To end off our series for International Women’s Day, we are introducing Winnie who began her career at TELUS as a project coordinator, transitioned to manager of the design team, and now a director. She was instrumental in our sponsorship with Ladies Learning Code and supporting women in the tech community.
Winnie Chow - Director of Design Outcomes, Security, People Operations
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi I’m Winnie! I started at TELUS as a project coordinator and now I support a team of passionate digital experts specializing in design strategy, digital security, accessibility and operations including a team focused on building a world class work environment that drives innovation and continuous learning. As part of my role I help drive digital literacy in our communities and promoting women in tech through organizations like Ladies Learning Code. I love all things digital and growing great talent. And fun fact, I like to source out that best chocolatiers wherever I travel to!
How did you get started in the tech field?
I was looking for my first job out of university and saw an ad in the Georgia Straight- yes in a newspaper - recruiting for an admin assistant at a small boutique digital agency. It sounded like a great opportunity where I could learn more about digital just when things were going that way in the industry. After my first interview I was sold, and since then I continued to build my career within the digital industry. Because it was a small firm and my manager at the time was very supportive in letting me learn the different areas, I got to create wireframes, write code, do testing and project managed small projects to launch. It provided me building blocks for my next role in tech.
Can you tell us about one of your success stories?
At TELUS, there are leadership development programs for new university grads where they get to do rotations in different business areas. I saw this program being a fantastic way to get new talent into the team and supported many new grads through a rotation in digital. They were always excited to see how digital connected business outcomes with technology to solve customer problems. More than half of the new grads continued to build their careers in digital, which was amazing for me to see.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
One of the most significant barriers to female leadership is unconscious bias. We typically associate roles in tech and leadership with the male demographic. By having more companies aware of biases, unconscious or conscious, it can lead to changing behaviours to drive inclusion in the workplace, potentially opening up opportunities for more female leadership roles.
What is one advice you’d give to women wanting to break into the tech field?
Don’t let fear hold you back. Find tech companies that support work environments that drive diversity and inclusion, and focus on growing their people. Build a network of other women and mentors who can support you through any challenges you may face, or to just give you an ear to listen.