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September 3, 2018 BIZ BOOKS

Overcoming C-suite bias

“Nevertheless, She Persisted — True Stories of Women Leaders in Tech” by Pratima Rao Gluckman (Friesen Press, $24.99).

Why don't more women choose careers in science-, technology-, engineering- and math-related fields? It's not because of their aptitude, attitude or interest; it's because of the glass ceilings in STEM industries. Gluckman highlights 19 women who achieved success in tech based upon performance excellence and their ability to overcome gender bias. Their stories highlight the importance of speaking up. Each story has career-strategy pointers. Here are takeaways from a few of my favorites:

Jennifer Anderson, now an engineering leader in Uber's data group, looked to role models to shape her management style.

She states: “I would look at what people above me were doing. I'd ask myself, 'What can I learn from that? What are they doing that I'm not?' ” She learned not only what worked, but what didn't. Through her role models, she recognized the importance of soft skills in management, and worked on improving speaking with more confidence, clarity in writing and becoming more decisive. She also learned the difference between bragging and tooting her own horn (i.e. making sure others are aware of contributions and accomplishments).

Annabel Liu, former VP of engineering development for LinkedIn's talent solutions and careers platform, found that “women need to build a deep network plus social capital (i.e. status and credibility gained by association with high-performing, well-connected people). True connection goes deeper than friendship. It involves finding allies who share your ambition and dreams — and working together to find ways to achieve success for all.

Liu also found that being “hands-on” didn't work well when she moved into management. Feedback early on told her that she was micromanaging, rather than collaborating.

Relative to career development, Liu says, “think two jobs ahead.” Looking at where you want to be helps you focus on the skills you'll need to hone to get there.

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