2021 has given us a unique and extraordinary opportunity to rethink from scratch the workplace. The tech industry, which is always evolving and innovating, is the preferred option for college graduates at the moment, and is growing at an exponential rate with the advent of Artificial Intelligence. Tech is so universal that it has reached even the most remote places of this planet, giving an unprecedented opportunity to get access to knowledge that was previously unavailable for some people. Unfortunately, tech is still regarded as a “man’s playground,” and women are underrepresented in the workforce. Questions remain unanswered. What keeps women out of the tech industry? Why do women feel intimidated and uninterested in a sector that offers fantastic opportunities for career growth and progression? Why do women in tech feel devalued and disenfranchised in contrast to their male colleagues? As Ximena remarks, “it has nothing to do with skill or talent but rather systemic social conditioning against women and their capabilities.”
Ximena García is a woman who has made her mark and a tremendous impact on the tech industry; she has built a varied and prosperous career for herself through grit, passion, and resolution to make a positive difference. With a broad background in graphic design, marketing, and sales, Ximena entered the tech world and has since co-founded two start-ups, ATHENAWORKS and EQUALS TRUE. Both companies reflect and encapsulate her passions; equality, inclusion, and diversity.
Here are Ximena’s 4 tips for women in tech, whether they are just starting out or currently working in the industry.
1) Own your voice
Ximena believes that owning one’s voice is powerful and essential for a woman to succeed in tech. Too often, women are sidelined, silenced, and made to feel unworthy of success. Most of the time this is due to years of conditioning that women don’t belong in fields that require technical expertise or interest. Rather, Ximena advocates for women to forge their path to success through self-determination and a relentless belief in themselves. According to a recent analysis from this source, with only 34% of the tech workforce being women, the industry is still very much a “man’s world.” Many women suffer from “imposter syndrome,” which is the feeling that they are not good enough or have inadequate credentials to be a part of their team.
Ximena believes these unproductive feelings can be overcome when women focus on their strengths and the unique assets that can benefit their teams and the overall company. Speaking up at the conference table and meetings is essential for women to establish respect and authority amongst their team. “Don’t be a wallflower,” Ximena states — her ability to communicate clearly and share her vision with others was a significant factor in her building a network and growing her companies.
2) Have a Mentor & Be a Mentor
Mentorship is one of the most critical aspects of successful entrepreneurship. Ximena believes that having a tech mentor can help women grow, establish their areas of expertise, and work on their strengths and weaknesses. Being a mentor is also incredibly rewarding, and as natural “nurturers,” women are generally gifted at building others up, instilling confidence in others, and facilitating an inclusive environment.
Ximena’s start-up EQUALS TRUE offers AI optimized assistance to companies seeking to recruit and retain diverse, talented, and specialized employees. In addition, Ximena is a mentor to many entrepreneurs who wish to learn from her prototype of inclusivity, equality, and diversity in the workplace. She provides unique and alternative advice and believes in enhancing and empowering talented people, regardless of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or any other attribute.
Workplaces need “builders” and mentors, people who focus on valuable networking and how to make their colleagues’ lives better.
3) Never stop learning
Committing yourself to constant learning is one way Ximena advocates for succeeding in the world of tech. Ximena believes that women need to recognize their talent and then build on it through continual exposure to new technologies, programs, and techniques. With a persistent commitment to learning and being a “knowledge vulture,” women can acquire skills that set them apart in the workplace. Additionally, as tech continually evolves and new technologies emerge, women must continue to learn and embrace recent advancements in the field.
Ximena is fond of saying – “We are privileged to live in an age where knowledge, in whatever form suits your learning best, is available…so invest in yourself and learn about what interests you. Nobody ever regrets knowledge.”
4) Acknowledge and share your accomplishments
Ximena has noticed that women in tech tend to sideline and downgrade themselves and their accomplishments. This sends a clear message of: “I am not worthy.”
Ximena has certainty that celebrating accomplishments and expressing pride in themselves will increase womens’ confidence and enable them to be more respected amongst colleagues.
Ximena’s expertise and success in the world of tech have been forged through years of self-discipline and hustle. However, her passion and vision have always been to make a difference, and that is what she does through her start-ups, ATHENAWORKS and EQUALS TRUE. Both companies have seen rapid growth in the market by celebrating diversity and inclusion and collating a workforce characterized by equal opportunity and mutual respect.
Ximena has one final message to women who are interested in tech: “Woman up! We need you.”