The question I’m asked most frequently is, “What is it like to be a women in tech?” When they find out I work in engineering they are even more curious. “Is that challenging for you?” “Is there gender bias?” “Do you find it tiring to be surrounded by men all day?” I always want to answer that I don’t see a difference. That my teammates and colleagues treat me as an individual and value my worth. “I don’t even notice it.” But in all honesty, I do notice. It’s never intentional. It’s not blatant. They are small things. But they are still there.
What I value most about Okta, especially our Engineering organization, is that calling out issues as we face them is encouraged and welcome. Women aren’t afraid to ask for what they want and what they need. Our Women @ Okta group is picking up steam and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon.
This year, the Women @ Okta group raised funds to be a sponsor for the Grace Hopper Celebration. For the uninitiated, GHC is the world’s largest gathering of female technologists. It’s 3 days with twenty thousand women learning about tech, career development, but more importantly, making connections and sharing the same space with other women in STEM.
As a sponsor for GHC, Women @ Okta were able to create a space in the Expo Hall. This space was used for sponsor companies to recruit women and men allies alike. The main centerpiece of our space was a vision wall. We asked passersby what their future in STEM looks like and their answers did not disappoint:
“Inclusion and opportunities for all”
“We are no longer a minority”
“Inspiring others to be their best”
“Creating opportunities for future generations of women”
“Making something that matters”
“Shattering the glass ceiling”
“CEO, CTO, CIO”
GHC couldn’t have come at a better time. With current events shaping women’s futures for generations to come, it was empowering and inspiring to be around women who are taking charge of what their own futures look like. What we shared together was a synergy that could only come from women: warm, compassionate, encouraging, uplifting, and still having the strength to shoulder the disappointments we face every day.
I was brought to tears as Professor Anita Hill shared her own experiences and insight on what standing in the face of opposition looks like. What she reiterated was that “we are not alone.” The hashtag for GHC was #WeAreHere. We are here. And we’re not going anywhere.