DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.
If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!
What has your career journey looked like?
I started my career overseeing, managing, and growing small companies and pivoted into applied technology when I joined the Data team within ATB four years ago. Since then, I have moved to work within ATB Ventures alongside other strategists and technologists to deliver long-term high-value concepts as the Head of Product. I am particularly passionate about the safe and secure utilization of data within emerging technologies and creating experiences that people love. A recent career highlight for me was becoming a patent-pending author on the ATB Ventures’ Turing Box invention, a responsible AI framework.
When you were 20 years old, what was your dream job and why?
I think when I was 20, I dreamt of making the world a better place – in that regard, little has changed. Today, I think about it through the lens of business models, product development, and value creation. Then, I probably thought about it through the lens of art and poetry – neither more important than the other, but I was particularly better at the one I formed a career around.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
I have worked with some incredible mentors and leaders but the most significant barrier that I’ve experienced – and so many of the women I work with experience – is having a confidence level match your level of expertise. Confidence and capability are not opposing forces, but they don’t always mature at the same rate; if you’re able to surround yourself with mentors who provide you clear reflection on your capabilities, eventually your confidence will enable you versus create barriers for you.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
I am someone who enjoys to think and enjoys to reflect, because of that, I am (generally) quite clear on what drives me, what brings me purpose, what ‘fills my cup’ – and perhaps more importantly: what doesn’t. Balancing work and life responsibilities for me means creating time for the parts of life and work that bring me purpose; I fundamentally believe that anyone who thinks they have this completely figured out is either lying or a super human – I, and my work-life balance, are a continuous work in progress. But I listen to myself, to my body, I create time to reflect – to think – and it generally keeps me in a mental model in which I can do my best, within and outside of work.
How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the digital ID/tech space?
The women I have been grateful enough to learn from, across life and work, have all seemed to have the great ability of seeing the system (the forest through the trees) – which is where digital identity is going to become powerful. Platforms and Technology-Driven business models are not just about the tech – they’re about the system by which they operate: the customers, the market, the technology – the system. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by mentors who helped me see my place in this system – not because I am a woman, but because I have the skills to move the world of digital identity forward alongside a diverse group of peers.
What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
The recent data I’ve read about imposter syndrome in women was discouraging – and unfortunately results in detracted career growth. In order to overcome this, figure out a way to build confidence in your own ability (i.e., a sandbox opportunity so that you can try/scale/ fail/ grow without any risk of failure). Do something once and the data point is there to say that you can do it again. It is also important to build community and support so that you know even if you do fail, you know that peers have your back. Intentionally build bridges through developing cross functional leadership. And – perhaps most importantly – remember that everyone feels it, to some degree – they’ve just learned skills to rise above it, and so will you.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
The biggest challenge for the generation coming up behind me will be balancing digital and physical personas (versus the work-life balance my generation is currently tackling). As the pandemic and technology increasingly push the world toward globalization, opportunities for access and career evolution will become increasingly democratized, but it will also increase our time spent across exclusively-digital channels, creating potential risks of further segregation between our physical-selves and our online(digital)-selves.
I would imagine that generations coming up behind us will laugh at our inability to manage work-life-balance (as organizations continue to pursue greater online-working norms); they will be attempting to strike a far more difficult balance between their online-persona versus in-person-persona.
What advice would you give to young women entering the field?
Find someone to mentor. If you learn how to write and communicate through written language – you can articulate strategy & operations – if you can learn how to speak and communicate through inspiration and storytelling – you can become a leader; and if you can do both: you will be unstoppable. Being able to mentor someone will help refine your communication, articulate your position as a leader, and mitigate any imposter syndrome. Practice and posture – the more you do something (show up as a leader, mentor, speaker, etc.), the more real it will become.
Chandra Rink is the Director, Product (Innovation & Strategy) at ATB Financial.
Follow Chandra on LinkedIn