Commentary & Perspective

Telle Whitney: Fighting for Women in Tech

Telle Whitney, ABI’s CEO and President, will speak about the importance of supporting and developing women in tech at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon. Web Summit is Europe’s largest technology conference where people from around the world come together to discuss change, transform the workplace and promote diversity.

Telle will speak on November 8 at 12 p.m. Her presentation, “Growing Computer Science One Woman at a Time,” will focus on her personal experiences as a woman engineer, what companies can do to retain and advance women, and what inspired her to create a global movement for women technologists.

Telle will also be on a panel entitled “The Battle to Bridge the Gender Gap” on November 10 at 12:30 p.m. She and three other female technologists will discuss how businesses benefit from investing in women and underrepresented minorities, and what actions companies can take.

Read below for a Q&A with Telle.

Why is it important to remember where this global movement on behalf of women technologists began?

From the days of the early programmers, through Grace Hopper’s invention of the compiler to Anita Borg’s launch of the Syster’s community, women technologists have been part of the technology revolution. They showed tremendous courage by living their own truths, often in the face of great adversity, to touch the lives of others and advance other women in tech around the globe. It’s important to tell their stories as these early women are important role models to the future technologists.

As companies around the world work to hire and retain women and underrepresented minorities in technology positions, what resources could help them succeed in diversifying their workforces?

There are many nonprofits in every local community which focus on women and underrepresented minorities. Our own company offers a variety of resources to promote diversity, including ABI’s Top Companies program, a national program that recognizes companies committed to building workplaces where women in technology roles can thrive. There’s also the Grace Hopper Conferences and ABI.Local, both of which allow women technologists across the globe to connect and discuss ways of promoting diversity.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give a women technologist trying to establish or advance her career?

Take risks and learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. To achieve your dreams, you need to take risks, and embrace adversity and opportunities.  My advice to you when faced with adversity is to (1) show up and not give up, (2) be transparent and ask for help, and (3) listen to the inner voice that is part of your own inner core. You know the truth, listen to it.

Visit the Web Summit website to view the conference schedule.

Learn how you can support women in tech. Check out our Insights and Tools as well as our Top Companies for Women Technologists.