Women, business, and tech: What we need to do now

Date: July 3, 2017
Author: Kristin Zhivago
A desk with a computer and plants, with a downtown scene out the window

It’s not a man’s world. It’s a tech world. Women can and are succeeding in the midst of it. But a lot of things have changed over the last couple of years, and all of us need to make sure we are focusing on the right stuff and have the right frame of mind, in order to master the new environment. To read the full article on women, business, and tech, please visit: Women On Business


Tech dominates our business lives now; if we don’t master it, we will be at the mercy of those who have—including our competitors. Decades in the tech industry have taught me a few lessons that might be helpful.

I’ve been rubbing elbows with tech guys since I started selling machine shop tools at 17, for a Pratt & Whitney distributor, who proudly told me that I was the first woman to do so, gave me a catalog—and no training whatsoever—and set me off to sell with an “atta girl” pat on the back. “If you do well,” he promised me, grinning, “you’ll make as much as $3,000 a week.” Given that I was facing four years of working my way through college, often holding down three jobs at once while getting my degree, this was the kind of news that had me fantasizing about buying a brand new snappy sports car in a couple of weeks. Ah, youth.

The reality? I failed miserably, of course. I barely made enough commission to pay for the gas required to visit machine shops in the area. The reason for my inadequacy came sharply into focus on the day that one very old and very sharp shop foreman, after quickly ascertaining that I could not tell him why my drill bits were superior to those he was currently using, said to me, “Honey, you can’t sell what you don’t understand.”

Tail firmly between my legs, and in full view of all the machinists who had come out to see what a mini-skirted sales gal was doing in the lobby, I slunk back to my car. But, as my husband will tell you, I am very stubborn. And I had never, to that moment in my young life, been so embarrassed. Before I even reached out to open the driver’s door on my second-hand, light blue Chevrolet, I had made a life-changing decision. From this moment on, I’m going to learn everything I can about technology – and selling. It was a vow, one that I have not broken since.

Learning New Tech

The first challenge was to get past the much-held perception that a woman can’t learn technology. That was an easy one to overcome; I just ignored it.

To read the rest of the article please visit: Women On Business

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