This post was written by Katie Bowman of Carolinas IT
In June of 2018, Carolinas IT launched a new program called Women in Technology (WIT) after Jennifer Noto, Director of Marketing, felt inspired by the Lenovo Accelerate conference she attended earlier in the year. The Women in Technology group, known as CIT WIT, meets once a month to give the women at Carolinas IT an opportunity to network with experts and influencers in their field, discuss important topics in technology, and provide a support system that empowers women in business.
For the August meeting, CIT WIT was honored to have a group of power house women from Lenovo to speak:
Jennifer Lee-Baron – Customer Solutions Manager
Lama Chakra – Artificial Intelligence Project Manager
Maureen DeNardo- Channel Sales Business Development Manager
Phoebe Thermitus –Project Manager for Data Center Group Operations
“These meetings are very informal, as we want to make everyone feel comfortable and safe,” said Noto. “Lenovo actually has their own Women in Tech group and I thought it would be a great opportunity for both companies to get together and share insights on our professions.” Phoebe Thermitus, who leads Women in Lenovo Leadership (WILL), started the discussion with the evolution of women in the field of technology. In the past few years, women have made great strides to be more prevalent in male-dominated fields and we’ve continued to see growth. “One of the best things about our meetings was being able to mentor younger women and showing them that they don’t have a set path to follow, that they can choose to go into these types of industries and flourish,” said Lama Chakra.
An impactful and empowering moment came when Thermitus mentioned how she overcame the guilty feeling that women often experience, whether it came from feeling as if women must do more simply because they are women, trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance, or being a working mother. “I finally realized I had to stop telling people in detail what I had to do when I was leaving work early,” said Maureen DeNardo. “I just tell people ‘I have an appointment.’” Thermitus also mentioned unchecking the push notification setting on her email to avoid the constant email notifications to help disconnect from work.
A few women mentioned they had set personal goals for themselves to help relieve the sense of guilt that many women feel. Others felt like a weight was lifted from their shoulders just from talking with other women about the pressures they face every day. In this industry, it is important for women to get together and discuss the hurdles they go through. It’s also encouraging to see that other women have overcome the same situation some of their peers are in now and to exchange ideas on how to achieve their goals.