Zuora isn’t a stranger to winning awards. In addition to our 2016 SIIA Codie Award for Company of the Year, our Z-Women are making waves in the tech industry! This episode is the first installment of a 3-part series where three of our award-winning female executives share their views on women in technology and effective ways to help women in tech succeed.
Episode 1: Jennifer Pileggi, Zuora Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Women in Tech Enables Greater Equality in the Future
There are lots of reasons why we need more women in technology, starting with the fact that we need more people in tech, period. Certainly in the U.S., and the Bay Area specifically, there’s a lack of qualified engineers, and if companies don’t hire sufficiently from a group that comprises half the U.S. population, it hurts their ability to grow. We also a need larger critical mass of women in tech careers to counter unconscious bias in hiring and promotions, particularly into leadership positions. Seeing more women in tech, especially at higher levels of an organization, should encourage girls to pursue technology, which in turn enables greater equality in the future. Finally, women approach problems differently than men do, and in a tech world that’s rapidly changing and evolving, having teams made up of people who approach problems in a variety of ways can only help, and in fact, diversity of thought is known to have a strong positive effect on companies’ performance and profitability.
Women Helping Women Succeed in Tech Careers
First, we need to be aware of what kinds of problems we might face in the workplace, such as unconscious bias or stereotyping, and help to find ways to work around these issues. For example, women frequently face a “likeablity penalty,” meaning that if they promote themselves, they’re seen as pushy or aggressive, which works against them. We therefore need to promote other women’s work and be each other’s greatest champions and advocates.
Women should tackle the uncomfortable truths we may hear about how another woman is perceived, pushing for a more inclusive workplace, encouraging constructive and direct feedback, and challenging biases. For example, a (male) manager once complained to me about a really smart and accomplished woman on his team, saying something like “she leaves every day at 5:00 to pick up her kids, so I don’t think she’s committed to the job and I’m not going to promote her.” When I pointed out that the woman in question works until all hours after her putting her kids to bed and was really productive, he backed off his original comment and in fact ended up promoting her shortly afterwards.
We can also help women build their networks. A strong network of other women in tech can be a huge advantage in many ways; by helping with contacts, job recommendations and skill building, or just being a resource to turn to for advice, we reduce a sense of isolation and encourage women to stay in tech fields. We can also give back by sponsoring and mentoring other women, both within and outside our companies, and also younger girls, inspiring them to be bold and pursue STEM careers.
And finally, women leaders in tech can lead by example – being known for excellence, innovation, and solving tough business problems.
About Jennifer Pileggi
Jennifer Pileggi is Zuora’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary who is Legal Momentum’s Women of Achievement Winner (2017), which salutes the accomplishments of extraordinary women who have broken through to the top of their profession.
Z-Women was established to provide a platform where women of Zuora can share ideas, experience and knowledge - promoting their leadership, technical and professional skills while illustrating the value of diversity in the workplace. More broadly, Z-Women is a gender-inclusive Zuora-wide organization focused on empowering ZEOs.
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