Women Leading Tech: A Virtual Coffee Chat with Women Trailblazers

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we hosted a Virtual Coffee Chat with women trailblazers in our industry to discuss gender equality, mentorship, and managing our work-life blend.

Join Tara Tokatly, VP of Solution Engineering at Salesforce, and Allye O’Brien, Director of Revenue Operations at Chief joined me, and Sherry Simon, Salesforce Consultant at Plative to deep dive into these topics and learn how they are driving change.

This inspiring session provided a lot of great takeaways for women advancing their careers, how to be an ally, and much more. I’ve highlighted a few key themes from the conversation below.

Challenges can lead to opportunities 

We kicked off the conversation discussing challenges women face in the workplace and Allye and Tara shared experiences they’ve had throughout their careers. From not being heard to being the only female on the team, they provided great insight that with the right perspective, challenges can lead to opportunities. 

“Chances are, if you are frustrated by something and you’re struggling with something, someone else is as well. If you look at yourself as the possible voice and way to change that, I think that is a beautiful opportunity to take advantage of.” – Allye O’Brien 

Be an advocate 

We spent some time discussing mentorship, both finding mentors and being a mentor. Here are a few tips – 

  • Be proactive; don’t wait for a mentor to find you 
  • Find an ally; a mentor should care more about your future and wellbeing than your gender 
  • Ask permission for their time 
  • Share with your mentor what your goals and desired outcomes are from the relationship
  • Mentorship is a two-way street, we are always learning from each other
  • A great mentor can be someone that knows you personally (family or a friend). Since they know you deeply, they can be better equipped to guide you in your career.

Most importantly, find a mentor who will advocate for you. 

I always think of guiding lights for my mentorship. I need to guide them, I need to advise them, I need to inspire them, but mostly I need to listen and be an advocate behind closed doors.” – Tara Tokatly

Be Yourself 

We are told from a very young age to “be yourself” and growing up it’s hard to think about being anyone else. But as you enter different stages of your life you can start to feel this pressure to conform. In the workplace, especially in a male-dominated role or industry, it can be hard to bring your true self to work and a lot of us can feel compelled to change to fit in. 

It’s taken a long time to come to grips with the fact that your personality and the way you react and behave should be separated from your gender, but it’s not always. So just keeping that in mind and trying to stay true to what makes me comfortable regardless of how it is perceived is really important.” – Allye O’Brien

“Be comfortable in your own skin, comfortable in who you are, and lead with your values. I think one of the main things I’ve learned in my career is to be comfortable with who I am.” – Tara Tokatly 

We all face challenges in our lives, but if you show up as your true self, embrace opportunities to use your voice, and look to others for guidance and inspiration, you will not only grow as an individual and advance your career but inspire others to do the same.

Written by

Mickela Miller

Marketing Associate

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