InnoTech Austin’s Women in Technology Summit Focuses on Ways to Handle a Male Dominated Tech Industry

By LAURA LOREK
Publisher of Silicon Hills News

Women in Tech Summit at InnoTech Austin

Being a woman in the technology industry is not easy.

The technology industry is male-dominated at all levels and the pay disparity can reach 50 percent for women, compared to the salary for men in similar jobs, said Lauren Hasson, founder of Develop(Her).

“I decided to own my own outcome,” Hasson said.

She learned to negotiate, and she tripled her base salary in less than two years by relying heavily on data and research. She also spent $10,000 on training materials, she said.

Hasson shared her story with more than 200 women attending the Women in Technology Summit at InnoTech Austin. Hasson was one of several speakers who shared their experiences throughout the day. Sessions ranged from talks on branding to addressing the issue of gender diversity and the “bro-code” in the technology industry.

Hasson has developed a free negotiation course for women to walk others, step by step, through how she transformed her life. Her course launches on February 3rd and she hopes to empower more than 10,000 women.

Next up, Marny Lifshen, author of “Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women” spoke on the importance of women crafting a personal brand.

For a brand to be effective, it must be authentic, distinct and consistent, Lifshen said. She thinks distinct is the most difficult one to achieve.

“How do you create a brand that separates you from all the other people who do what you do,” Lifshen said.

To achieve distinction, a person must think about what are their unique and impactful skill sets, Lifshen said.

“This is not a time ladies to be humble,” she said. “Be bold, be proud.”

Brands are based on experiences but also perceptions, Lifshen said.

And personal brand elements are both tangible and intangible and include: demeanor, your appearance, communication and your network, Lifshen said.

“Your physical brand must be professional, modern and well-groomed,” Lifshen said.

Communication is both verbal and nonverbal, Lifshen said. It breaks down to 55 percent is visual, 38 percent is tone and vocal and seven percent is words Lifshen said.

In the afternoon session, the talk shifted to how women in technology can navigate a male-dominated workplace.

In the session on Bro Code: Addressing the Issue of Gender Diversity in Tech, Barbary Brunner, CEO of the Austin Technology Council, said there is a culture in technology companies that exclude women.

The way to change the situation is to have more women in leadership positions in the technology industry, Brunner said.

In her position, Leigh Christie, senior vice president of global technology and innovation at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, seeks out opportunities to mentor other women and to provide them with opportunities for advancement.

Brunner asked the women in the room if they had been in a meeting where men had ignored their ideas or talked over them. Everyone had except for one woman.

When that happens, Brunner said she calls the men out on it. And she redirects them to acknowledge that it was her original idea.

Having rules of engagement in the workplace is one way to approach the situation, Christie said.

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