My name is Kacyn, and this week is my one-year anniversary of working as a Software Engineer at Medallia. I’ve been reflecting on my first year, and as a female engineer and recent graduate, I’m excited to share my perspective with you.
I come from a community that has prioritized the promotion of gender equality. My alma mater, Harvey Mudd College, recently received recognition for their efforts in increasing the percentage of women enrolled at the college. Earlier this month, the LA Times reported that 55% of students majoring in Computer Science at Mudd are female. Harvey Mudd’s first female president, Maria Klawe — who has spoken at length about the gender discrepancy in computer science — and the professors at Harvey Mudd, who have designed a curriculum inclusive of all backgrounds, have been instrumental in moving gender equality forward.
These changes are meaningful steps forward, and I’m proud that Harvey Mudd is one of the leading universities with a high population of women pursuing STEM degrees. However, as a recent graduate, I believe that advocating for gender equity in STEM education is only one part of the solution. While the population of women earning undergraduate STEM degrees has increased, only 25% of the computing workforce are women. This means that tech companies have a crucial role to play in improving the representation of women in STEM fields and making technical careers an attractive and viable long-term career option for women.
At Medallia, we’re striving to create an inclusive environment for people of all backgrounds, and I believe we’re headed in the right direction. With my manager’s support, I’ve been working with our Inclusion and Talent Acquisition teams to promote diversity at Medallia. One way we’re taking action is by getting involved in conferences focused on women and other underrepresented communities in tech such as the Tech Inclusion Conference. Importantly, not only are female Medallians taking the time to learn and engage in these conferences but our male counterparts have also been strong allies.
Additionally, we’re working together to build a community for technical women at Medallia: a space where we can learn from one another and come together to make an impact. We’re also engaging with partners who can help further our mission. For example, we recently launched a partnership with PathForward, an organization focused on helping people who have taken time out of the workforce for caregiving (disproportionately women) to re-start their careers. This is one way to tap into a new talent pool while supporting parents returning to work.
However, we recognize that creating an inclusive and diverse environment isn’t the only issue to tackle – it is also important for Medallia to demonstrate that tech can be a viable and fulfilling long-term career choice for women. Managers and mentors, regardless of gender, can help make this happen by being proactive with conversations about career development. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of engineering management throughout my time at Medallia. For example, my manager took the initiative to raise the topic of promotion with me, as he was aware of the fact that women can be less likely to ask for promotions. This was important for me to learn as I previously hadn’t considered bringing it up myself and this is a workplace lesson that can help many women entering the workforce in all fields.
Another show of support was when I changed teams midway through my first year at Medallia and my initial manager reached out to ensure that I was happy in my new role even though I no longer directly reported to him. I’m fortunate to have now worked with two managers who have taken an active interest in my professional and technical growth, and have been proactive about my career development. Because of their support, I’m now joining the Mobile team as an Android engineer, a role well aligned with my technical interests.
Furthermore, another way for the tech industry to demonstrate that the field can be a viable long-term career option for women is by example. Similar to many other engineers, I experience feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt – and I would love to see examples of other women in leadership roles who have built a successful career for themselves in tech and have pushed through feelings of uncertainty. This is why we continue to have a strong focus on building greater diversity and representation of women within Engineering leadership.
At Medallia, our diversity and inclusion efforts are growing fast, and I’m excited to be part of the solution. There are valuable opportunities at Medallia for recent graduates like me to shape the future of our company, whether it be in improving diversity within the organization, or shaping the next generation of the product.
Thanks for reading, and keep an eye on this blog as we highlight more voices of women at Medallia!