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Top five trends of women in technology

The role of women in technology has changed substantially in the last decade at an accelerated pace. We talk to a top tech executive to gain her insight on these changes.

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women in technology

Women in technology

A lot has changed in recent years, with more and more women taking top spots in tech companies, and even more women consuming technologies previously dominated by men. Devanshi (Nikki) Garg is the Chief Operating Officer of Icreon Tech, a global IT consultancy delivering business solutions and custom applications since 2000.

As a tech insider, Garg can speak to the trends of how women are shaping the tech sector, namely the five ways outlined below, in her own words:

1. Women Are Serious Tech Consumers

What was once a boys club, video games have reached mass appeal for both genders. In fact, a 2012 report from The Entertainment Software Association found gender of game players to be almost evenly split at 47% female and 53% male. Also when it comes to social media, women lead the pack in terms of usage. One of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook are women older than 55, and women are also five times more likely to use Pinterest than men.

In addition, the emergence of advertising agencies which consult technology companies to market in a gender neutral fashion has emerged. LadyGeek works directly with brands to assess their marketing campaigns and tweak them to avoid alienating women. One of the best ways to increase female interest in the industry, is to make products more accessible to both genders. The more tech-savvy women there are in the world, will equate to an increase in female executives in the industry.

2. Proactive Ecosystem Working to End the Gap

From DrupalChix and WebGrrls to the S.H.E. Summit and GirlsWhoCode, there is an exciting progression of organizations and groups pushing the agenda for women in technology. Such organizations are spotting gaps and acting upon them. Such conferences and meetups allow women to converse and network directly with each other. This helps in shattering some of the preconceptions females may have to the industry, such as it being isolated, confined, and non-creative work.

Opportunities like GirlGeekDinner for instance, allow for women of all experience levels to connect tech-veterans with those new to the industry. By conversing with women who know the industry, it is more likely that others will perceive the industry as much of an art as well as a science. Having forces outside the corporate community, as well as internally, who work to inform women to inherent opportunities in the industry is crucial to progress.

3. Increased Excitement and Embrace for Women in Tech (Post Lean In)

With an increasing amount of success stories setting new expectations for women in the technology industry, up-and-comers can more easily envision their own career path. Progress has been spurred by the emergence of an increase in women holding some of the highest executive positions at the world’s most innovative and influential companies and institutions:

  1. Padmasree Warrior, CTO at Cisco Systems
  2. Rachael Sterne, the first Chief Digital Officer of New York City
  3. Jessica Lawrence, Co-Founder of New York Tech Meetup
  4. Melody Meckfessel, Director of Engineering at Google
  5. Jessica Jackley, Founder of Kiva

Many of the leaders mentioned are involved in groups and nonprofits devoted to closing the gender gap. Organization such as Kiva are also a great meld of philanthropy and entrepreneurship. Jessica Jackley founded Kiva as a non-profit devoted to “leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions to help create opportunity around the world.”

4. More Than Just Code, And It’s a Way to Make a Difference

By reframing the role of tech’s impact on wider society, women will be more likely to jump on board. In light of recent events in the Middle East and domestically in the United States, from gay marriage support by Google and Facebook to Twitter’s connection to the Arab Spring, technology is being perceived as more social and less isolated. By connecting that technology contributes to societal good, women seeking positions that help others are more likely to embrace the industry.

Also, in a recent Cisco report it was found the “80% of girls want creative, independent job roles” but just “30% of women believe that tech jobs can provide such an opportunity.” As a professional in the technology industry, you have the opportunity to work creatively and analytically. From involving oneself in front-end design aspects to assessing proficiency and cohesion for project management, there are multifaceted roles in the industry aside from isolated coding and programming.

5. Women Are Creating Businesses (Of All Types) At A Rate 1.5 Times That of Men

In a sign of serious progress, NewRelic found that “technology companies with more women in management positions have a 34% higher return on investment.” This serves as a legitimate sign of progress especially given that women are underrepresented when it comes to positions in venture capital firms.

With over 187 million women worldwide owning businesses, and opening businesses at a rate 1.5 times that of men in the US, there is a continuing drive in female entrepreneurship in tech as well as other industries.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Business News

This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.

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A small jar of cannabis on a desk with notebooks, sold online in a nicely made jar.

The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.

Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.

There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.

Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.

Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.

Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.

“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”

For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.

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Business News

Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?

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Woman in car working on engineering now allowed a flexible schedule for working from home.

The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.

As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.

And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.

Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.

How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.

Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.

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Business News

Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.

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Woman working in office with remote team

Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

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