Overcoming obstacles with Kristen
I first started leading people when I was 24. I was really young.
There is no one definition of a leader. Being a leader means being what the situation calls for and that looks different from situation to situation, industry to industry. I think the generally accepted picture hasn’t changed much over the past 30 years: It’s white, male, fit and smart—very likely privileged as well. This is the thing that has to change. Leadership shows up in the most unlikely places, but we have to recognize it as leadership.
Getting people to listen to women and take their technical viewpoints seriously has been really hard. And I don’t think this has changed much in the 16 years I have been in technology. What has changed is that we are having fewer and fewer women interested in technology! I didn’t expect that to happen. We have to value the contribution that women make and demonstrate that in order to keep them. Create an environment that challenges women and makes them feel valued.
For women in leadership, my hope is that there are more of us! The industry has to do more together to encourage women to get involved. I also think we have to start with girls. We need to get girls interested early—4th and 5th-grade girls, show them what they can do. We have to change the view of what it means to be ‘like a girl’ and let good just be good.