Welcome to another edition of IntelePeer’s Tech Tuesday series. This week Carolyn Spachner, Project Management Director, takes us through her journey from retail into tech and what inspired her along the way.
1. What first got you interested in working in technology?
I was a buyer for a department store, and the reports for my stock amounts were always incorrect. I guess the IT department got tired of me complaining, so they asked me if I would be interested in helping design and implement a POS (point of sale) system with them.
Together, another woman, who knew IT, and me, who knew retailing, designed and developed a POS system for the department store chain and implemented it across the country in all their stores.
2. What technology do you use the most – whether in your personal or professional life?
In my personal and professional life, I am so thankful for the iPhone. I remember working with computer systems that took up entire rooms, and now I have that capability in my hands. It’s something that amazes me. It’s fantastic that no matter where I am. I can connect with friends, relatives, or work-related challenges with my phone.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you overcome it?
When I started in technology, there were very few women in the industry. I remember going to conferences with thousands of attendees and being able to count the number of women on two hands. It sometimes took quite a bit of talking for the men to take me seriously.
4. Any advice for women who want to join the tech industry?
Go for the tech development and management positions. I would love to see more women in the tech industry. Even today, there are not as many women as I would like in dev and management roles. It is a very wonderful field to be involved in.
5. What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting in the workforce?
Some of the best opportunities for women are in the tech industry. You can do anything you set your mind to. Go for it. Stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Bonus: Who is your tech role model?
I enjoy reading about and following Reshma Saujani who is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. Her famous line is, “teach girls bravery, not perfection.” She is the daughter of refugees from India, graduated from Harvard, and went to Yale.