March 8th is International Women’s Day. The mission of IWD for Women in Tech is to celebrate digital advancement and champion women forging innovation through technology. CleanSlate is celebrating by recognizing the women on our team all week long. Follow along each day to learn more about them, their roles, and why they believe celebrating IWD is important.
WOMEN OF CLEANSLATE
Name: Lilya Davidson
City: Indianapolis, IN
Occupation: Quality Assurance Consultant
Tell us about yourself:
I’ve worked in the IT arena since graduating college and most of that time I’ve spent doing QA work. I enjoy the challenge of getting to delve into an application – which is why I find QA work a good fit for me. Personally, I’ve lived in Indianapolis since I graduated college. My family consists of myself, my husband, and my two teenage sons. My hobbies include board and roleplaying games, watching and listening to Broadway musicals, and spending time with family and friends.
Who is your biggest influence?
My junior high/high school tennis coach. He pushed me to work as hard as I can and not give up on my goals. A lot of my drive and ability to succeed came from the “soft skills” I learned during those lessons (not to mention my tennis game improved a lot under his direction as well)
How would you define women’s empowerment?
For women to not judge themselves and others based on their skillsets, for us to encourage each other to be the best we can be. To lift each other up. Also, for women to understand that they can do anything they set their mind to and have those opportunities open to us.
What did you want to be growing up?
Initially, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then a psychologist.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I am more technical than I thought, and I shouldn’t be afraid of that.
What do you enjoy most about your role and working at CleanSlate?
In my current role, I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do and am finding it very rewarding (Setting up a QA practice for the client). I like that CSTG provides good training opportunities and has programs and activities that keep us together even if we are spread out through different projects and clients.
Is it important to celebrate IWD?
Yes. It’s important to celebrate women who’ve made great strides through history and in the modern world. IWD provides an avenue to do that. I think its good to send a message to women and young girls that our gender shouldn’t stand in the way of what we can accomplish.
Why do you think it is important for young girls to consider roles in STEM?
I think that in the past STEM programs had been geared primarily towards young boys and the girls who were involved in them weren’t given the same encouragement boys were. I believe this is changing as time moves forward and opens up the talent pool for jobs in STEM. It provides more opportunities for the girls involved in the program, gives them a chance to learn new skills, and discover if this is an avenue they want to pursue.
What are the main challenges facing women in IT presently? How do we overcome them?
In general, it’s the perception that we are unique because of our interest in a technical field. Even if more women are interested in other areas those that chose an IT field usually do so because that’s where their personal interests and skill sets lay. I think the best thing we can do is start from the bottom up, encourage younger girls to try the STEM classes, encourage those that are interested in IT to take that IT class, and once we get in the field to do the best work we can and break the stereotype that we’re unique due to our interest in IT. Often women don’t speak up and I’d encourage all of us to voice our opinions, provide suggestions and fight for our ideas.