By Sandy Rubenstein, CEO of DXagency
It’s 2017 and women only make up 29% of workers within STEAM fields. Factor in that by 2018, there will be 2.4 million unfilled STEAM jobs so you can see why it’s more important than ever to encourage girls to get involved in these types of initiatives and career trajectories.
As a Latina, female CEO working in a male-dominated industry, I have experienced my own share of disapproval and judgment that often plagues the workforce for women and minorities. My advice for girls who want to break into the field of their dreams is simple: Always remember that what makes you different is also what you makes you amazing.
The fact that you are at the same table and can offer additional knowledge from a different perspective is super valuable so use it. Voice your opinions and show people another way to look at things. Bring your background and experiences into your work product and you will find that your employers will stop caring about what gender you are and instead, begin to see the value that you offer.
I also always stress the importance of being passionate about what you do and forming emotional connections with those who inspire you in your field. It’s crucial to understand that the perception people around you have is more powerful than your intent. If you work to present your individual best, strive for creativity and maintain a professional work environment, you can be successful in any STEAM initiative that you set your mind to. Finally, I was taught at a young age that failure was not an option and that you need to work hard to achieve your goals. No one is waiting to hand it all to you.
In order for young women to rise through the ranks in STEAM, I truly believe that mentorship is essential. Learning from someone who has already lived your challenges is invaluable. It’s like having another set of parents who guide you through work but who actually know the technology or company and can offer tangible advice. Having a mentor who can talk through things or role play with you will make all the difference in your career. Early in my own career, I knew that I wanted to be a mentor to other young professionals and I have truly found that it changes the way I look at things and gives me a much wider view than my own.
If I could offer three final takeaways for girls looking to get into STEAM, it would be to love what you do, be serious about the work and yourself, and to never forget to embrace your differences and what makes you, you.
Sandy is the CEO of DXagency, an agency that services clients such as HBO, CNBC, MTV and the NY Rangers.