Gaining the Technology Leadership Edge, Episode #54

How One Woman’s Idea Is Crushing Tech’s Biggest Barrier | Women in Technology | Staffing

Show Notes

About the Guest(s):

Traci Hill is the founder and CEO of A Woman Up, an initiative focused on tech equality and empowering women. With over two decades of experience in staffing and recruitment, particularly in technical roles, she has a history of advocating for diversity and helping to place women and individuals from underrepresented groups into technology careers. Traci is a former corporate recruiter and HR Business Partner, with a track record of creative problem-solving to fill skill gaps and promote internal mobility within large organizations.

Episode Summary:

In the illuminating episode of “Gaining the Technology Leadership Edge,” host Mike welcomes Traci Hill, whose mission to advance women in the technology sector is both inspiring and revolutionary. Traci shares her extensive experience in staffing and tech equality, providing a wealth of knowledge on the challenges and transformative strategies for women in tech.

Traci Hill reveals compelling insights into the recruitment landscape of the tech industry, detailing her pivotal role in diversifying the workforce by navigating the complexities of technical staffing. She reflects on the early days of technological expansion, the demand for niche skills, and the urgent need for inclusivity, painting a vivid picture of the industry’s evolution. Traci also delves into practical tactics for women to secure and excel in tech roles, illuminating the pathway for professional advancement against the backdrop of a historically male-centric industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Promoting tech equality and empowering women in tech have significant impacts on diversifying the workforce.
  • Traci emphasizes that personal advocacy and treating oneself as a solution to company needs are critical for career growth.
  • Strategies for women include aligning their accomplishments with job requirements, actively seeking promotions, and navigating corporate structures.
  • Building rapport with hiring managers and demonstrating relevant skills can outweigh biases during the hiring process.
  • Traci advocates for understanding internal hiring processes, leveraging resources, and the importance of self-promotion for advancing women’s careers.

Notable Quotes:

  • “I saw guilt, I saw desire, you know. I saw, you know, so that was my thing. So that’s how I got into it, because I was just like, we gotta… I gotta find more people.”
  • “If you don’t see yourself as a solution, your growth is gonna be limited, and you cannot take it personally.”
  • “People love talking about themselves. So if you reach out to somebody… you’re going to get one or two people who… respond to you.”
  • “Nobody owes you anything, okay? So if you don’t… promote yourself… your growth is gonna be limited.”
  • “I would get calls all the time or messages all the time, you know, hey, I see your name is on this record, you know, blah, blah, blah.”

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Episode Details

Empowering Women in Tech: Strategies for Amplifying Voices and Navigating Careers

In an insightful conversation with Traci Hill, founder and CEO of A Woman Up, valuable strategies around tech equality and women empowerment in the technology sector are explored. With a background that spans two decades of advocating for diversity in tech and connecting talented individuals with thriving careers, Traci offers a refreshing perspective on the industry’s obstacles and opportunities. The dialogue not only uncovers practical tips for individual growth but also sheds light on organizational tactics to foster inclusive environments for women in technology.

Key Takeaways

  • Self-promotion as a Strategy: Women in tech should actively promote their skills and accomplishments to advance their careers.
  • Navigating Corporate Structures: Knowledge of an organization’s inner workings and advocacy for oneself are crucial for women aiming to secure promotions or new opportunities.
  • Allyship from the Inside: Companies benefit from encouraging diverse voices, and leaders should play an active role in facilitating the growth and visibility of women in the workplace.

Self-Marketing for Career Advancement

The Importance of Advocacy and Visibility

Traci Hill stresses the significance of women advocating for themselves within the workplace. It’s not enough for women to wait for recognition but to actively promote their accomplishments and potential. Traci suggests “writing down all the things that you’ve done that are applicable to what you want to do,” and quantifying achievements to strengthen resumes and discussions about career advancement.

Strategic Communication of Achievements

When it comes to applying for a higher position, Traci is clear on the approach: Communicating effectively and highlighting how one’s skills fulfill the needs of the organization is key. Traci shares the technique of “selling a skill, selling a service,” enfolding the individual’s achievements within the value they bring to the team or the company and ensuring that this value proposition is tantamount to the decision-making process.

Understanding Organizational Dynamics

Traci points out the difficulties some women face in comprehending the organizational structure and the dynamics around career advancement. She emphasizes the need for clarity on promotional processes and internal recruitments, noting that miscommunication or lack of information can impede one’s growth. As Traci puts it, companies often fail to “shop in their own shops to look for the skill set that they need,” highlighting a common oversight where internal talent is not fully leveraged.

Utilizing Internal Networks and Resources

Fostering professional relationships within the company and understanding how to manage these connections can play a vital role in career growth. Traci suggests using internal communication channels to express interest in positions and seeking mentorship or guidance from higher-ups or HR professionals. She recalls a time when a woman was unaware she could apply for a higher role, underscoring the necessity for transparent processes that empower women to pursue growth opportunities.

Fostering Inclusion and Allyship

Encouraging Allyship Among Colleagues and Management

An important theme in the discussion with Traci is the role of allies within the workplace. It’s not solely the responsibility of women to surge forward — it’s also about how the colleagues and superiors support that momentum. By sharing experiences, creating platforms for open discussion, and practicing inclusive hiring and promotion practices, companies and teams can become powerful allies for women in technology.

Creating Spaces for Women’s Voices to be Heard

Traci elaborates on the capabilities of companies to create environments where women feel comfortable expressing their ambitions and talents. She posits that workshops, keynote discussions, and panels about women empowerment don’t just educate but also pave the path forward, indirectly leading to proactive discussions and decisions that facilitate the advancement of tech-loving women.

The conversation with Traci Hill is not only a manifesto of the technical potential among women but a blueprint for how they, alongside their employers and fellow employees, can create ecosystems where talent isn’t just recognized — it’s cultivated and celebrated. The strategies coax an environment where, regardless of gender, the technological acumen is the currency that drives one’s meritocratic ascension in the tech world. Traci Hill’s worldview encapsulates a future that is inclusive, diversified, and rich with opportunity, made possible by the collective efforts of advocates for change, educators in leadership, and above all, the women who pave the way forward in technology.

Contact Information for Traci Hill


Timestamp Summary
0:00:00 Traci discusses her experience in contract work and the lack of diversity in the tech industry.
0:03:05 Traci talks about her work with various companies, including Meta, Capital One, and Fiserv.
0:07:03 Traci shares her transition from contract work to corporate recruiting and HR.
0:08:25 Traci discusses the challenges women face in advancing their careers.
0:09:42 Traci and Mike discuss strategies for women to amplify their voices in male-centric workplaces.
0:11:28 Retaining and appreciating employees for growth and job satisfaction.
0:11:54 Advice for women in the job market: quantify accomplishments and focus on being a solution.
0:14:06 Importance of amplifying your voice and being intentional in job interviews.
0:15:24 Utilizing informational interviews and research to prepare for job interviews.
0:16:39 Being consultative and asking specific questions to understand the job and team dynamics.
0:18:06 Addressing potential biases during the interview process.
0:19:10 Advocating for candidates and sitting in on interviews to ensure fairness.
0:20:21 Sending reminders of the candidate’s strengths to address any biases.
0:21:38 Challenging biases and focusing on qualifications for hiring decisions.
0:21:57 Traci discusses the importance of showing the company environment during interviews.
0:22:22 Traci shares an example of a woman who didn’t know she could apply for a job and the need to fix this issue.
0:23:27 Traci emphasizes the importance of networking and building connections within the company for career growth.
0:24:09 Mike highlights the need for individuals to express their interest in roles, even on internal promotion paths.
0:24:27 Traci shares her experience of people not speaking up about their interest in a job after it has been filled.
0:25:19 Traci encourages individuals to advocate for themselves and reach out to recruiters or managers.
0:26:26 Traci discusses the challenges of navigating matrixed organizations and provides guidance on professional communication.
0:27:49 Traci shares her contact information for those interested in workshops or speaking engagements.
0:28:25 Mike emphasizes the value of seeking help from experts like Tracy to gain new perspectives and solutions.
0:29:12 Mike concludes the conversation and thanks Tracy for her insights.