We’ve all heard the phrase, “We live in a male dominated world.” This phrase is most often delivered with a negative connotation when someone perceives that they’re getting an unfair chance, at the mercy of men. What if we could live in a world where everyone’s unique contributions were equally appreciated?
My name is Amanda Mosello and I am a Security Sales Engineer. I might only be one of three female engineers in the field representing Imperva, but I have always felt that my unique contributions were not only encouraged, but also highlighted by my male coworkers. At the Sales Kick Off (SKO) earlier this year, CEO Chris Hylen made a point to acknowledge the lack of women in technical roles and his commitment to support and empower the women of Imperva. I was more proud than ever to be a part of this company.
I was born in New York to a father who was a blue-collar worker, and a stay-at-home mother. Neither my parents nor my immigrant relatives attended college, making me the first to graduate. When I was younger, I loved building Lego monstrosities at home, just as much as dissecting frogs in science class, but I also enjoyed cooking with my mom. Should I be a chef, an architect, or maybe a brain surgeon? I was lucky to have parents that encouraged all pathways, but in grade school, some still promoted a perception that engineering is masculine. The concept of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) to increase exposure at the high school level wasn’t founded until 2001. But I was always an outlier, so when I enrolled in university, I chose Biotechnology and Computer Science with a minor in Music. I wanted it all.
It was at university when I realized that these industries are male dominated. I had one female biology professor, and none in computer science. There were many women in symphony with me, but where were all the women in my bio and coding classes? I was always one of fewer than 10 females in my core curriculum classes. In the 90s, top universities began prioritizing recruitment of women in technology and began paving the path towards career equality.
I entered the workforce as an engineer in the defense industry as a contractor for the military, yet another male-dominated environment. For 17 years, I was one of five female engineers. When I deployed with the military, I was the only female contractor on that base with three programs. I had to work harder and be smarter to be seen in a sea of men. I wasn’t going to follow the path of unspoken inferiority. I took on more responsibilities to rise in the ranks early on, and became a manager of 30 globally-dispersed engineers in my first five years. Yes, there were obstacles from men who weren’t used to working side by side or even reporting to a woman. I was never mad at them for being born into the dominant slice of pie, but was inspired when male colleagues wanted to push the door open for the women they viewed as qualified and deserving into positions of leadership.
Now almost 20 years later, I was not only referred to Imperva by a male engineer, but championed by him. The team of men I joined (pictured above) were excited to have me on-board, and to this day are still invested in my success. But the most valuable gift was that they weren’t afraid to stand with me, and make it known that SHE is here and SHE is uniquely valuable.
It should never be about lessening what men contribute, but equally supporting what women contribute too. This mindset is what makes change possible.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog authored by Amanda Mosello. Read the original post at: https://www.imperva.com/blog/the-struggle-is-real/