International Women’s Day is a chance to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women around the world. Here at Improving, we have so many incredible, strong, resilient women that we wanted to take pause and hear some of their insights into what being a woman means to them.
From left to right, Minu Mohan, Erika Muñoz, Susan Fojtasek, Julie Wilson, Sandy Hermosillo, Bethany Hilton, and Amber Robinson
What does being a woman mean to you?
"I would say being a woman means to me strength and empowerment. It’s the ability to make my own decisions, create and cultivate my own life and my own space…. "- Amber Robinson, Corporate Counsel
"Being a woman means being human. I believe we all experience a broad range of things…we experience struggle, triumph, joy, pain." – Bethany Hilton, Account Manager
"To be a woman is a huge blessing because we have a lot of sensitivity, we have a lot of wisdom to share, we care about others, and what’s around us and it’s amazing to spread that abundance and love."- Erika Muñoz, Product Owner
"Being a woman to me is about having a presence that comes having all of these responsibilities, all this chaos, and then you still have enough time and energy to nurture someone or something around you….and that quality I think is what a lot girls and young children who aspire to be a strong woman and really admire and work toward. I strive for it now even." – Julie Wilson, Technical Consultant
"Being a woman to me means having a strong sense of identity, but it also means to be warm and compassionate, and at the same time it means to have a choice to be bold, to speak up and solve impossible problems." – Minu Mohan, Director of Client Services
"All of us are created uniquely. I’m female and that’s how God made me. It’s what I know and who I am and I’m proud to be female." – Susan Fojtasek, SVP of Operations
"I love being a woman but on the other hand you have to fight almost every single day for the same rights. But I believe we are in a good way to have the same rights as a man and to treat everybody as a human being." – Sandy Hermosillo, Industry Relations Coordinator
Are there any assumptions about women that you would like to change?
"If there are any assumptions about women that I’d like to change it would be that all women have the same form of communication in the workplace." - Amber Robinson, Corporate Counsel
"Women are stereotyped in a lot of ways so it’s easy to label someone based off one part of themselves, being our femininity, thinking you know them because of that. However, I encourage people to look deeper to really see the whole person and not think that you know them because they’re a woman." – Bethany Hilton, Account Manager
"In general, companies tend to super masculine like the way the make decisions, the way they select their leaders. I think there is a lot of things that we as women are capable of." – Erika Muñoz, Product Owner
"There are a lot of conflicting assumptions about women in the workplace and whether or not they can work in business versus caretaking and I really think those should be put to rest…There are some that assume that women are suited for certain roles like caretaking or soft-skill jobs because of their gender…and it unintentionally locks women out of certain positions that are outside of those roles." - Julie Wilson, Technical Consultant
"The idea that women are more naturally nurturing than men, I’d like to change that because I feel like the men are also very nurturing….I would like people to stop making character assumptions." – Minu Mohan, Director of Client Services
"When women are on a team I feel like they bring a different dynamic to the workplace and they make those teams even more effective." – Susan Fojtasek, SVP of Operations
"The assumption that I’d like to change is that a woman doesn’t have to be a mother or have a partner in order to have value…I think just being a human being you have the same value as any other person." - Sandy Hermosillo, Industry Relations Coordinator
If you could learn anything, what would it be?
"If I could learn anything, it would be to learn another language" – Amber Robinson, Corporate Counsel
"I would love to be fluent in French." - Bethany Hilton, Account Manager
"I think one of the things I want to keep learning is how to collaborate with other women. I think we are in this very interesting moment in life in which we are learning how to accept ourselves and how to raise our hands and also how to collaborate with each other." - Erika Muñoz, Product Owner
"I’d really like to learn the different animals and plants that live in my area." – Julie Wilson, Technical Consultant
"If I could learn anything it would be wisdom. I believe the most important thing in the world for human nature is wisdom." - Minu Mohan, Director of Client Services
"If I could learn anything, I think I would learn how to speak Spanish fluently, which I hope to practice with our new Mexican offices. I’d also learn to go camping. I have a tent and a sleeping bag but I have yet to make it out to the wilderness yet." - Susan Fojtasek, SVP of Operations
"I really want to play tennis and I want to learn another language that is Italian." - Sandy Hermosillo, Industry Relations Coordinator
What advice would you give women entering the workforce?
"Have more confidence and you’ll never get what you don’t ask for. So if there is something you think you need in the workplace or if there are goals that aren’t being met, talk about them, ask how to get on a path that will get you to where you want to be." – Amber Robinson, Corporate Counsel
"I would encourage them to enjoy and celebrate good work but don’t make that your identity. Make sure you’re finding your value and self-worth as you’re being human the things that you are and your character qualities and not just what you can create and do." – Bethany Hilton, Account Manager
"This is not a fight we make alone. This is a fight in which we have each other…and in which we have to constantly talk and constantly challenge, from the very small behaviors to the bigger systems…."- Erika Muñoz, Product Owner
"If you find yourself in a field that makes you feel out of place for being a woman, maybe there’s not a lot of other women working around you, just know that your presence can make a lot of difference for others, especially for those who were looking into the field but were intimidated by the fact that there weren’t a lot of women to look up to." – Julie Wilson, Technical Consultant
"Don’t stop learning, be eager to learn and don’t be a push over. And don’t be afraid to change course if you need to." – Minu Mohan, Director of Client Services
"Whatever you’re interested in, and you’re good at it, I’d say ‘go for it’. And if that’s STEM, don’t let anyone tell you that that’s a man’s world or that it’s a masculine field, there are plenty of women that are in the science and technology, mathematics or engineering areas and I think women have a place there.
I’d also advise you to find a mentor. Doesn’t matter what gender that person is, but someone that can give you advice….and someone that is going to lead you….
I’d also encourage you to write down your goals." – Susan Fojtasek, SVP of Operations
"My advice is to be yourself and to believe in yourself. Speak loud about your accomplishments, and base them on facts. Get training as much as possible. And remember your only big career is yourself so believe in yourself and you can achieve whatever you want." - Sandy Hermosillo, Industry Relations Coordinator
On International Women's Day, it serves as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all the incredible women across the globe, reflecting on the progress made while continuing to work toward gender equality. At Improving, we consider it an area of immense importance to promote gender equality within the IT industry and elsewhere.