March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a global event to celebrate the success of women and to support the change for a better and more inclusive world. We’re proud to honour the women who are making a difference here at TELUS digital and driving innovation in the tech field. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are kicking off a blog series featuring three awesome women who are making it happen at TELUS digital.
Get to know Elaine, the manager of the tech outcomes team, who led the change to enabling Continuous Delivery practices at TELUS digital. Learn about the challenges she faced in the tech world and how she overcame them.
Elaine - Manager, Technical Outcomes
Tell us a bit about yourself
I currently support a team of talented technologists in building out a Digital Platform for TELUS digital. I’m a mom of an energetic 2.5 year old, with one on the way, and I get excited about all things digital, continuous improvement, and growing our people and culture.
How did you get started in the Tech field?
At a very young age, I was lucky enough to have access to a portable Compaq computer with a shimmering orange screen. My dad would find games for me to play and I quickly became enthralled with computer games like Qbert, Police Quest, and the like. From that point on, technology became a natural part of my everyday life; it kept me curious and on my toes. As I grew up, it was pretty incredible to see the growth of technology around me, which I continued to foster through enrolling in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo.
Can you tell us about one of your success stories?
I would have to say that one of my most challenging and fulfilling achievements has been leading the change to introduce modern development practices (i.e. Continuous Delivery) here at TELUS digital. This change required strong technology strategy definition, a lot of socialization, and a massive change management plan to get our teams using new tools, technologies and practices. This will enable us to easily deliver changes to our customers with quality and confidence. Our journey is still ongoing, but it’s incredibly fulfilling to manage the execution of our evolution and see the benefits we are reaping - happy developers makes me happy!
What are some of the challenges you face within the tech field?
When you are the only woman in a room full of male technologists, it is easy to feel the added pressure to prove yourself more than others, and in some cases, you may actually have to. Early on in my career, I was given some advice to be a little more assertive than I am comfortable with, and that would help further my successes in my career. With that piece of advice and continued feedback from performance coaches, I have learned how to acknowledge these feelings and move forward with confidence and without fear. Being assertive in your opinions and confident in your knowledge and capabilities will take you pretty far.
Another major challenge I have found is balancing gaps in my career for maternity leave and raising a happy family. In the fast paced world of technology, it can feel like the world has changed so much that getting back into the game can seem daunting. What I have learned is that on the surface, technology changes very quickly, but the fundamentals largely stay the same and that’s what keeps me grounded in my career in technology.That’s the blessing and curse with technology, it keeps you on your toes and pushes you to continuously improve and learn, but at the same time can feel like you are always playing catch-up. I actually welcome feeling uncomfortable, because it means I am learning and growing, and that to me is what makes life interesting.
What is one advice you’d give to women wanting to break into the tech field?
For women wanting to break into the tech field, the biggest challenge will be the amount of choice in where your career lands. There is a plethora of options when it comes to careers in tech, and that to me means it will take some time for someone to find something they truly enjoy. Talk to people in different corners of tech, continue to push yourself to try something new, and continue to feel uncomfortable, because that means you are learning! As long as you are continuously learning and improving, you will be successful in a career in tech. If you’re interested in trying something new but don’t know where to start, check out Ladies Learning Code.