Never mistake quality for charity or let another define your dreams
It’s only February, but it’s been quite the year for TSheets by QuickBooks. In January, we officially became an Intuit company, having co-existed like peanut butter and jelly for eons. The union is significant because the two organizations share the same core values and vision, which, when combined, will only lead to even more amazing things. One of these values is having an inclusive and encouraging culture, specifically towards women in tech.
Intuit’s Tech Women @Intuit (TWI) initiative is easily and best summarized by Communications Manager, Karen Weiss, in the below video.
Warning: Mad rhymes and sick lines included.
In conjunction with International Day for Women and Girls in Science on February 11, it is our privilege to feature two of TSheets’ very own, as they share their journey and how peers and the workplace can be more supportive of women in tech.
Life is what you make it
“I didn’t know anything about computers or writing code when I started in college, and I learned all that I know on the job. I have helped at many Hour of Code events since then and have heard teachers comment that some kids just ‘won’t get it.’ If it makes you excited, if you want to learn it, if you love it, don’t listen to them. I believe in you and I will help you!”
— Katy Kahla, TSheets Software Engineer
One will quickly notice Katy’s positive disposition and how she makes the best of whatever life throws at her. When it comes to her life in tech, she is thankful and proud of how gender has been such a positive force.
“Through multiple scholarships, I was able to receive my education debt-free, and two of the scholarships were specifically for women in technology,” she explains. “Instead of feeling like I had to find a job that would cover my loans, I was able to go for the job and company I wanted. As a result, I was also able to save up quickly and purchase my first home!”
But that’s not to say it’s all been smooth sailing. Katy had been told in the past that she appeared unapproachable, and she is not alone. Fortune wanted to find out if gender played a role in the type of feedback employees receive, and had a linguist crunch the numbers. The results? Almost 90 percent of reviews received by women contained critical feedback, compared to the 58.9 percent of reviews received by men.
To Katy, it was merely another opportunity to communicate better, without compromising her beliefs. “Don’t be afraid to speak up. You do not have to make everyone happy, and if someone finds you unapproachable, that is ok! And don’t let anyone decide for you if you’re smart enough or driven enough to get to your goals.”
Be the change you want and it will happen
“To anyone reading, explore EVERYTHING. Say ‘yes’ whenever something a little scary comes your way. And sure, this means you’ll screw it up sometimes. But that’s ok. You can’t know how to do things before you do them. But only doing things you’re comfortable keeps your world pretty narrow, and that’s no fun!”
— Eve Lacivita, TSheets Product Owner
Eve’s entire career has been in the tech world, where she has always been in a male-dominated environment. When her career first began, overt conscious sexism was not as common, but it definitely still existed. She remembers being encouraged to be cautious and deliberate, often having to repeat herself like a broken record before being heard, while male colleagues were the assumed risk-takers and leaders.
But she chooses not to dwell on this, as she has also had the opportunity to work with extraordinary people and programs through tech. One of her favorite achievements is giving life to a STEM Product Innovation Spring Break Camp for underrepresented middle school girls.
“It started as one person’s idea from the activity of one afternoon, and it grew into a weeklong camp with contributions from about 40 women with amazingly diverse backgrounds, all of whom just wanted to help these kids succeed. It was transformative!”
Since then, Eve has been an advocate of Women in Tech teams in the workplace, served on boards dedicated to bringing greater representation to both women and minorities in STEM, and has mentored and been mentored by amazing people. Eve brings the same persistence and dedication to TSheets.
“You’re surrounded by smart and eager people where experimentation is baked into the culture, with transparency and honesty as the norms,” she says. She also noticed how peers often treat men and women different without even realizing it. This is why she promotes being conscious and deliberate in listening and responding to be a necessity. To managers, she encourages an inquisitive and expressive mind. “Tell others the potential you see in them. Actively work with them to find their ‘next thing’, whatever that may be, and be ready to support them if they stumble.”
Aspire to inspire
When we started to work on this post, it was easy to get overwhelmed with all the negativity involving gender parity and inequality. But that’s not what we’re about. We aspire to inspire change for the better, and in the wise words of Karen Weiss, the women in tech and especially those here at TSheets by QuickBooks, together with Intuit, definitely have the temerity to say with sincerity they are powering prosperity around the world.