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  • Celebrating International Women's Day with CUGC WIT


    estherbarthelrnd.png by Esther Barthel, CTP and CUGC Women In Tech Lead Mentor

    In 2015, Theresa Miller, Jo Harder and myself were awarded Citrix Technology Professionals, and it was my first chance to meet other Women in Tech who were as passionate about technology as myself. So when we got the opportunity one year later to work with the Citrix User Group Community and start a mentorship program focused on the Women in Tech, we all jumped at the chance to sponsor other women and help them reach their personal and professional goals.

    As we are already halfway through mentoring our class of 2020, I am so proud of my fellow leaders, the awesome mentors, the eager mentees and most of all, Stephanie Boozer (CUGC liaison and keeper of structure and focus), for building this amazing mentorship program to help more women in tech to step into that well-earned spotlight and share their knowledge and experience with the community!

    In recognition of International Women's Day (March 8th, 2020), we thought we would check in with some of our mentees and mentors to find out what the program has meant to them:

    Jo Harder, CTP
    Founding CUGC WIT Member
    Tampa CUGC Leader
    Each year, we see a few more women take on IT as a career, but there is still tremendous room for growth. Using the analogy of a horse race, women need to prepare effectively and put on blinders. Don't let a lack of confidence hinder your success. Get involved with a self-help or mentorship program, such as LeanIn or CUGC Women in Tech. Lastly, rather than ponder all the "what if's," just go for it!

    Read more from Jo Harder in her International Women's Day blog post for Citrix.com, "The Future is Bright for Women in Tech."
    [attachment=6725:name] Wendy Howard 
    Previous Mentee
    What has the CUGC WIT program meant for you?
    This year, the WIT program has helped me establish stronger relationships with women in technology. It means attending webinars with CUGC, and, since the company I work for is a sponsor of the program, I was blessed with the opportunity to lead our own webinar for the CUGC community.

    What are some of your personal goals and milestones?
    Some of my personal goals are to be really successful in my work, gain more knowledge through certifications, and work with super smart people.

    How do you define success?
    Success for me is being able to use my powers of computer knowledge for good (not evil). I work for a company that sells software, but that software helps people work smarter and fix problems. Helping other people achieve their own success is important to my success.

    How do you tackle the work/life balance?
    I work from home, so that makes it easy for me to keep up with my home, animals, and family. I make sure to put down my work on Friday so that I can fully enjoy the weekends and ‘reset.'

    Whether as part of an initial career or a career change, what advice would you impart to newbie females?
    This career path is not easy! You will be the minority most of the time, so work through any tough situation by being persistent and reaching out for help. Ask your mentors and friends in the tech world for help when you need it. Even if it’s just to talk about a work environment problem (not just a technical problem). We are all here to support each other.
    [attachment=6726:name] Kristy Martin
    Class of 2020 Mentee
    What has the CUGC WIT program meant for you?
    As a new mentee, I can tell you what I’m hoping the program will mean for me - building confidence. I am fairly new to my Citrix role in our IT department, and even though I recently obtained my CCA-V, I still feel inadequate on a team full of men who have been in this industry for many years. I’d like to be able to confidently say, “I know what I’m doing” and “I can help you with that,” when people often overlook me for my senior colleague. What are some of your personal goals and milestones?
    Aside from the confidence aspect, I’m really hoping to learn as much as I can to pass the CCP-V exam. I want to be armed with not only the experience, but proof of knowledge, when asking for a promotion. I would also like to delve into the ADC world, so that the leaders in my department have the confidence in me to back up my colleague when he takes time off. How do you define success?
    To me, success would look like stepping out of my comfort zone, volunteering for the challenging projects, speaking my ideas to the collective, and not being afraid to fail.

    How do you tackle the work/life balance?
    I am fortunate that our leaders believe in a work/life balance approach, so that makes it easy to shut off the work brain once I am home. There are occasions where we are working off-hours, but they are few and far between. Honestly, I have a hard time even thinking about how I would tackle this if I needed to, since this has never been the case. For that, I am truly grateful! Your advice for other women in IT? 
    My advice would be everything that I am hoping to achieve – be confident, speak your ideas, don’t be afraid of failing, step outside your comfort zone at every opportunity to stretch the zone walls outward. Never stop learning. Research, research, research! Google is your friend :-)
    [attachment=6727:name] Heather Myers
    Mentor & Previous Mentee
    What has the CUGC WIT program meant for you?
    Encouragement! I joined as a mentee because I needed help rebuilding after I left a very negative workplace. This year, I decided to join as a mentor to hopefully pass on the encouragement and learning that I received.

    What are some of your personal goals and milestones?
    My first one was just plain to not quit. Now that I've regained some confidence and enthusiasm, my biggest goal is to pay it forward.

    How do you define success?
    Finding joy in my work.

    How do you tackle the work/life balance?
    Much better these days since I began my new job. I have everyday tricks like doing my best to leave half an hour between meetings, and I have begun to rediscover my love of art and learning by taking non-work courses in the evening.

    Your advice for other women in IT? 
    For newbies or women who have been in this for decades, I'd say having a supportive network is essential. Supportive people can help prevent burnout, or help you climb out if you're already there. My best opportunities have come through my network, as well as some of my closest friendships. What I've learned over my 20 years in tech is that the people I'm surrounded by are as important as the work itself, if not more so.
    [attachment=6728:name] René Reighard, CTA
    Mentor & Previous Mentee
    What has the CUGC WIT program meant for you?
    Confidence, diverse professional networking, sharing of professional experience.

    What are some of your personal goals and milestones?
    Starting my own business was a huge one for me. I'm still working leveraging this adventure.

    How do you define success?
    Happiness, knowledge, learning, and not being content.

    How do you tackle the work/life balance?
    Learn to understand limits and learn to say no or compromise. Kids getting older has helped a lot too. Always be looking for the win/win.

    Your advice for other women in IT?  
    Trust in inner voice. Being uncomfortable because something is new is good thing. Learn to embrace that feeling and tackle it.
    [attachment=6729:name] Jen Sheerin, CTA 
    Mentor & Previous Mentee
    Tampa CUGC Leader
    What has the CUGC WIT Program meant for you?
    In the beginning, CUGC WIT meant I got a mentor, inspired conversation with other WIT Citrites, boost my confidence, and help to accomplish my goals. Later treasuring the value of the program, I wanted to share as a mentor and contributor to the program.

    What are some of your personal goals and milestones?
    I have been working on speaking more, community events, and eventually Citrix Synergy 2020. 

    How do you define success?
    I define success in 2 categories, personal and professional. My to do list covers both, and as an item gets checked off, the smile comes out naturally, and happiness kicks in.

    How do you tackle the work/life balance?
    I live by my calendar. I schedule in life/fun to make sure I keep the balance.

    Your advice for other women in IT?
    If you love IT, do it! If you need help, find a mentor.







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