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 have been in payments and technology industry for over 20 years. My career has ran the gamut from developing innovative products and solutions, engaging with customers through executive account management to being highly engaged in standards and trade organizations around the globe. The last few years I’ve had a keen interest in focusing on developing inclusive, fit for purpose, privacy preserving and user centric digital identity. Social impact solutions to bridge the digital divide is a part of that as well.
When you were 20 years old, what was your dream job and why?
My dream job was to practice law, as I wanted to play a role in assisting underserved communities in navigating legal matters. I grew up in a very rural area where I witnessed certain segments of the population not being able to obtain legal representation on a variety of things simply because they could not afford to do so.
❝I truly believe that women being engaged in the digital ID space is critically important because solutions need to be inclusive for everyone.❝
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
When I started in the tech industry, there were not many women with a “seat” at the table. Even those women that were involved were typically not given the same voice as male counterparts and had to work extra hard to prove their value in any conversations and in creating products, services and solutions. Quite literally, it always felt like a “boys club” and I never felt comfortable speaking up in the beginning of my career for fear that my voice would not be heard. Often I would carefully tailor questions and responses as not to seem to be a dissenting or diverse voice. As my career grew, I began to embrace my authentic self and the unique viewpoints that I have and started speaking up and realizing my own influence. Today, I encourage women to embrace their authentic self and voice. Also, helping elevate and empower others to their full potential is a key focus area that brings me great satisfaction, as I embrace the concepts of servant leadership to those around me.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
I really think of this as just “life balance”. My work self is as much a part of me as everything else. So first and foremost, I have learned that I need to take care of myself. If I am feeling burnout in my work responsibilities, that easily spills over into my personal life (and vice versa). Therefore, I have to stay focused on making sure I am doing things that I enjoy, spending time with family and friends (even if only virtually), exercising, etc. If I am not taking care of myself, I cannot be 100% present in anything. Also, I have learned that I have to unplug. I know personally, in the past, I have felt the need to be the best at everything. But it is an impossible goal. I’ve learned that it is absolutely ok to not overachieve at everything in my life. Some things, I will. Some things, I won’t. That’s perfectly fine.
❝When I started in the tech industry, there were not many women with a “seat” at the table. Even those women that were involved were typically not given the same voice as male counterparts and had to work extra hard to prove their value (…). I began to embrace my authentic self and the unique viewpoints that I have and started speaking up and realizing my own influence. ❞Marie Jordan
How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the digital ID/tech space?
I truly believe that women being engaged in the digital ID space is critically important because solutions need to be inclusive for everyone. As someone extremely passionate about uplifting economies, women are an integral part of that and if more women became aware of the important role that they play in all parts of ensuring identity is fit for purpose and inclusive, I feel strongly they would understand the need for more diverse thoughts and opinions in this space. Educating women on the importance of identity becoming digital and the need for women’s unique perspectives will go a long way towards achieving that goal. Also, encouraging men as well to be supporters of bringing women into the space is equally as important.
What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Be a team player, who collaborates with everyone, but also understand your value add to the culture of an organization. A lot of times I believe women try and fit in whereas they should recognize that they can be extremely successful by being themselves. I have personally had some of the greatest successes in my career by being genuine and authentic. This creates trust with those around you, which in turn can lead to great achievements. I’ve also learned the importance of networking and getting to know those around you. By having a supportive, diverse network, you will always have a sounding board and mutually beneficial relationships. A network isn’t transactional. It’s about building meaningful relationships.
What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
I believe the biggest challenge will be women continuing to bridge the gender gaps that exist, particularly with women taking prominent roles at the executive levels within tech organizations. This starts with education that focuses on women in technology, which I still feel is not where it should be. It has slowly shifted over the years but there is still a lot more that can be done.
What advice would you give to young women entering the field?
Be bold. Take chances. Get involved. Understand your value. Do not let fear of failing hold you back. Network and uplift others. Be the one who always empowers others to succeed.