This year, I was incredibly honored and excited to be named an MVP for Sitecore. I’ve been part of this community since joining Coveo in early 2016, and was thrilled to join the MVP ranks this year.

I’ve made it my mission as an Ambassador MVP to highlight the extraordinary female voices we have in the community and do my part to encourage other women to share their knowledge and bring value to it so more of us can be recognized. The first initiative is this blog post to highlight how these wonderful women have overcome challenges in the tech industry and to showcase their tips and tricks for support and resources. In 2018, we represented 8 percent of MVPs worldwide and 11 percent of MVPs in North America, and I’d like to see if we can help more women achieve the MVP rank in 2019.

Take a look at the stories below – and stay tuned for another post with more female MVPs next week!

Deepthi KattaDeepthi is currently Technical lead at Verndale, leading cross functional teams and helping the team solve tough technical problems. She is a Sitecore MVP and specializes on Sitecore Development, Managing and Developing ASP.NET Web Applications, and leading teams both in and out of the US. She takes immense pride in delivering high quality solutions at any given opportunity. She is a Rebel, a Masters in Computer Science graduate from University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the tech industry and how did you overcome those challenges?

I have been very fortunate to be born and brought up in a family where girls are not treated any different, they are given equal importance and a nudge to be their best selves both on academic front and on personal side of things.  With this attitude and upbringing, sky was the limit, I eyed in for the American dream and pursued my Masters as well, after a great rookie experience back in India. I am sure the challenge in tech industry, especially for woman could come in any shape or form.  In my case, it was a personal choice to start a family, I remember the struggle to get back in to industry after a break. I was questioned, judged and probably looked down upon for the choices I have made. For women, I feel like we are almost scrunched between two aspects that are very close to our heart.  Career and family! We can never make a choice, we absolutely want best of both worlds and we truly deserve it. With immense support from family and hard work, I did get back to work force. Maybe I am one of the lucky few, I never experienced any discrimination in tech industry at least where destiny placed me .  A constant urge to learn and continuing to do my best at every opportunity that knocks on my door has put me where I am right now and I could not be more happier.

What do you wish you would have known when you first started out in the tech industry?

It just comes very natural to every one of us that we tend to think and do feel that we know more from where we started off, may be it a piece of technology or may be a problem that we solved in the past.  When given an opportunity, the mature yourself would always want to do things differently with the knowledge you gathered by successes and failures along the journey. You have to experience it to learn it in this industry and that per me is the best way to learn if there is such opportunity.  My mantra is simple – “Do the best you can, provided the resources you have on your hand at a given time”. I realized if I follow this, most of the times things will fall in place and eventually they will remain as your learnings.             

What are the best resources that you have found that have helped you on your journey?

I would not be where I am right now minus a single entity I ever interacted with along my journey.  I will have to give credit to my family, friends, mentors, teams, managers from the past and current and  every single experience with which I learned something. From Sitecore side of things, I would like to thank all the active contributors on the community and terrific content that they produce that either directly or indirectly helped me break through the wall between me and the goal umpteen number of times.

Amanda Shiga

Amanda Shiga is a long-time Sitecore MVP and Vice President, Marketing Science at Valtech, where her practice helps organizations apply data science and optimization techniques to improve the performance of their digital channels. www.amandashiga.com.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the tech industry and how did you overcome those challenges?

One of the biggest lessons I learned earlier on was the importance of raising your hand, speaking up and asking for what you want; opportunities won’t automatically come to you with heads-down hard work. It can be harder for women’s voices, opinions and ideas to be heard in this industry; and you may be surprised at the support that will emerge as a result of simply asking to be included or involved. So don’t wait in frustration to be noticed … tell people what you want, so they can help you get there.

What do you wish you would have known when you first started out in the tech industry?

I wish I’d understood the importance of the business angle when applying technology to solve problems. At the start of your career, pure technical skill matters a lot – can you design a beautiful n-tier architecture? But the sooner you can tell a bigger story that ties in an angle of competitive advantage, revenue increase or greater efficiency, especially for a particular industry, you will be jumping ahead.

What are the best resources that you have found that have helped you on your journey?

Find a technical community! Find your tribe. There are so many supportive communities to join that center around a skillset, a platform or an industry. These people can offer career inspiration, help with problem solving, answers to questions, great social events and good old-fashioned solidarity. For me, the Sitecore community, Women in Data Science and Twitter contacts in the digital/data spaces have been wonderful. As always, with these communities, you get what you give; be generous.

 

Liz SpranzaniLiz Spranzani is the SVP of Development at Verndale, a customer experience agency.  During her 20 years in the industry, Liz has played the roles of engineer, technical lead, technical architect and is particularly proud of winning the Sitecore Technology MVP award for a fourth straight year.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the tech industry and how did you overcome those challenges?

I feel fortunate to say that I don’t think I have been limited as woman in the tech industry, and have not had to overcome hurdles beyond what anyone has to overcome in such a complicated and competitive field.  A big reason for this is that Verndale has always respected the skills, knowledge, and capabilities that I bring to the table. They’ve allowed me to grow in a multitude of ways and wherever I’ve looked to go next, they have supported me.

What do you wish you would have known when you first started out in the tech industry?

I wish I had understood the multitude of options out there within the industry itself so that I could have explored it more and found exactly which one was perfect for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and received an excellent education at Boston College, but I feel like I rode the web wave in the early 2000s and didn’t think about what else might interest me.  Now there are so many choices and would advise anyone considering a career in tech to really think about it and not just focus on what the salary might be but rather what do you think you will be most passionate about after 20 years.

What are the best resources that you have found that have helped you on your journey?

The best resources have been my colleagues and their support, encouragement, and confidence in my abilities to tackle any challenge.  The periods in which I have grown the most are when they have enabled me to push past my comfort zone and tackle new experiences. I recommend to all women: surround yourself with great colleagues that respect and advocate for you.

 

olga kagon

 

As a seasoned Sitecore/.NET developer (MVP) Olga focuses primarily on projects involving – you guessed it – Sitecore. She has built, maintained, and expanded numerous Sitecore sites of various sizes and complexity. Olga also worked on the DMS front tailoring Sitecore sites to a specific audience based on user’s browser behavior as well as third party data. She is particularly interested in Sitecore profiling and pattern matching and she believes this is one of the frontiers that holds great potential but remains under-appreciated.  

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the tech industry and how did you overcome those challenges?

The biggest challenge was internal – to overcome my own stereotype that computer technology is not something that a woman would want to do as a career and therefore be successful at it. I questioned myself in the beginning quite a bit. I was worried that I was getting into something that would take time and effort but would be abandoned later on.

What do you wish you would have known when you first started out in the tech industry?

I wish I knew that (using a cliche) in this male dominated field I would meet nothing but support, inclusion, and encouragement.

What are the best resources that you have found that have helped you on your journey?

I learned that community is crucial. User groups, meetups, going out for a cup of coffee with coworkers in an informal atmosphere and discussing various aspects of work – all those things proved very helpful.

What advice do you have for women in tech and in the Sitecore community? What challenges have you overcome? Share your story with me on Twitter @itinocom!

 

About Isabel Tinoco

Isabel collaborates as the Alliance Manager Coveo for Sitecore in Montreal and she got recognized as a Sitecore Ambassador MVP 2018. Traveling around North America, she enjoys enabling the Coveo partners in the Sitecore ecosystem, supporting them to identify business opportunities as well as marketing and commercial joint activities. She received a Managerial Accounting and Information Technology DEC from PW Sims Business Program at Champlain St Lawrence as well as a B.A.A. from Laval University.

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