The technology industry is lucky to have many talented and accomplished women within its orbit. Because it’s March, designated as Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation, we are spotlighting just a few who have made an impact, celebrating their verve, achievements, and pioneering spirit in the dynamic tech landscape. They are our friends, clients, and colleagues.
Jen Neenan is COO of Parsec Technologies, a Plano, Texas, based designer and manufacturer of telecommunications antennas. The company serves a global clientele. We asked Jen what got her to a top spot in the wireless data transmission industry.
“I was drawn to companies at the leading edge of innovation,” she said. “It is a key differentiator for companies who want to succeed in today’s technology marketplace, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Jen’s first piece of advice for women who want to be a part of the tech industry is, “Welcome! There is a place for you here.”
Jen suggests women look for a company where there is good synergy and apply themselves wholeheartedly once they’re on board. Actively pursue advancement opportunities to expand your knowledge and expertise, she said, and “Apply yourself. Stand out.”
Denise Harrington’s work takes her inside the doors of large technology companies, where she coaches women at various stages of their careers. She is the founder and owner of Speaking With Impact, whose global clientele seeks her expertise in training employees (women and men) on how to improve their public speaking skills.
Denise’s service in the industry spans more than 30 years. Because of her long experience, she views technology as “the place people innovate.” Her goal is to help them be heard and effectively move their ideas forward. She has seen women progress up the ranks; more advancement awaits them if they are willing to work at it.
“A lot of companies are at the forefront of making sure there are women and minorities at the table,” said Denise. “If you’re thinking about a career in technology, take the ball and run with it!”
Like Denise, Annie Bogue sees lots of opportunities for women in the growing tech industry. A 27-year veteran of Fujitsu Network Communications, she held several positions with progressive responsibility and learned from them all. Currently, Annie is COO and Head of Sales & Marketing.
Said Annie, “Be willing to take on new opportunities and move around to other roles in the company. If you’re willing to try new things, it opens up a whole new world.” She also advises women to “ask outrageously for what you want” because you sometimes get it — and career advancement happens much faster.
Another industry insider, Eugina Jordan, started as a receptionist 22 years ago. She worked her way up and is now Chief Marketing Officer of the Telecom Infra Project, a global community of companies and organizations whose goal is to advance global connectivity with infrastructure solutions.
Eugina advises other women to set aside their fears. “If you want to go into telecom, why not? If you want to become chief operating officer, chief marketing officer, or CEO, why not you?” she said. “If someone had given me that advice when I started – that I can achieve anything – it probably wouldn’t have taken 22 years to get to where I am today.”
The fact that the tech industry is a swift-moving stream is not lost on Jan Starzec, a marketing leader at ISCO International, a wireless network solutions provider. She began her career with a telecom startup more than three decades ago and has witnessed sweeping evolution throughout the sector.
“It is always changing and advancing. Even veterans of the industry often don’t know how things will play out,” she said. “But don’t be intimidated. Always keep learning new things and have confidence in what you learn so you can apply it to work.”
Jan also advises other women to talk to and learn from people in all parts of the company. Monitoring industry groups and current tech events is also important because it boosts your value and generates ideas to bring to your own leadership role.
Tara Hanneffy, Marketing Director at Ireland-based Alpha Wireless, echoes many of these same sentiments. “Do not limit yourself based on what you think you can and cannot do,” she said. “If you are passionate about it, you can achieve anything by making use of all the resources around you.” Technology offers a great career in a dynamic industry and “there’s always something new to learn.”
Another accomplished marketing leader from Ireland, Olivia O’Connell, oversees marketing for Benetel, which provides leading-edge radio solutions for 5G networks. Olivia has spent her entire career in marketing. During the economic slowdown brought on by the pandemic, she sought out training to expand her skill set to include web development.
Olivia’s best advice for women and girls considering a career in telecom is also the best advice that was given to her: “Back yourself. When you put your mind to something, you will succeed.”
Choosing a career in technology holds many benefits, she says. “You will meet great people who will support you and be involved in exciting, innovative projects.”
Olivia advises women to look for inspiration from successful women in the past who made important contributions through their creativity and innovation. “At the time, they didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Thankfully, they are getting it now.”
Any list of women tech stars would not be complete without mention of Forward Vision’s own awesome women — Founder and Principal Kelly Stark and Principal Dyanne Williamson. They guide our clients to new levels of success in the B2B technology space, using their marketing savvy to reach more prospects, improve sales, and improve the bottom line.