-down sort of traditional job. Being a woman in the technology field, I feel like I’ve been fortunate or blessed in a way that I haven’t come across your typical issues that you hear about. I think a lot of it was fed by my passion and the possibility of what can happen with technology.
Isabela Harrington: I wanted to get out of consumer goods. I am very passionate about sustainability and didn’t want to deal with stuff that you throw in the garbage quickly. So, focusing on software, you minimize a lot of your carbon footprint on what you do for a living. That was my inspiration number one into focusing on purely software types of companies. The second is that it’s magical. You have this thing that you’re doing manually for a long time and suddenly someone writes an algorithm and the whole thing simply happens. It has its magical ways of surprising us. Technology enables that through multiple channels, whether it’s healthcare, entertainment. I really like experimenting with different industries.
Faline Wu: Across all the jobs that I’ve had, I always want to make sure I make a positive impact on people. And I didn’t have the right degree, so I could not save dying babies. I still have the desire to do that maybe one day. But, then, what I quickly realized is that, personal and individual levels vs. when you have a system or have some kind of technology, the level of impact you make is very different. And that’s much more scalable. If I can build a system that can save the operation team 15 minutes, even just per person per hour, by clicking two less buttons, that makes their life much easier. That actually is equally satisfying for me. That’s what inspires me to be in this field.