Night four of Women’s Entrepreneurship Week focused on Women in STEM. The night was sponsored by TechCollective and Upserve, who also graciously hosted us at their downtown offices. Upserve’s own Talent Business Partner, Nora Meah, moderated the panel of tech-savvy ladies.
The night showcased women in technology, the “T” part of STEM. Through the conversation it was clear that, though these women all come from different backgrounds and experiences, they were able to find a lot of common ground in their struggles, triumphs, and wishes for the future of women in STEM.
CATHERINE ZARRA - CODER AT UPSERVE & CO-CHAPTER LEADER, GIRL DEVELOP IT PVD
Catherine started the Providence chapter of GDI because it was the community she felt she needed as a teenager. Her first year and a half working in tech she was the only woman in her office. She’s trying to combat this inequality through education with GDI, but also by aligning herself with companies that are working to do the same. When she was looking for a new job, she told us, “It was very important to me NOT to be the only woman in the office.” And that’s how she landed at Upserve!
KATRYN MCINTOSH - CODER AT UPSERVE & EDUCATOR AT GIRL DEVELOP IT PVD
Katryn is also trying to inspire other women and girls to get into coding or other tech fields. She loves what she does because it keeps her challenged and engaged, and she wants others to be able to have the same experience. Katryn keeps herself as visible as possible in the community and puts herself out there as a role model because, as she says, “The network of women in tech is powerful,” but in Rhode Island it’s very small.
LISA FOUGERE - PRINCIPAL BUSINESS ANALYST, FM GLOBAL
Lisa is a seasoned IT professional who has seen this community grow from the beginning. She told us that there were so few women in the field when she started, and they all felt pressure to be “one of the guys.” Women, in her experience, only competed with each other, and never helped each other. She stressed the importance of sticking together and encouraged women who are starting out in a STEM field to “move forward and reach back to help each other.”
With these ladies leading at the helm, the future of women in STEM, and technology in particular, is bright. Through their hard work, along with the support of the community (that means you!), the next generation of lady leaders will never have to second guess what they can become.