Women Impact Tech Event: The Importance of Having People in Your Corner

Women Impact Tech Conference, Seattle, WA, May 2022

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Women Impact Tech – Seattle conference. It was the second time I was able to attend this conference so I already knew what a well-run, worthwhile event it is.

Women Impact Tech exists to bring awesome female engineers together and empower them to reach their fullest potential. They do this through a combination of panel discussions, presentations, networking breaks, and mentor-mentee speed dating sessions. It was so inspiring to hear both the triumphs and mistakes other women in the tech space have encountered and overcome, as well as to share my own experiences with others.

Build Your Own Personal Board of Directors

One of the themes that came up again and again throughout the event was the importance of having people in your corner. One of the phrases that really stuck with me was that you need to create your own board of directors. People with different skill sets that will help you through your career path. Just like with a real BOD, you should shop around to make sure you find the right fit and you should not be afraid to move on when the position no longer makes sense.

And, above all else, make sure that the person knows when they have the job, otherwise how will they know to help you out!

Your personal board should not only consist of mentors, someone who gives you advice, but sponsors as well — someone who will be invested in helping you move your career forward. These people can do anything from helping you establish your professional growth plan to helping you set goals to identify or refine your personal brand. These are all important objectives to consider and it is crucial to receive an outside perspective on each of them.

The Importance of Setting Goals

It can be incredibly hard to set good professional goals and ensure that the goals you set not only line up with what you are doing, but with the stage of your career. As you advance through your career, goals should and will change and it can often be difficult to reset.

Goals should be based not only on what you are interested in, but where you have a weakness as well. Goals can serve to push you to improve where you may not have otherwise. If you only ever apply to jobs where you fulfill 100% of the requirements you’ll never need to grow new skills.

Women Impact Tech

Women Impact Tech Conference, Seattle, WA, May 2022

Moving into uncomfortable spaces can be scary because failing to meet a goal can feel catastrophic

There are always incredibly important lessons to be learned from missed goals, any engineer who has never accidentally broken production just hasn’t written enough code. Missed goals create an opportunity for both learning and reflection; figuring out how to make sure that a mistake does not happen again in the future can be even more valuable than had everything gone smoothly and the goal had been met initially.

As women, it is also important to remember that our missed goals are our own and they do not reflect poorly on women everywhere, as that is a burden that can often feel unbearable. Being able to bounce back from a mistake or a missed goal is not something that people either inherently have or don’t have — instead, it’s a skill that needs to be cultivated and grown over time.

How This Applies to My Workplace

Women Impact Tech

Susan Greenberg, Senior Software Engineer at SoundCommerce

As I reflect on what I heard from other women at this year’s Women Impact Tech event, the biggest takeaway for me personally is that SoundCommerce is an incredibly special place to work; for the first time in my career, I do not feel like my gender is an obstacle to overcome.

Since my first day at SoundCommerce I have always felt like my ideas have been not only heard but actually considered and valued. I have never been made to overly justify a choice I knew was correct.

The engineering team culture at SoundCommerce (and throughout the entire company) is one of compassion and empathy, important attributes that in my past experience are often not cultivated by other engineering teams. It is not enough for senior engineers to be excellent engineers. They also need to be empathetic people as well, which is something that many companies overlook.

I think that SoundCommerce has done an amazing job ensuring that every hire is a compassionate, empathetic person. The people I interact daily with at SoundCommerce are also smart, dedicated, and fun. We are all here to not only build a great product but to be whole humans as well.

I am grateful to work at a company like SoundCommerce where if one of us has a win (or loss) we know that there’s a team of Soundies in our corner, supporting and cheering for us as we each work toward achieving our unified company goals and individual professional goals. 

Susan Greenberg is a Senior Software Engineer at SoundCommerce. She has been in the Seattle startup scene since 2015, and she is passionate about making sure what she does at work improves the lives of others, from the end-customer to her coworkers and everywhere in between. Outside of work, Susan can be found climbing mountains, brewing beer, and spending time with her two greyhounds.