Women face distinct obstacles when it comes to establishing themselves in leadership positions. These challenges, ranging from operating in male-dominated industries to managing societal expectations, can hinder women from pursuing certain opportunities and career paths. By acknowledging and addressing these issues head-on, we can empower women to overcome barriers and achieve success. We recently had the opportunity to sit down and interview our President and CEO, Angela Nadeau, to discuss the importance of supporting women-owned businesses and how we can contribute to creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Angela shares her personal journey, sheds light on common challenges faced by women in leadership positions and offers insights on overcoming these obstacles.
Why is it important to support women-owned businesses?
Women own about 30% of US businesses, yet only 2% of women–owned businesses break $1 million in annual revenue. To me, this indicates that although there is a desire for women to start and grow businesses, there are still way too many obstacles or biases in place for women- owned businesses to be successful. We need to support our fellow women as they try to reach their goals. By doing this we can help foster a more diverse and inclusive environment, which can lead to new ideas and solutions.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women holding C-level and senior positions in tech?
The short answer is middle school. As a mother of 2 daughters, I saw first-hand the peer pressure that surrounds our girls – particularly in middle school. It is the time that many girls who were previously interested in science and math start to lose interest. The reason behind this can be debated in many ways, peer pressure, adolescent self-doubt, teachers calling on the boys more than the girls – but the worst is the continuation of the biases by parents. I have personally heard mothers say “I understand why you are struggling in math. I was bad at math, so it makes sense that you would be bad at math.” This has got to stop. We must empower young girls to pursue their passions and provide them with the tools and support they need to be successful.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
I think it is my willingness to learn. Throughout my career, I have gained valuable insights from so many: peer groups, business partners, customers, various books, and our own excellent internal team. When you let go of stubbornness and have a true curiosity as to how others would approach something, it opens you up to more ideas and possibilities. The desire to learn and explore different ways of thinking ultimately leads to growth, both personally and professionally.
How can more organizations benefit from women in senior level positions?
Innovation is essential to achieving success, especially in the tech industry, and I think having a diverse workforce plays a crucial role in this. Diverse voices bring new and varying perspectives. Women bring their own unique perspectives to approach problems and execute solutions.
How can women support other women in their organizations?
It starts with the hiring process. At CompuData, we prioritize building a diverse team. In a very male dominated tech space, I am proud that 44% of our staff is female. As we recognize most childcare falls on women, we strive to be accommodating to the childcare needs of families. CompuData is committed to working around the childcare needs of our staff. Many of our employees have a flexible schedule that enables a healthy work-life balance.
What advice would you give to young women entering the tech space?
Go for it! In a field that has historically been male dominated, it’s crucial to believe in yourself and your abilities. Speak up, ask questions and make yourself heard. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas and insights, your contribution matters.
CompuData is a leading woman-owned technology company that has provided organizations a wide variety of IT and software solutions for over 50 years. Vetted and verified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise in the Philadelphia region- the most widely recognized and respected national certification for women-owned businesses in the U.S. CompuData’s motto, ‘Work Smarter…Together,’ encompasses not only our relationships with clients but also our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive staff. We value diversity in gender identity, race, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, ethnicity, and age. We firmly believe that embracing different perspectives strengthens our company, provides valuable insights, and delivers exceptional customer experiences.